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Connecting South Africa’s libraries

Library bookcase

Many rural libraries across South Africa are used as community centres. However, due to the remote locations, the libraries experience limited network infrastructure which means employees and the local community are unable to access the internet.

The Challenge

The National Library of South Africa (NLSA), the leading national library and information centre in Africa, ensures citizens have universal access to information for its population. During implementation of the NLSA’s open source Library Information Management System (LIMS), the scale of South Africa’s connectivity challenges became apparent. Without broadband access, the libraries could not make use of the new system, nor could they access central archives.

The Solution

The national roll-out of the project provided the libraries with a small, cost-effective 74cm VSAT dish and a satellite broadband connection that delivered a 15Mbps download and 2Mbps upload capability provided by Avanti Communications.

The Results

Avanti’s flexible broadband packages enabled the NLSA full control of the implementation; they were able to record live terminals and new installs, monitor performance and data usage, as well as being able to create their own bandwidth plans.

Over 6 months, a total of 222 libraries were installed with an Avanti VSAT service, providing over 2,032 connections to workstations.

Access to the internet has empowered the local communities; they can now unlock a wealth of information, knowledge and resources that can make a big impact on their daily lives. The libraries have seen a range of people using the connectivity, such as local citizens, students, SMEs and even government services.

The programme is an exciting milestone in education and social services sectors in South Africa.

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