New model to get broadband to under-served communities in South Africa
By Ungana-Afrika for APCNews
PRETORIA, South Africa, 26 July 2010
Ungana-Afrika worked with the Meraka Institute of the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) on Broadband for All, which aims to provide broadband connectivity to South Africa’s under-served areas through a community-centric model rather than a telco-driven model.
Pretoria-based APC member Ungana-Afrika building an alternative “ecosystem” which emphasises local value and keeping revenues in the community where possible.
The model leverages internally developed wireless-mesh technologies to link priority government sites and high bandwidth users such as schools, municipalities and government offices, who in turn provide a link to smaller customers such as businesses, NGOs and individuals. The model relies on local entrepreneurs to operate, maintain and expand the network, tailoring their services to meet local needs. By aggregating the latent demand for internet in under-served areas and using low-cost technologies, Ungana-Afrika expects the model to provide affordable internet connectivity in areas that larger service providers do not see as economically viable.
To benefit from economies of scale, numerous implementation sites are needed, which must be evaluated efficiently to test their viability and Ungana-Afrika has developed a site feasibility assessment methodology for the project.
Photos by Joshhough and Ungana-Afrika – Site feasibility methodology developed by Ungana-Afrika for community development