Wizzy Digital Courier
August public beta
( 15.03.2006 )
Wizzy in the News
( 29.04.2004 )
The Big Issue
( 16.04.2004 )
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( 29.07.2003 )

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How it works

Top level Technology

Wizzy Digital Courier provides affordable internet connectivity, both using off-peak dialup and also physically carrying the data to the location.

Delayed dialup

This is our innovation, as local per-minute dial up charges are too expensive.

Instead of dialing up during the day, each outbound email and each request for websites is stored on the server until 7pm when the telephone rates are 7 Rand for one 12 hour phone call (TELKOM's callmore 7 rand nights and weekends account) whereupon the server dials up and downloads the days outbound traffic. It then spends the entire night downloading email and entire websites that have been previously requested by the teacher. In the morning the server hangs up the phone, and when the students arrive, there are their emails and websites waiting for them.

Wizzy Digital Courier

USB memory stick

The Delayed dial up concept works even in locations that don't have a phone - we simply replace the phone line out to a school with a courier on a motorbike or bicycle with a USB flash storage device - 128Meg of data. Plug it into the school's server, upload all the outbound email and web requests for the day, bring it back to the dial up either at another school or a base station and download it onto the web that night, upload all the incoming email websites for that school onto the USB flash storage. Carry it out to the school and drop it onto the server. It behaves identically to the dial up line, but with no telephone. One of our schools is served in this way.

We see this as a mail delivery route identical in nature to the mailman - a bag full of letters and magazines is the same as a USB flash storage full of email and websites. The same USB flash storage device (they come up to 1gig now, and are getting bigger) can be taken around to as many schools as you can visit in a day, all on a mail route, and back to base at night.

We have also experimented with 802.11b wireless technology for the Courier. It works (we used an old laptop with a Wireless Ethernet card as the courier) but has advantages and disadvantages.


  • No requirement to have access to the school. We can park outside, and deliver outside school hours.


  • Each school needs to be outfitted with radio access. This can cost R1000 to R2000 per school.
  • Laptop requires power. This means there is a car/vehicle involved, with a power converter to run the laptop.
  • Unreliability. The wireless connection sometimes fails to connect.
  • Regulation. Using wireless puts us under the scrutiny of Telcom
  • regulators.

Other Benefits

Web Content

Because the school is never in direct connection with the internet, but rather has its web content delivered upon request, students cannot "surf" the Internet, accessing sites they shouldn't. However, since all the web sites that have been requested by the IT administrator of the school are delivered and stored on the school' server by the mobile computer, the students can "surf" this local web cache as if it were a mini-internet.

These specially chosen web sites can easily number in the hundreds, be updated daily, and should a new site be desired on a regular basis, the school would have only to wait one day for the delivery to begin. The "surfing" of this mini-internet within the school computer lab costs nothing and takes place instantaneously since the entirety of the communications takes place within the confines of the computer lab between the server and the client computers.


Quality of "connection"

The school is never in direct connection with the Internet - all email and Web pages received by the users at the schools during the day is served directly from the server in the classroom. This means instantaneous and constant connectivity to their own mini-internet over a top quality hard wired network. There is no waiting. Email, and Web pages are served directly to the client computers as though they were directly connected to a high speed link to the Internet, and the interaction is identical, with the exception that this "mini-internet" is restricted in the Web content that is available to the Web sites previously subscribed to by the IT administrator.

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