Avanti Communications Group and Meso Group have completed the first phase of a major project to connect libraries in South Africa. Following a competitive tender, Meso won the bid to deliver services to 400 provincial libraries using Avanti’s Hylas 2 satellite.
The National Library of South Africa (NLSA) launched an information-management project across the three provinces of Limpopo, North West and Mpumalanga. The aim is to provide increased connectivity and allow libraries to better share records and data on stock management via the internet, helping to improve operating efficiency.
Lesiba Ledwaba, CIO of NLSA, says: “The project started when we were implementing the SITA/ NLSA open source Library Information Management System (LIMS). A need was identified for all libraries countrywide to communicate with each other and have access to one another’s collections. Before the roll-out of LIMS, it was noted that there were many libraries without connectivity and, therefore, connectivity for LIMS became a priority.”
“The next logical step was to extend internet connectivity services to local communities. With so many schools, especially those in rural areas, without libraries or connectivity of their own, it became clear we could really start to make a difference in the education and lifestyle of these rural communities,” says Ledwaba.
Thibedi Mogoba, Chairman of Meso Group, adds: “We chose Avanti because its services offer unparalleled quality at prices which radically change the economics of high-speed internet access in South Africa. Now this access is supporting social transformation and is helping deliver national objectives around knowledge and information-sharing.”