Expanding connectivity characterizes our times
February 2nd, 2009

A New York Times article today reports on Bringing the Internet to Remote African Villages. Only a few years ago, there were stories like this reporting the first tentative steps toward bringing cellphones into rural Africa. The beginning sentence of the excerpt below indicates the earlier dream is being realized. Progress made in global connectivity and the validity of expecting much more are fundamentals of the 21st century.

In recent years the mobile phone has emerged as the main modern communications link for rural areas of Africa. From 2002 to 2007, the number of Kenyans using cellphones grew almost tenfold to reach about a third of the population, many of whom did not have land lines, according to the International Telecommunication Union.

But many of the phones were simple models made more for talking than Web browsing, and wireless data networks are slow, with sporadic coverage.

Satellite connections are faster and more stable, which is why they are attracting interest from the likes of Google, as a way to provide Internet connections to the estimated 95 percent of Africans who, according to the telecommunications union, have no access.

Although providing Internet access is outside the normal business realm of Google, with this project it is looking at how obstacles might be overcome in Kenya and other parts of Africa.


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