Internet Access at St Matthews
Schools Involved: St Matthews High School
Date Completed: 29 October 2018
Total Investment: R 120 000($8,345 USD)
Description: St Matthews’s student will have access to WIFI across their entire campus, thank you to a project embarked on by Sifunda Kunye Project. Learners will now be able to access WIFI from anywhere at St Matthews High School. Thank you to Mr Andrew Summers Funder and Director of Sifunda Kunye. The planning and implementation of this project done by Mr Zander Hampson, Program manager from Sifunda Kunye, and Wesley from St Andrews College for configurations. This will be life changing for the entire learner, teacher faculty at St Matthews High School. See the full scope of this project.
Date Completed: 2018
Total Investment: The Total cost to install our own internet tower was R30,000. The satellite internet cost R5000 per month, we have reduced this cost to R800 per month for much faster internet.
Description: Since there was no coverage in the Keiskamahoek area, St Matthews was forced to go with satellite coverage, which is very expensive and unreliable. There was no internet provider able to provide us with coverage, the nearest tower was 80km away, and unfortunately we could not connect to this tower as it was behind a mountain – line of site is needed. Many companies told us that it is impossible to get coverage in this area.
After many years, looking into all kinds of options, we went for the drastic solution. We hiked up the mountains, until we could see the tower 80km away. Since this was land off the School campus. We got permission from the local Chief to use his land, and he granted us permission to plant a pole. He also informed the community and told us he will protect the investment.
Toise High School is situated around a large central courtyard. The courtyard was unpaved and learners would track dirt, mud, and debris into the classrooms on a regular basis. This was especially problematic in the computer labs. The area was almost impassable when it rained. We paved the courtyard and installed essential drainage ditches and drains in order to keep the area clear of mud and water.
We installed a 6m pole in the ground, which is surrounded by a fence. We then installed a solar panel and a battery in a locked box to provide power to the equipment. We installed a satellite, router and a sector onto the pole. We were then able to connect to the tower. Finally, we installed a receiver at the School and spread routers around the School property, this all picks up the signal from out tower. In short, we built our own internet tower. We are now able to provide the entire Keiskamahoek Mission with internet.
Impact: Our previous speeds were less than 1mbps, we are now connecting at 10mbps. The Wifi covers the entire School campus. We have plans to expand the WIFI to the Hostels and Teacher Houses. We have an average of 700 people connecting to our WIFI at School on any given day. The WIFI has improved the lives of so many learners and teachers.
Our WIFI was setup with a hotspot connection, this runs through our server and firewall. We have blocked certain sites and put download limits on for each user. The WIFI also gets switched off after 10pm.
We have plans to expand the WIFI to the entire Campus, Both the Hostels, teacher Houses, Literacy Centre and more. This is a massive area to cover, which will need lots of equipment. We are looking at a cost of roughly R50,000. We currently do not have the funds to proceed with this project.