Problem / Challenge
In the rural and under-served communities in Nigeria, the major telecom providers do not see the return on investment so do not make the necessary infrastructural investments to ensure its services gets to these areas.
With limited options, members of these communities cannot take advantage of life impactful opportunities that can come about through internet connectivity such as: digital learning, e-delivery of public health care, connecting farmers to their buyers’ in marketplace and offering insights on produce pricing. We have seen how
Rural communities are at risk of falling further behind in today’s digital transformation of our national economy. We believe with better broadband penetration in rural communities at home we can improve delivery of health care, quality of education and enhance public safety.
To address the issue of digital divide and digital illiteracy in the rural areas, Ekovolt plans to deploy TV
whitespace technology to get Internet connectivity to these under-served areas where major providers do not operate.
TV White Space (TVWS) utilizes unused TV channels’ frequencies in the UHF band between 470MHz and 700MHz. The unused TV spectrum can also be used to provide broadband internet access. These spectrums were previously used to broadcast TV programming, so it has an advantage of reaching end-users at longer distances.
TVWS technology enables use of low-frequency signals which propagate through geographical barriers like buildings, trees and hills. This results in improved non-line-of-sight (NLOS) coverage, at a price that is more affordable than installing multiple microwave links to go around such barriers.
We believe this access to internet connectivity in these under-served communities coupled with training so that the community can manage these networks will open career and entrepreneurial
opportunities to the members of the community.
Sustainability and Opportunity to Scale
Ekovolt is a licensed Internet Service Provider currently operating in Lagos, Nigeria. As a Microsoft Airband initiative partner, we have developed the tools to build and manage without interference to TV broadcasters' broadband networks capable of delivering internet access to rural communities in Nigeria. Ekovolt will work with the national regulator to formalize access these TV whitespace spectrum licenses and deploy in the rural areas.
In the past, Ekovolt has supplied internet connectivity to underserved communities using fixed wireless capabilities in sub-6Ghz frequencies. Over 700 students and teachers enjoy the service. See press release below
Ekovolt can build upon its inhouse capability to deploy and manage the rural TVWS network and eventually train members of the community to manage and maintain the network.