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7Twenty Author

Rural broadband connectivity – a science of innovation

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Taking broadband internet access to rural communities has become a global focal point to bridge the digital divide and try bring about better equality. Today at least half of the global population remains offline.

Achieve broadband development goals

Broadband internet access is a key enabler to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals by 2030. These goals address inequality within and between countries and are doing so by definitively tackling issues such as: poverty, health, education, energy, water & sanitation, agriculture, economic growth, building infrastructure and so much more.

Connectivity challenges

Penetrating rural areas with broadband internet connectivity presents numerous challenges from geographical location, consumer-scale, living standards measure, development objectives, broadband service offering to long term sustainability of broadband connectivity.
connectivity challenges

Rural connectivity Success

The European Commission published The Broadband Handbook in which they shared valuable insights into various models of deploying broadband into rural communities across Europe which has been successful. The Handbook also studies the lessons learned from obstacles such as: inability to attract a sufficient customer base, inability to transfer infrastructure to a different operator due to state aid rules, crowding out of public infrastructure by private investments in under-served areas and a few others. In the global community there is value in studying your peers’ wins & losses in order to navigate the path to rural broadband connectivity.

Determine best network to use in rural areas

Historically, Telcos have focused their investments in urban areas where they have had access to a larger pool of potential consumer uptakes which provided healthy ROI. Telcos have the hard work of establishing business models and testing these to determine the best type of network to deploy into rural areas. Apart from achieving an executable business model, Telcos depend on other elements such as policy, legislation, community and government participation.

Broadband connectivity deployed into rural areas would typically contain wireless and fibre optic network elements. These types of networks are either used as stand-alone or, as is required by the challenges of rural connectivity. More often these types of networks are integrated forming hybrid end-to-end systems.

Innovation

It is through innovation that Space X is deploying Starlink, their low orbit satellite constellation, with a vision to providing global broadband connectivity. It is through innovation that Loon LLC launched balloons into the stratosphere over Kenya providing up to 18.9Mbps downlink speeds to more than 35 000 subscribers.

It is through innovation that Facebook Connectivity with their partners developed a robot designed to safely deploy a specialized fiber-optic cable on medium-voltage (MV) power lines. It is through innovation and collaboration that broadband internet access can be delivered to rural communities.

In order to succeed at complex challenges, you cannot use conventional thought processes. Innovation is a medium through which the elements can translate into actionable tasks. Whether that is with respect to policy changes, community engagements or down to the physical network layer.In order to succeed at complex challenges, you cannot use conventional thought processes. Innovation is a medium through which the elements can translate into actionable tasks. Whether that is with respect to policy changes, community engagements or down to the physical network layer.

Ending off

It is at the physical network layer where 7Twenty Degrees, a division of the PIMMS Group, adds value through their innovative approach in addressing bespoke needs, aiming to overachieve on the result. At 7Twenty Degrees we believe that you are only limited to the size of your vision.

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