Africa’s first open access Wi-Fi provider bags two prestigious awards

[Original Article] - Considering that it is the best thing since the introduction of internet in Africa, Africa’s first open access Wi-Fi provider, VAST Networks has bagged two prestigious awards at the global 2017 Wi-Fi NOW Awards.

The Wi-Fi NOW Awards honour the world’s best in the global Wi-Fi industry and at an event attended by global, Wi-Fi leaders in Netherlands, VAST received the "Best Wi-Fi Service Provider" and "Affordable Connectivity Awards".

“Winning the prestigious Wi-Fi Now awards, which are judged by our global industry peers, is indeed a great honour and we are delighted by the international recognition,” says Grant Marais, CEO at VAST Networks.

Speaking on the Best Wi-Fi Service Provider award, Marais says the award is a testament to the company's success in deploying world-class Wi-Fi serving not only the world’s top brands but importantly South Africa’s most loved retail and hospitality brands.

"It demonstrates how VAST innovated to evolve into a sophisticated business intelligence tool that enables our customers to drive better footfall, improve ROI and increase their own customer retention through ongoing marketing dialogues using Wi-Fi as a platform," says Marais, adding that VAST prides itself in that it covers more than 10 million m2 of venues, including indoor space and serves many large venues such as major transport hubs.

"Most recently we have been able to deliver the same world-class services to environments that are historically infrastructurally poor, such as major townships and inner city residentials. VAST firmly believes that our Wi-Fi plays an important role in driving connectivity for all South Africans," says Marais.

Claus Hetting, CEO and Chairman of Wi-Fi NOW says they recognise the immense value that Wi-Fi delivers to communities across the globe.

“We recognise the immense value that Wi-Fi delivers to communities across the globe and our awards are a tribute to companies like VAST Networks, who are empowering consumers by connecting them to the diversity of opportunities in the virtual realm," says Hetting.

"The ability to connect millions of people daily by means of a true carrier-grade Wi-Fi network, especially in areas where basic infrastructure is sometimes lacking, is a massive undertaking and we are heartened by the passion and commitment of Wi-Fi providers who embrace this challenge.”

With only 50% to 60% of South Africans connected, VAST says its ongoing focus remains to democratise Wi-Fi access with the aim of strengthening the social fabric of South Africa.

According to VAST, more than 1.5 million township residents benefit from affordable access and quality internet service that rivals some of the more affluent suburbs in South Africa.

“Statistics suggest that for every 10% of internet penetration, a country’s GDP grows by 1.28%," adds Marais. "When you consider these stats and the wider socio-economic benefits of connectivity, we firmly believe that affordable and quality internet access should be a basic human right.”

VAST users enjoy Wi-Fi speeds of up to 500Mbps and its growing footprint covers more than 2 000 high-density locations across South Africa.

VAST Networks has also been shortlisted in the Best Next Gen Wi-Fi Networks Infrastructure category in the Wireless Broadband Alliance (WBA) Industry Awards.  Winners will be announced on 15 November 2017.