The race, said to be the toughest race on Earth, took place from November 29 to December 2, 2017, from Bloemfontein to Wellington in the Western Cape.
SES Networks, together with local partners Connectivity Africa and Ruckus Wireless, provided connectivity at five sites on the cycle routes: Site 1 - van Stadens guesthouse; Site 2 – Trance Karoo Lodge at Britz Town; Site 3 – Die Rooi Granant at Loxton; Site 4 – Sutherland Hotel at Southerland; and Site 5 – Pine Forest Holiday Resort at Ceres. More importantly, the communities along the trail have enjoyed continuous free Wi-Fi connectivity since the first Munga MTB race in November last year. Die Rooi Granant, a coffee shop and deli in Loxton, has become a hub of activity, where young people and small business owners have access to the internet via fast mobile data and broadband connectivity available at the coffee shop.
This year SES Networks doubled the capacity provided for organizers to use Facebook live streaming. The provision of internet connectivity meant the organizers were able to provide updates to the cyclists and enabled them to keep records of all participants that entered and left the stop-over sites. For the participants, they were able to stay connected with their families, post updates on social media for their followers to experience the race in real-time, and keep track of their progress.
Carole Kamaitha, Vice President, Fixed Data of Africa at SES Networks, said that connecting customers and local communities is at the heart of what the company does and all are delighted tin providing the Munga MTB participants and organizers with high-speed broadband connectivity and continue to provide the service to communities along the cycle routes. Many of the surrounding communities have limited access to the internet, so this service could make a difference to their daily lives by empowering them through connectivity.
Alex Harris, Munga Race Director, added that seeing the participants leave each day in the early hours of the morning and push through every type of pain is truly remarkable and inspiring. By partnering with SES Networks, the organizers were able to provide much needed quality Wi-Fi to the Munga MTB participants and the surrounding communities. Receiving motivational messages and pictures from loved ones also made everything worthwhile and participants felt encouraged every step of the way.