Broadband boost for rural Africa


The International Telecommunication Union (ITU) and Nexpedience have entered into a deal to bring quality broadband access to rural Africa

According to ITU, Nexpedience, which is a supplier of proprietary point-to-multipoint broadband infrastructure, will provide 180 new Expedience base stations worth a total of US$1mn, to be deployed in six nations across the continent.

The Wireless Broadband Network in Africa project will aim to implement wireless broadband connectivity that will provide free or low-cost digital access for schools, hospitals and under-served populations in remote areas across Africa.

The first nation to benefit from the new infrastructure will be Burundi, with deployments also planned for Djibouti, Burkina Faso, Mali, Rwanda and Swaziland.

According to a report on Telecompaper, the base stations will be planned for rural deployment, designed to withstand extreme meteorological conditions and capable of providing up to 32km of sector coverage.

At the signing of the agreement in Geneva, director of ITU’s Telecommunication Development Bureau (BDT) Brahima Sanou, emphasised the need to make developing countries part of the global broadband revolution.

Sanou said, “This partnership represents an important element in ITU’s efforts to bring broadband technology to the world – even in the poorest nations. This will accelerate broadband uptake right across the African continent, bringing the power of high-speed connectivity to users everywhere.”

Nexpedience chief executive officer Kiriako Vergos said, “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.”