South Africa’s Sutherland solar Internet officially active

A South African Sutherland community centre has been Internet-enabled with solar powered, high speed connection.

The National Research Foundation (NRF) and South African Astronomical Observatory (SAAO) has partnered with the Department of Science and Technology to sponsor the community centre. Together they have provided 26 Dell computers with an Internet connection of 1Gbps.

Sutherland is the home of approximately 5,000 people who profit from the South African Large Telescope (SALT) Collateral Benefits Programme which aims to improve computer literacy of its members. The centre will aid in supplying Internet access as well as a learning facility to young people.

“The centre will be a safe place for our children, where they can get mentorship, guidance and assistance to help with their education,” said Anthony Mietas, Sutherland Manager of the Salt Collateral Benefits Programme.

 The process of setup has taken approximately three months.

Connections are linked to the Community Development Centre in Observatory, Cape Town. Close by, in Rosebank, the fibre is installed at the centre for high performance computing (CHPC), running through to Sutherland.

The connection establishes the link between SAAO and the South African Research Network (SANReN). A signal tower in Sutherland, enabling a wireless connection of 54Mbps has also been installed. The antenna, as well as the wireless link of this tower is solar powered.

“This is a purpose built fibre installed for the transmission of SALT and other data from the plateau in Sutherland to our data centre in Cape Town and ultimately to scientists all over the world,” Hamish Whittal, IT manager at the community centre, told News24.

Workshops will be conducted at the centre to promote the knowledge of young scientists and teach life skills. In December there will be an astronomy workshop to educate children and students and partake in real astronomy activities.

Although the equipment of the centre was in place in March, the re-opening ceremony took place last week in honour of the NRF members’ visit.

Posted in: Internet

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