Eutelsat-owned satellite broadband service provider Konnect Africa has unveiled a new hotspot service aimed at bringing Wi-Fi to rural communities in Africa. Known as SmartWIFI, the company says the service is part of its ongoing commitment to bring digital opportunities to Africans.
SmartWIFI leverages Konnect Africa’s powerful, reliable satellite broadband network to enable sales outlets (retailers, hospitalities, gas stations, etc.) as well as healthcare centres or schools to become a connectivity point and digital gateway to opportunity for the surrounding population. The service will enable users will be able to access the internet from a distance of several hundred metres around the hotspot. This Access can be extended to several kilometers through off-the-shelf Wi-Fi repeaters.
Users can access the SmartWIFI service through vouchers or mobile payment schemes. In addition, SmartWIFI comes with a unique local data storage system, enabling users in remote areas to access smart digital content free of data charges, including online courses and education programmes, sports and entertainment. Mobile and computer applications will also be available to help support daily business activities.
Speaking during the AfricaCom 2017 event in Cape Town, Konnect Africa CEO, Laurent Grimaldi said this new Wi-Fi hotspot solution is designed specifically to address the needs of the majority of the African population that live in rural areas, where there is a need to reduce the digital divide. ‘’In leveraging the ubiquity of our satellite network and locally operated hotspots we will foster more productive uses of digital technology to make everyday tasks easier for individuals and allow businesses in more remote areas to expand their footprint ‘’ he said.
SmartWIFI will be available in all countries covered by Konnect Africa’s satellite broadband service. The new hotspot service will be deployed in partnership with local Internet service providers and telecom operators in strategic areas across Sub-Saharan Africa.