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Kiwi company connects Kenyan towns to the Internet

A Kiwi company is using its expertise at providing fast cost-effective Internet to rural New Zealand to connect educational facilities in Africa to the world wide web.

Intelllium Technology provides IT support and delivers Internet connectivity to some of New Zealand’s most iconic brands.

Company founders Dale Daniels and Mark Taylor are now using their knowledge and experience in technology to provide Internet connections to four rural Kenyan towns.

“In New Zealand, we take the Internet for granted, but in Kenya it’s a luxury,” says Taylor.

The company is working with social enterprise Startle on the project, which works in Kenya to provide solar power to people’s homes. The new Internet connection will also use solar to power the equipment needed to connect rural towns to the Internet.

Intellium is experienced at using Digital Microwave points of presence to connect hard-to-reach spots in NZ to the world wide web, transmitting from metropolitan areas to high vantage points via microwave radio dishes.

The Kenyan Internet connection will travel 100km from the country’s second largest city of Mombasa to the rural town of Marigat and will connect another three towns along the way.

These towns currently rely on 3G mobile data, which is often unreliable and very expensive.

“This will provide more cost-effective and improved connectivity to schools and education facilities in those villages and towns,” says Daniels

Startle CEO Andrew Tanswell says the project will transform access to information in remote areas of Kenya.

“It will truly create a window to the world for children and teachers in underserved, rural schools and communities to tap into global resources and opportunity,” he says.

Daniels says a key challenge has been mapping out the remote area that the connection will travel across and leasing and securing space for the microwave radio equipment at the necessary elevation.

Daniels and fellow network engineer Brad Nightingale will travel to Africa to build the network this May/June. While there, they will train locals to do the build themselves, so for future deployments Intellium can provide the equipment and local staff can ‘plug it in’.

Equipment to protect the dishes from sandstorms, the same as used on Intellium’s dishes in Christchurch to protect from the snow, will also be installed.


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