Accelerating Broadband to the First Mile – an Inveneo White Paper
Just 9.6% of the total population in Africa has access to the Internet. This is less than 1/5th and 1/6th of the rate in the Americas and Europe, respectively. But this statistic does not convey the real situation in the world’s poorest countries. Of Africa’s 48 sub-Saharan countries, 29 (60%) have total Internet usage rates (at any speed) of less than 3%, and 15 (31%) show less than 1%. Broadband access rates are far lower still.
Thus, while wireless broadband has exploded in much of the world, as the ITU’s 2009 report points out, there remains “a dramatic broadband divide, with very few fixed broadband subscribers or mobile broadband subscriptions in Africa.”
Inveneo believes that closing the broadband gap will require new, collaborative and low-cost broadband service delivery models. Moreover, we believe that the essential components of such a model already exist; what’s needed is a well-conceived and coordinated effort to bring them together in a functioning service delivery framework.
In the Accelerating Broadband to the First Mile white paper, Inveneo and our partners are working to define and deploy a novel, locally sustainable wireless broadband delivery model, starting in Haiti.
The Inveneo-led Haiti Rural Broadband (HRB) initiative is a collaborative program seeking to catalyze sustainable broadband access in underserved parts of Haiti. The program is founded on the idea that dramatic capital and operating cost savings can be realized through the use of ultra-low-cost wireless technologies, an emphasis on building local IT capacity to deploy and support broadband infrastructure and new approaches to cooperative network ownership and management.
HRB’s primary short-term objective is to bring affordable, reliable and sustainable broadband access to 6 regions and 20 currently un-served population centers across Haiti. The longer-term goal is to explore how the HRB model can be replicated in similarly rural and low resource areas across the developing world.