SA’s Telkom to offer free Wi-Fi hotspots in almost 1000 voting stations

South Africa’s Telkom has been selected by the Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) as its trusted partner to provide the state-of-the-art ICT services required to enable free and fair elections in South Africa.

On 3 August 2016, over 26.3 million of South Africans will head to their local voting stations to cast their votes in what is anticipated to be one of the most highly contested and record breaking municipal elections in the country’s history.

Telkom will provide a variety of ICT solutions to be sure that every point of the electoral chain, from the local voting station to the National Results Centre is connected to an efficient, reliable network that will validate and report on these important municipal election results.

Telkom will enable the safe and secure delivery of ballot results from over 22 000 polling stations around the country to the National Results Operation Centre (NROC) at the Tshwane Show Grounds, via nearly 350 Municipal Election Offices (MEOs), 9 Provincial Results Operation Centres (PRCs) and the IEC’s Headquarters (IEC HQ).

Jacqui O’Sullivan, managing executive: group communications and public relations for the Telkom Group, says: “As a partner of the Electoral Commission since the first South African elections with universal franchise in 1994, we’re proud to continue the tradition of supporting democracy in South Africa. Free and fair elections are an essential component of our democracy. ICT is a vital tool for enhancing and validating the electoral process.”

In addition to the primary solution that caters for the IEC’s needs, Telkom is providing a network of open access free Wi-Fi hotspots in almost 1000 voting stations all over the country to show voters the power and quality of the Telkom network. This pilot programme will utilise Telkom’s existing LTE/4G infrastructure and will likely be expanded for future elections, if successful.

Telkom will also fulfil the requests of broadcasters and media channels so that South Africa, as well as the world, is kept informed at every step of the voting and counting process through the use of dedicated Internet links.

The solution includes access for the IEC’s Wide Area Network (WAN) through Telkom’s Virtual Private Network Services (VPNS) platform, which uses multiple access mediums, including satellite technology, Diginet/Martis,, Metro LAN, Telkom’s ADSL and ISDN (Primary and Basic Rate) architecture.

“To this end Telkom’s extensive national footprint, ubiquitous network and the depth of skills and expertise within the organisation have facilitated the customer-specific requirements of the IEC,” O’Sullivan continued.

Telkom’s Data Centre at its Centurion Headquarters is at the heart of the IEC’s Disaster Recovery (DR) measure. Working as a mirror image of the IEC’s Head Office, all data activities at the IEC HQ are replicated at Telkom’s Data Centre in real time. In the unlikely event of disaster at IEC HQ, the DR site will take over all activities and the elections will proceed uninterrupted.

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