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Mesh Networks in South Africa

Mwendwa,

This very interesting thread died out!

Despite NOFBI having been laid out to cover all counties, apart from the
county headquarters the wider area of most counties remain uncovered.

This calls for a joint public / private / community effort to get all
connected. Zenzeleni has proved that this is doable. Further away in the US
(with all their might and resources) they too believe that The Fiber Future
is Cooperative: Policy Brief On Rural Cooperative Fiber Deployment
<ilsr.org/the-fiber-future-is-cooperative-policy-brief-on-rural-cooperative-fiber-deployment/>.
Despite the gains made by USF, we still have a long way to go to making
internet available to all. With most government services now going online,
if measures are not taken to address this issue we stand the possibility of
creating cartels to do this.

Can we reopen this talk and seek ways to address this problem?

Regards
Twahir

On Sat, Mar 30, 2019 at 5:35 PM Mwendwa Kivuva via kictanet <
kictanet@lists.kictanet.or.ke> wrote:

> Thank you Peter Wakaba for the probing questions. It has lead to very rich
> answers from Michuki, Ndemo, and Gitau. Thank you Joash for putting this
> forward, and Song too.
>
> I want to request the following three players to also comment about their
> initiative. Probably what their initiative is all about, the positives,
> opportunities, and challenges they face.
>
> 1. Josephine Miliza of Tunapanda Network.
> 2. Tonny Okwonga of BOSCO Network Uganda
> 3. Andy Halsall / Dirk-Jan Koeman / Chris Rhodes of Poa Internet.
>
> Can someone link the good people at Poa internet to this thread? Andrew
> Alston or Ben Roberts probably?
>
> For a fact, I know BOSCO Network in Northern Uganda is quite expansive,
> covering a radius of about 200km, and offering FREE internet to community
> centers. Is this sustainable? Well, they have been around for more than 12
> years. There is the answer.
>
> Warm regards
> ______________________
> Mwendwa Kivuva, Nairobi, Kenya
>
> On Fri, 29 Mar 2019 at 18:51, Michuki Mwangi via kictanet <
> kictanet@lists.kictanet.or.ke> wrote:
>
>> Peter,
>>
>> The following article by Steve Song also provides some further insights
>> on why Community Networks provide an alternative solution to providing
>> connectivity to remote and underserved communities.
>>
>> manypossibilities.net/2019/02/rethinking-affordable-access/
>>
>> Regards,
>>
>> Michuki.
>>
>> On Fri, Mar 29, 2019 at 6:38 PM Michuki Mwangi <michuki.mwangi@gmail.com>
>> wrote:
>>
>>> Peter,
>>>
>>> To provide some insights on how community networks are built and
>>> operated, I would like to refer you to similar community initiatives we
>>> have in the country. You may have come across community water projects.
>>> These initiatives have for many years provided communities in semi-urban
>>> and rural areas with clean, piped, portable water and at affordable rates.
>>> Their sustainability is based on low OPEX and growing membership and a
>>> general application of Elinor Ostrom’s “commons model”. For most of these
>>> projects the initial CAPEX is from grant funds or loans that they repay
>>> over time.
>>>
>>> Community Networks (CNs) are not any different. They are established
>>> using CAPEX from grants and similar models to those community water
>>> projects. The engineers are local youth trained through the initiative with
>>> the basic training needed to run and operate the network. CNs will
>>> negotiate IP transit capacity from operators closest to them. In some
>>> cases, it means building long haul wifi links spanning over 50kms to get to
>>> the closest operator’s node. In the case of Zenzeleni, the closest operator
>>> who could provide them with reasonably priced capacity is in Umtata, more
>>> 100kms from Mankosi. In addition, CNs use low cost, low power wi-fi gear
>>> and use solar to power the equipment. All these factors have a significant
>>> impact on the OPEX and as a result, CNs are able to offer affordable access
>>> to the communities they serve. In some cases, CNs offer other services that
>>> supplement their revenue stream. Sustainability is still a challenge for
>>> many of them just like many water projects tend to suffer from. However,
>>> both of these tend to find ways of continuing to serve their communities
>>> for many years. I suppose its largely dependent on their bottom up
>>> community approach to the initiative. Kindly allow me to invite you to read
