According to a United Nations report, the internet is a basic need. However, only 18% of Africans have access to it.
As stated earlier, access to the internet in Africa is low and sub-optimal. The following reasons can be linked to the causes.
To make the internet available in a particular rural area, there is a need to build telecom masts where there is a high connection rate. It could take decades and a huge amount of money to do this in every nook and cranny of most African countries. This limits internet connection in most rural communities.
- Current infrastructure
In the early 2000s, when the internet became popular across the world, landline penetration remained low in Africa. Lack of necessary network infrastructure limited the spread of the internet in Africa. As of 2009, for sub-Saharan Africans to go online, they have needed to rely on old generation submarine cables which could be tampered with when a boat collides with it. Most often, such collisions may lead to internet blackouts for a long time. In recent days, internet infrastructure in Africa has improved through the use of copper wires, fiber-optic cables, cellular towers and satellites.
Ghana ranks first in the list of countries with high internet broadbandwidth in Africa. With 58.28mbps, it ranks 79 across the world compared to 274.27mbps of Jersey which has the highest bandwidth across the world. Factors that affect internet speed in Africa includes proximity to submarine cables, land mass, and amount invested in providing internet services.
What is a decentralized telecom platform?
When decentralization is mentioned, blockchain architecture comes to mind. Typically, a blockchain ideally reduces or removes the concentration of power in the hands of a few or from a central body. Therefore, a decentralized telecom platform could in theory enable voice, video, and text communications to be sent directly without going through a third party.
A budding decentralized telecom platform in Africa is the 3air platform. The company has outlined 3 stages of introducing decentralized telecommunications in Africa.
The first stage involves the transmission of high-quality data of bandwidth connectivity to the masses. The second stage is the provision of easy access to services, identity management, payments and credit line building. The third stage is to introduce tokenization of bandwidth that allows people to connect globally. Tokenization simply means that subscriptions will be made using the company’s token.
Through the use of blockchain, 3air seeks to provide a decentralized internet connection that is capable of catering for large numbers of people at the same time. This involves solving issues with available bandwidth and well as connection speed.
3air partnered with K3 telecom AG, a Swiss company that specialises in providing broadband services in less populated areas of developing countries. This will ease the provision of internet access in rural areas without incurring other expenses on erecting telecom masts. This will provide a better infrastructure and make penetration easier.