Riders in the PwC Great Zuurberg Trek mountain bike race will again enjoy superior connectivity, thanks to a significant partnership with Port Elizabeth-based company Igen.
While the remoteness of the Zuurberg region – adjacent to the Addo Elephant National Park – contributes to the uniqueness of the event, it also affects internet connectivity.
“The downside is that coverage can be limited,” said race director Brad Jackson of Mountain Events.
“As a boutique event, we realise that it is an important part of our offering to help our participants stay in touch with the outside world.”
Apart from the needs of the riders, he said it was also an important consideration for the organisers as the three-day event interacted with the public through its digital and social platforms throughout.
Jackson said an effective internet infrastructure was also imperative to be able to communicate with the media and to offer services like live timing.
He said Igen, short for Internet Generation, made use of long range, high speed wireless links to provide internet services in the most remote locations.
“Their complimentary wireless hotspots scattered throughout the race village will allow participants to get online during the event.”
Igen sales representative Linda van Huyssteen said they would provide the same services as they did in the first year of the sponsorship, which had “worked very well”.
“The speeds we gave them last year included a 20MB uncapped line for the organisers and media,” she said.
“The cyclists also received uncapped data, but at a lower bandwidth to ensure the best possible experience for all.”
Van Huyssteen said they had assisted riders with setting up their phones last year and had received positive feedback from both the participants and race organisers.
“The internet was working, they were enjoying themselves and everything went according to plan,” she said.
“We will be offering the same package this year, although we do not need to attend the event this time.”
She said they did not have any issues with the remoteness of the region due to towers they had installed in the area for the Zuurberg Mountain Village – one of their clients.
“Everything we need for the sponsorship is there as we put everything in place last year, so basically it is just a case of turning on a switch.”
Operating as wireless and internet communication service providers, Igen cover a large area in the Eastern Cape, from East London in the east to Stilbaai in the west.
“We are very happy to be involved in a local event such as this which provides us with a chance to give back to the community,” said Van Huyssteen.
The PwC Great Zuurberg Trek will take place from May 26 to 28.