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As the 4th Industrial Revolution (4IR) begin to affect the way we do our everyday things, the Internet of Things (IoT) has become the only available answer to panacea to our way of doing business, many internet service providers have taken this opportunity to help the industry grow by offering a diverse package that enhance both the smooth flow and the availability of internet for everyone and everywhere. BizTech Africa found out that one such company is a Botswana based company, One Wireless who wish to provide Free Wi-Fi ‘Blanket to Botswana’ and subsequently the continent.

Speaking to BizTech Africa on the intended blanket project, the CEO of One wireless, Rajit Singh said the reason why they settled for Botswana first and the rest of the continent later was because Botswana was one of the “densest” cell phone populated areas in Africa. “There are almost 2.8 Cell phones per person as of 2020 June. This means that most people in Botswana have 2 Cellphones, of which one is a smartphone and able to connect to a network.” 

He alluded to the current cost of data on the Botswana GSM networks as “one of the most expensive globally” while “the hotspots tended to fail when more than 40 users jump on board.” He said his company has therefore mooted the dream to WiFi blanket cities in Africa, so that they could provide free content to the African Nation on subjects like education, health, farming, how -to- videos, and artisan reviews. 

 

               

On the issue of the marginalised people, which in most cases this means women and children, One Wireless said they hoped to furnish the women and children with free access to their free content. “With our technology, we would be able to assist with networking a whole school, by simply WIFI blanketing the area. 

The awesome thing would be those children and teachers would eventually be able to commute throughout the city, go home and not break connectivity in the process. Any of our users would be able to access our network wherever it would be available at no extra cost than their package.

As we evolve as a society so does our education system. Schools in Botswana have leapfrogged from having no computers to each student having a laptop.”

One Wireless has also cited as a failure the hotspots that the Botswana authorities have encouraged and placed in most strategic places in cities and malls. Accordingly, they found the hotspots currently offered to fail when multiple users jump on and they perform at terribly slow speeds and at times to be insecure while exposing all the users' data. As a remedy, Singh said they hope with their blanket, users, will be able to stay connected as they commute from zone to zone, and even when in a zone.

“Our faster speeds and cheaper data costs as in most cases these days will be achieved by our state-of-the-art technology. That allows us to blast our users with greater bandwidth and allows us to have much more accurate control over our contention ratios. We also have the ability to host 1000 concurrent users with one Access point. Our technology is industry-grade and geared towards Macro WIFI deployment,” he said.

One Wireless offered that they strongly believe in the principle that, “Data should be a human right.” Apart from fixed connections to residential and business buildings, they believe the WiFi blanket will facilitate always being connected, whilst at home, work, or in between. 

Botswana has also taken a stance on city automation, in which most sensors and cameras are IoT enabled. “This means if they had access to a network, they would be able to connect and provide feedback without overloading the system resources. On eradicating the problem of last-mile connectivity, the blanket also caters to any scalable IoT business/ blockchain businesses that are reliant on a stable network,” explained Singh in our interview.   

Whilst the company envisages deploying macro WI-FI solutions to WIFI blanket, they do not intend to share any infrastructure with anyone in the process. “We will be hoping to establish our own infrastructure; however, our backbone will run on already pre-existing infrastructure that is available to us. 

As our focus is very different from our competitors thus so is our technology. Having said that, One Wireless is always open to cooperate and work hand in hand with existing solutions. We do not believe in reinventing the wheel and are forever ready to explore amicable synergies with other entities in our space.”

For many years the government of Botswana put in place its own policy for the ICT sector called Maitlamo ICT policy. In response, Singh said his company One Wireless has long bought into the government policy and they do support it. “We are completely aligned with the Maitlamo Government ICT Policy. We have already have attained regulatory approval from the relevant regulatory bodies so they can act. 

We believe our network will aid the countries vision and help catapult our society into a globally competitive, knowledge, and information-based society. He added that substantial groundwork has been done already. 

Explaining further that the company’s vision is in line with the government vision and they have already received regulatory approval. “We have carried out countless surveys and stress-tested current networks. We are confident our solution will be disruptive and game-changing on many levels,” Singh added.

In addition, One Wireless said, they understood the task they have taken on to be a behemoth one. However, they also strongly believe every human should be entitled to a limited amount of data for free daily. “We actually believe free access to data should be a human right.  Last-mile connectivity is a space we hope to dominate whilst upholding globally competitive fast speeds and cheaper rates.”

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