Start-up looks to cover Botswana with ‘Wi-Fi blanket’
Start-up telecommunications services provider One Wireless has announced plans to deploy macro Wi-Fi solutions to “Wi-Fi blanket’ Botswana, covering several cities including Francistown, Gaborone, Kasane, Maun and Palapye.
The company says the wireless technology, also known as ‘mass Wi-Fi’, guarantees a faster internet speed, and will benefit the public as well as IOT, OTT service providers, infrastructure and SaaS providers.
The expectation is that this will also create more local jobs.
According to One Wireless, Botswana has a population of over 1.8 million and “is marred with slow, expensive, and unreliable GSM and Fixed-line internet connections. This has been depriving the public of affordable and seamless internet connectivity. The absence of which has hindered Botswana's growth and opportunities to the connected world.”
The company references an A4AI study in 2018 which showed that Botswana's broadband cost is the highest in Africa. 1 GB data in the country costs US$14.12 vs. the global average of US$8.53.
Data from speedtest.net ranks Botswana 101 in the world for mobile speeds and 160 for fixed broadband speeds as of December 2020, averaging 10.95 mbps (download speed) for fixed broadband and 20.79 mbps (download speed) for mobile connection.
The One Wireless Macro Wi-Fi Blanket model speaks to mass Wi-Fi deployment and adoption.
“…resulting in large areas of coverage allowing users to jump on and off the network with 0 (zero) packet loss as they move within the area of coverage. Allowing users to commute throughout the city without losing connectivity,” the company continues.
One Wireless adds that in Botswana, there has been a major focus on static connections, such as fibre, copper and point-to-point. No entities to date have attempted to Wi-Fi blanket the entire city. Some companies have launched hotspots that could be found in malls and airports, it says.
Using macro Wi-Fi deployment, One Wireless guarantees faster internet speeds at cheaper rates. Their target is 40mbps at US$0.40 per 1 GB.
It says as a proof of concept, the similar technology has been deployed in Jamaica with massive success.
The whole island of Jamaica has been Wi-Fi blanketed using macro Wi-Fi technology, the company adds.
Rajit Singh, Founder and Chief Executive Officer, One Wireless, says, “Botswana currently has one of the most expensive data charges on a global scale. One Wireless plans to change that by offering our technology to business and residential markets. We are the pioneer in this space as no other entity has attempted to blanket the country with WIFI. Along with the paid subscriptions, we have a dream that each user should be entitled to a free daily usage limit as we believe connectivity is a human right.”
In the foreseeable future, One Wireless plans to load its network with free content.