A4AI seeks wireless systems to tackle rural connectivity
Local partnerships and networks technical solutions such IXPs and community-managed (C-Managed) wireless systems, have become imperative to tackling rural areas connectivity challenges.
This was part of a session on rural connectivity challenges as part of the ICTD2016 conference, held at the University of Michigan, USA by the Alliance for Affordable Internet(A4AI).
A4AI is an initiative to make the Internet more affordable to people around the world, with Dr. Ernest Ndukwe as the National Coordinator for Nigeria.
As the discussion emphasized the need for local partnerships and networks to develop technical solutions such IXPs and community-managed wireless systems, the key factors to scale such technical projects, A4AI suggested, include a reliable ISP partner, supportive regulator, co-funding at the seed stage, and commercial viability.
One example shared was Mawingu Networks, a Kenya-based business that uses TV white spaces and combines nonprofit and for-profit models.
The session which centered on “How Might We Improve Rural Connectivity?”, identified that rural communities in low-income countries, like Nigeria, are the least likely to be connected or to afford access to the Internet.
The Initiative added that if countries like Nigeria are to achieve UN Sustainable Development Goal 9c targeted at ‘universal and affordable access in least developed countries’, they have a need to make significant progress in improving connectivity among rural populations.
Dhanaraj Thakur, research manager, moderated the session, while experts from A4AI member organisations initiated discussion by sharing examples from their own work: