The European Space Agency (ESA) says it has made available €10.7m financial backing to Avanti Communications to back a project bringing rural communities across Africa online.
Under the two year plan, Avanti Communications, the project manager, will provide affordable satellite broadband connectivity to 1,400 community sites across Sub-Saharan Africa under its new ECO Wi-Fi hotspot initiative.
To deploy the advanced new technology platform, Avanti says it will partner with Newtec and a group of leading service providers, combining satellite, Wi-Fi and solar power, to deliver the programme in the market.
[quote font=”georgia” font_size=”22″ font_style=”italic” align=”left” arrow=”yes”]Solar-powered ECO Wi-Fi hotspots will be hosted at schools that will benefit from subsidised Internet access. Consumers and local businesses, within range of the ECO Wi-Fi hotspot, will use the ECO mobile payment app (newly developed by Avanti) to make micro payments for broadband credits which convert to data usage, the company explains.[/quote]According to the companies, Memorandums of Understanding on ECO have been signed with the South African Ministry of Communications, Sentech in South Africa, Wananchi, Intersat and Imarasat in Kenya and the Tanzania Education Authority.
Many other governments, service providers and other Avanti partners have also expressed support for the ECO initiative, according to Avanti. They include MainOne,World Bank International Finance Corporation, Telkom Kenya, Internet Solutions, Safaricom, iWayAfrica, iSat Africa, Nynex, TelOne, Quantis, Newtec and Discovery Learning Alliance.
Solar-powered ECO Wi-Fi hotspots will be hosted at schools that will benefit from subsidised Internet access. Consumers and local businesses, within range of the ECO Wi-Fi hotspot, will use the ECO mobile payment app (newly developed by Avanti) to make micro payments for broadband credits which convert to data usage, the company explains.
Commenting on the project, Magali Vaissiere, Director of Telecommunications and Integrated Applications at ESA says: “As part of the ARTES Partner program, we are excited to support and contribute to the ECO program as it launches today. By doing so, ESA is investing in European ground infrastructure and fostering the delivery of satellite services in global markets.
“We look forward to working with Avanti in Sub-Saharan Africa to support better education outcomes and to unlock new business opportunities for both local Service Providers and European industry technology providers. Additionally we are happy to provide a connectivity platform that will ensure many long term NGO and Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) initiatives are sustainable.”
Also commenting on the deal , David Williams, Chief Executive Officer of Avanti, says: “Through product innovation and a partner strategy we have found an economically viable way to deliver broadband to low income customers in rural Africa. Working with governments and local service providers, and with support from ESA, this first project is a significant step towards creating something that will address a need across the entire continent.”