Connectivity in Rural areas is neither a foreign concept nor an unrealistic thought. I recently attended a training on wireless radio connectivity facilitated by Israeli telecommunications giant Radwin, largely known for their point to point technology.
Radwin came to Kigali to educate clients and potential clients on their advanced radio technology, which delivers high-capacity, long-range connectivity at a price that Rwanda can afford. Radio technology allows installation of wireless infrastructure in areas where fibre optic cabling can prove challenging.
The radio devices are able to offer connectivity for a radius of up to 120kms at 200Mbps! isn’t that incredible? Imagine having such a connection in not just Nyarutarama, but in a far-flung area like Rusizi?
I wondered whether this technology would render useless the fibre optic but it was explained to me that the radio system would be complementary and would boost the capacity and coverage.
We are part of a growing economy that has proven to have exponential potential; it is great to see the advancements taking place in technology and being made available to us.
As an Israeli company, Radwin offers a wonderful perspective and comparison on the service delivery within Rwanda, as well as a stamp of legitimacy. As most would know, Israel is the home of major leaders in high tech and is home to the research and development headquarters to such giants as Intel, IBM, Microsoft and soon Apple.
Science and technology are extremely developed in Israel, which is something that Rwanda would like to emulate. Most of Israel is covered by desert, yet this desert has been ‘greened’ and is connected to internet throughout.
Rwanda being approximately the same size as Israel could borrow a leaf from the advance Middle Eastern country and use technology to ensure that all Rwandans become part of the ‘global village’ by offering connectivity to all.
I believe that we are well on our way to a large portion of the population being computer literate.
The next step is for these Rwandans to incorporate computers in their life and actually use them as a problem solving tool.
This is when initiatives as the One Laptop Per Child (OLPC) programme will come in handy.
Already, children in over 400 schools – at least one in every sector – have their pupils using these laptops.
Now imagine a Rwanda in which all children in primary schools have homework assignments that involve online research.
This is will be achieved. The technology and the spirit are present and in due time, as this momentum grows, we shall get there. Radio wireless infrastructure allows easy connectivity over a large radius and at a lower cost due to the fact that it doesn’t require digging up roads.
Recently, we have been blessed with 4G internet services, this is intended to eventually replace 3G and offer internet at a greater speed. This means we have greater and faster access to information and moves us closer to our goal of becoming a knowledge based economy.
But, we need the infrastructure in order to turn this dream into a reality.
Stepping back to analyze the current technological situation; we have a growing 4G network, we have fibre optic cables and wireless radio connectivity. WOW. There is no reason for us to not achieve what we have set out to achieve in order to get to vision 2020.
With all the hills that we inhabit, and all of the technology available to us, coupled with the learning potential of our people, Rwanda could someday become East Africa’s Silicon Valley.
The writer is a Communications and Business Development Manager at Balton Rwanda Ltd.