Recruiting Village Chiefs As Internet Service Providers In Africa

Recruiting Village Chiefs As Internet Service Providers In Africa

Gilat Satcom, an Israeli company with three branch offices in Nigeria, said it plans to deliver affordable Internet service to rural African villages and remote communities via private satellite.

The company’s business plan involves recruiting village chiefs, schools, churches an other community organisations to sell Internet service to village residents.

Gilat Satcom’s Village Island portfolio was developed to provide Internet, voice over Internet protocol (VoIP) and Internet protocol (IP) video over a private satellite network, according to ITNewsAfrica.

The company plans to launch Village Island at April 14-16 in Zimbabwe at the Innovation Access Digital Africa summit.

Cost of Internet connectivity for villagers will begin at $1 US a day, and still be profitable, according to Eran Yoran, marketing and business development director for Gilat Satcom, ITNewsAfrica reports.

The company has offices in Victoria Island, Lagos; Abuja; and Port Harcourt with headquarters in Petach-Tikva, Israel.

Gilat Satcom offers communication solutions using satellite and fiber-based connectivity in Africa, Asia and the Middle East. Its customers include governments, businesses and international organizations in more than 50 countries, according to its website.

Here’s how the Village Island business plan works, according to ITNewsAfrica: The service will be provided by governments, non-government organizations, cellular and telephone operators, major Internet service providers and others to a group acting as the Village Nano-ISP. This group could be a village chief, a school, a church or other community organisation.

The private Village Nano-ISP will be responsible for selling the Internet service direct in the village, billing users and paying the monthly service charge to the provider. Gilat Satcom provides detailed business plans to both the network providers and the Village Nano-ISPs, allowing them to build profitable and commercially sustainable services.

“Providing affordable access in Africa is an ongoing theme for the telecoms industry,” Yoran said. “There are many entrepreneurial people living in rural Africa who would gladly run a network if they had the tools and know-how available to make it work. We have worked for a long time to provide a solution which is both affordable for the village end-user and profitable for the entire supply chain.”

Village Island is economically self-sustaining and scalable so it can grow with demand and minimal additional investment, Yoran said, according to ITNewsAfrica. “We have established a business plan that targets users with $1 a month to spend on telephony and is still profitable.”