Just six months ago, the idea of accessing free internet at taxi rank might have seemed to be farfetched, but now it is a reality for commuters at 17 ranks in Gauteng and the Western Cape.
As commuters wait for a taxi, they can connect to the free Wi-Fi and log on to Schmitz and Baza’s online store, iBiskop, which offers access to “lokshin movies from Mzansi and the rest of Africa in the palm of your hand”, according to Pascal Schmitz, a film and television producer who has been working closely with software developers to start up the free Wi-Fi project.
“We are not selling Wi-Fi, we are giving it away. People can now use the internet for free at Bree taxi rank,” says Schmitz.
“The aim of this is to provide free Wi-Fi in high-density areas like taxi ranks,” he says.
The network took developers a little more than two years to build and in some cases they had to develop “more robust equipment” to ensure they were able to provide high-speed internet to commuters.
“The Wi-Fi is completely free, unrestricted and no registration is required,” adds Schmitz’s business partner, Mayenzeke Baza.
The two entrepreneurs and other partners have taken advantage of the new technology and have created an online store that allows people to buy African movies, music and series.
“We were superexcited when this technology was developed,” says Schmitz. “People at taxi ranks spend between 10 and 45 minutes waiting in queues to get transport. So we have taken the opportunity to deliver quality content without them having to pay for the bandwidth.”