Broadband boost for Africa
The International Telecommunication Union (ITU) and Nexpedience, a supplier of proprietary point-to-multipoint broadband infrastructure, are partnering to bring broadband access to Africa, according to the ITU.
Under the terms of the deal, Nexpedience will provide 180 new Expedience base stations worth $1 million, to be deployed in six nations across the continent. The first nation to benefit from the new infrastructure is Burundi, with deployments also planned for Djibouti, Burkina Faso, Mali, Rwanda and Swaziland.
Designed to withstand extreme meteorological conditions and capable of providing up to 32 kilometres of sector coverage, Nexpedience's base stations have been specifically designed for rural deployment, Telecompaper notes.
ITU's Wireless Broadband Network in Africa project aims to develop and implement wireless broadband connectivity and applications that will provide free or low-cost digital access for schools, hospitals, and under-served populations in rural and remote areas Africa-wide.
At the signing of the agreement in Geneva, Brahima Sanou, director of ITU's Telecommunication Development Bureau (BDT) emphasised the need to make developing countries part of the global broadband revolution, writes Gadget.
“This partnership represents another important element in ITU's efforts to bring broadband technology to the world – even in the poorest nations. I am confident that this new partnership will accelerate broadband uptake right across the African continent, bringing the power of high-speed connectivity to users everywhere, from big cities to small villages.”
Kiriako Vergos, CEO of Nexpedience says: “Giving access to broadband technology to underserved populations in Africa is of great importance to us. There are enormous benefits to be derived from a 'broadband-seed' deployment strategy, and we decided to partner with ITU because we know that the organisation has the team in place to get it done.”
ITU secretary-general Dr Hamadoun Touré hailed the new agreement as a “major step forward in getting Africa connected”. Touré led the establishment of the Broadband Commission for Digital Development in 2010, which has the aim of putting broadband at the heart of the global development agenda.
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