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Satellite broadband provider Konnect Africa has today announced its new hotspot service dubbed SmartWiFi.
The announcement was made by the Eutelsat-owned company at AfricaCom 2017 in Cape Town.
SmartWiFi will use Konnect Africa’s satellite network to provide connectivity to the likes of hospitals, schools and retailers across South Africa.
Unlike traditional access points that usually serve a small area, Konnect Africa’s SmartWiFi will be “able to access the internet from a distance of several hundred meters around the hotspot”.
It can also be expanded further through the use of repeaters. This allows SmartWiFi to be employed in non-urban areas, explained Laurent Grimaldi, the company’s CEO.
“This new WiFi hotspot solution is designed specifically to address the needs of the majority of the African population that lives in rural areas, where there is a need to reduce the digital divide,” Grimaldi noted.
“In leveraging the ubiquity of our satellite network and locally operated hotspots we will foster more productive uses of digital technology to make everyday tasks easier for individuals and allow businesses in more remote areas to expand their footprint.”
Grimaldi gives a few examples, including farmers accessing weather information, or commuters accessing timetables from their mobile devices.
“SmartWIFI comes with a unique local data storage system, enabling users in remote areas to access smart digital content free of data charges, including online courses and education programmes, sports and entertainment,” detailed the press release.
The company explained that users can purchase access to the service using vouchers or “mobile payment schemes”.
SmartWiFi will be available in the countries currently served by Konnect Africa.
Edit, 4.03pm: provided clarification on SmartWiFi’s payment methods and local data storage system.
Feature image: Konnect Africa