Econet taps Alphabet for light beam broadband in Africa

Econet taps Alphabet for light beam broadband in Africa

Econet Group tapped Alphabet’s Moonshot Factory for its high-speed internet solution to roll out affordable broadband offerings across its subsidiaries in sub-Saharan Africa.

In a statement, Alphabet detailed Econet will utilise its Project Taara optical communication technology, which delivers “high-speed, high-capacity connectivity over long distances using beams of light”.

Alphabet explained the technology transmits information at high speeds through a narrow and invisible beam, between two terminals. A beam can travel up to 20km and transmit bandwidth up to 20Gbps, which it claimed is enough to bring connectivity to thousands of people streaming videos.

The project removes hurdles surrounding difficulties in laying down fibre cables in challenging areas, which could be too expensive or hazardous, such as rivers, national parks or post-conflict zones.

Taara’s rollout follows a series of pilots (pictured) in Kenya which were carried out last year. Terminals were placed on towers, rooftops and poles.

Mahesh Krishnaswamy. Project Taara general manager said: “By creating a series of links from our partner’s fibre optic network over ground to underserved areas, Taara’s links can relay high speed, high quality internet to people without the time, cost, and hassle involved in digging trenches or stringing cables along poles.”

Econet will utilise the upgrade by bringing educational, business and communication benefits to its customers, said Krishnaswamy.

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