Pilot brings pv-magazine.com to off-grid Rwandan communities

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Solar power is bringing the internet to remote communities in Rwanda, thanks to a pilot project by London-based “plug-and-play” solar provider Bboxx.

The company has established 10 Wifi hotspots in off-grid communities in the east African nation, with the help of Axiom Networks, a Rwandan connectivity service provider and subsidiary of TransAfrica Communications.

The hotspots, smartphone financing options and data bundles make online access more affordable to customers and each of the hotspots is administered by local entrepreneurs who advise users on how to access the internet.

In a press release yesterday announcing the pilot scheme, Mansoor Hamayun, CEO and co-founder of Bboxx, said: “This latest internet pilot in Rwanda is a key step in delivering our vision to bring a whole range of much-needed utilities to off-grid communities across the developing world. This reinforces our position as a next generation utility.

“The disparity between internet access in the developed and developing world is unacceptable and a huge impediment to economic growth. Our vision for internet usage aligns with our vision for energy access, and they are inextricably linked, as stable data access requires a reliable electricity supply. We want to provide affordable data connectivity to communities left behind by the digital revolution, improving their quality of life.

“For Bboxx, it will be a significant milestone in our wider strategy from being a provider of solar home systems to a multi-utility company, transforming the lives of underserved households in the developing world.”