Is Coke the Oprah of Internet access? In an effort to try and bring Wi-Fi to developing countries, Coca-Cola is installing Wi-Fi in vending machines in South Africa in places like Umtata in the Eastern Cape Province and Nelspruit, in the Mpumalanga province. The two locations of this pilot project are located near a fast food place, and a taxi stand, respectively: both places that are regularly inhabited by large crowds of people. In addition, both are near shopping centers and schools, meaning that Internet access will be readily available to students, and visitors.
The Internet access at both locations is free for all, and does not actually require any previous purchase to use (i.e. you don’t have to buy a bottle of Coke to check your email).
“We believe that by giving them access to free WiFi we will enable students and school children in the area to increase their knowledge through research while also giving entrepreneurs and small business owners in the community the opportunity to manage some of their business aspects online,” said David Visser, Chief Information Officer of Coca-Cola South Africa in a statement.
If you’re grumbling about this pretty nifty innovation not being introduced in the States, remember that Internet access is almost a universal amenity for Americans.
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Joanna Fantozzi is an Associate Editor with The Daily Meal. Follow her on Twitter@JoannaFantozzi