New female founded ISP aims to provide fibre connectivity to SA’s townships

Lorna Mlonzi

A new Internet Service Provider (ISP) on the block, Sky Internet SA, is the brainchild of Gqeberha born, Nyanga East raised 29-year-old, Lorna Mlonzi. The ISP company has been in the making for 4 years, after carefully studying lower income household’s needs and the need for a fast reliable internet fibre connectivity.

Mlonzi, who is a Cisco certified network engineer, holds a National Diploma in Information Communication Technology (ICT) from the Cape Peninsula University of Technology and she has worked at reputable telecommunications companies and Internet Service Providers such as Cell C, Vodacom, Dimension Data, RSA Web, and Even Flow, to name a few.  

After years in the industry, and under the guidance of industry experts including ESET, where she learned Cyber security and at Even Flow, where she learnt Business Administration and Business & Financial Management, she has found a gap in the lower income market and where the internet is no longer a luxury but a necessity.

I started Sky Internet SA to bridge the digital gap between the haves and the have nots. Looking at the multiple possibilities of how we can use connectivity as tool for transformation in townships. Access to the internet enabled me, as black woman, and a product of the township which changed my life professionally and my personal development. Sky Internet SA aims to change the narrative of how we view our circumstances, our spaces and ourselves. We want to be an agent of change,” she says.

This venture did not come without its challenges. Tier 1 service providers have criteria in place that hinder barriers to entry. For example, one company advised Sky Internet SA that it should have 1000 fibre subscribers existing on its network before it was all systems go, however this was impossible because two years ago there was no fibre lines in the townships. Administrations costs such an client onboarding software, API Integration, Icasa licensing are exuberant for startups. Lorna has had to had find investors overseas particularly in Sweden.

Sky Internet SA has gone live in Nyanga, Langa and Gugulethu with plans to roll out in Khayelitsha, Phillipi and the rest of the Western Cape.