>>> the following study on CNs in Africa –
>>> www.internetsociety.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/08/CommunityNetworkingAfrica_report_May2017_1.pdf
>>>
>>>
>>> Regards,
>>>
>>> Michuki.
>>>
>>>
>>>
>>> On Fri, Mar 29, 2019 at 5:45 PM Bitange Ndemo via kictanet <
>>> kictanet@lists.kictanet.or.ke> wrote:
>>>
>>>> It uses broadcast spectrum on a shared basis. It is the aspect of
>>>> sharing economy of the airwaves that lowers the cost.
>>>>
>>>> Ndemo.
>>>>
>>>> On Fri, Mar 29, 2019 at 4:27 PM Peter Wakaba via kictanet <
>>>> kictanet@lists.kictanet.or.ke> wrote:
>>>>
>>>>> Who can talk to me about Mawingu and how it compares to this South
>>>>> Africa network. I would like to understand just what enables the lower
>>>>> costs and how it is different.
>>>>>
>>>>> On Fri, Mar 29, 2019 at 1:25 PM Song, Stephen via kictanet <
>>>>> kictanet@lists.kictanet.or.ke> wrote:
>>>>>
>>>>>> Hi Joash,
>>>>>>
>>>>>> This is a great piece of video journalism from the BBC but a minor
>>>>>> point of clarification. Zenzeleni is not a mesh network. It did start out
>>>>>> as one but now uses hub and spoke WiFi technology from Ubiquiti just like
>>>>>> Mawingu and many others do in Kenya. The BBC unfortunately buried the lead
>>>>>> in the headline by not highlighting the real innovation of Zenzeleni, which
>>>>>> is the nature of their organisation. They are a registered cooperative
>>>>>> under South African law. Profits from the network go back to the community
>>>>>> and back into the network. Cooperatives have been around since the middle
>>>>>> ages. Their time is coming for rural broadband.
>>>>>>
>>>>>> Cheers… Steve Song
>>>>>>
>>>>>> On Fri, 29 Mar 2019 at 06:37, Joash Moitui via kictanet <
>>>>>> kictanet@lists.kictanet.or.ke> wrote:
>>>>>>
>>>>>>> Dear all,
>>>>>>>
>>>>>>> Innovative mesh networks in South Africa are connecting the
>>>>>>> connected for less than $2 a month.
>>>>>>>
>>>>>>>
>>>>>>> www.bbc.com/news/av/world-africa-47723967/internet-access-in-africa-are-mesh-networks-the-future?ocid=socialflow_facebook
>>>>>>>
>>>>>>> Could this be the solution for connecting thousands in rural Kenya?
>>>>>>>
>>>>>>> Best,
>>>>>>>
>>>>>>> Joash Moitui
>>>>>>>
>>>>>>>
>>>>>>> ~Sent from mobile device. Apologies for brevity and typos ~
>>>>>>>
>>>>>>>
>>>>>>>
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>>>>>>
>>>>>>
>>>>>> —
>>>>>> Steve Song
>>>>>> +1 902 529 0046
>>>>>> manypossibilities.net
>>>>>> nsrc.org
>>>>>>
>>>>>>
>>>>>> _______________________________________________
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>>>>>
>>>>>
>>>>> —
>>>>> *Every morning in Africa, a gazelle wakes up, It knows it must run
>>>>> faster
>>>>> than the fastest lion or it will be killed. Every morning a lion wakes
>>>>> up,
>>>>> it knows it must outrun the slowest gazelle or it will starve to
>>>>> death. It
>>>>> doesn’t matter whether you are a gazelle or a lion. When the sun comes
>>>>> up,
>>>>> you better start running. – In “The World is Flat” by Thomas L.
>>>>> Friedman.*
>>>>>
>>>>>
>>>>>
>>>>>
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>>>>>
>>>> _______________________________________________
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>>>>
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>>> _______________________________________________
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>>
>> The Kenya ICT Action Network (KICTANet) is a multi-stakeholder platform
>> for people and institutions interested and involved in ICT policy and
>> regulation. The network aims to act as a catalyst for reform in the ICT
>> sector in support of the national aim of ICT enabled growth and development.
>>
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>>
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>
> The Kenya ICT Action Network (KICTANet) is a multi-stakeholder platform
> for people and institutions interested and involved in ICT policy and
> regulation. The network aims to act as a catalyst for reform in the ICT
> sector in support of the national aim of ICT enabled growth and development.
>
> KICTANetiquette : Adhere to the same standards of acceptable behaviors
> online that you follow in real life: respect people’s times and bandwidth,
> share knowledge, don’t flame or abuse or personalize, respect privacy, do
> not spam, do not market your wares or qualifications.
>

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