Community Research and Development Information Service - CORDIS

FP6

NET-ADDED — Result In Brief

Project ID: 30960
Funded under: FP6-AEROSPACE
Country: France

Bridging the digital divide in Africa and beyond

The number of people with access to the internet continues to rise, yet many countries and communities have been left behind. Ironically, technology could be the key to bridging the digital divide between the haves and the have-nots.
Bridging the digital divide in Africa and beyond
The Netadded project combined satellite and wireless technologies to deliver broadband communications solutions to a new generation of users. With the aid of European funding, 14 test sites were established in Europe, Africa, the Middle East and Asia. A flexible network architecture made it possible to develop several different user applications addressing education, health care, tourism and agriculture.

The system was built from readily available components and equipment in an effort to maintain simplicity. Instructional videos were produced to ensure that people without a technical background could install the system, including the difficult task of aligning the dish with the satellite. A special portable unit was also created that can withstand the harsh environmental conditions found in Africa and other parts of the world.

A prototype was constructed that allows the system operator to monitor operations remotely. Once again, the emphasis was on enabling people with little to no ICT expertise to be able to work with the system. This and other tools helped the team evaluate the system in terms of availability, reliability, quality of service and other benchmarks. Feedback gathered directly from users at the 14 test sites will be used to optimise system deployment in the future.

The viability of the hybrid satellite-wireless solution was successfully demonstrated and the Netadded participants have been getting the message out at conferences and other events, through articles as well as via a dedicated website. The hybrid technology will continue to be exploited to deliver tangible benefits to users in need.

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