by MTHULISI SIBANDA
JOHANNESBURG – THE Internet Service Providers Association (ISPA) has urged such companies and other information and communications technology (ICT) service providers to support internet users engaged in online education during the coronavirus (COVID-19) National Disaster period.
These steps may include zero-rating educational traffic, temporarily increasing bandwidth caps for some customers, or even providing limited free “lifeline” data packages to customers.
“Internet Service Providers (ISPs) play an important role in keeping South Africans connected, especially during a time of crisis,” ISPA stated.
The organisation said given the ongoing disruptions to schools and universities, all ISPs should zero-rate traffic to national educational learning resources, including learning management systems, institutional repositories, library services and student support systems.
ISPA is working closely with partners at Tertiary Education and Research Network of South Africa (TENET) to develop practical advice for ISPs on how to identify national educational resources.
Zero-rating educational traffic requires the co-operation of all levels of network providers, ISPA stated.
ISPA welcomed the steps already taken by fixed line and mobile operators, and asked that they also considered zero-rating educational content over their wholesale networks, so that this benefit could be passed on to all retail customers.
ISPA nonetheless called on consumers to refrain from abusing special offers made by ISPs.
“During the global crisis, we all need to work together to make sure everybody in South Africa can stay connected,” the organisation stated.
– CAJ News