- Huawei helps bridge the digital gap in African rural areas since 2017
- The RuralStar solution provides network coverage to more than 40 million people
Huawei released RuralStar, which connects rural areas to cost-effective mobile broadband and voice services, two years ago. RuralStar has been rolled out in over 20 emerging countries, including Ghana, Nigeria, Kenya and Algeria.
These countries have large rural populations who lack connectivity. The benefits of being connected are far-reaching, from access to telemedicine, to online education and increased social capital. All of these can bolster economies.
In Kenya, only 22% of the population of 48 million have access to the internet, largely due to the high cost of building infrastructure in remote areas.
Instead of the traditional and expensive tower-mounted stations, RuralStar works off a simplified base station. The transmission technology – called non-line-of-sight (NLOS) – protects the signal transmission from obstructions. This eliminates the need for the stations to be higher than buildings and trees, and so tall towers are no longer necessary. The RuralStar base stations can be mounted on anything, such as a simple pole. This innovative solution provides coverage with a range of 60km and in excess of 10Mbit/s. The stations use solar powered energy, eliminating the need for an electricity supply.
After continuous development and research, Huawei launched RuralStar_Lite, a simpler solution with more coverage, this year. The RuralStar_Lite is quicker to install so operators can deploy networks at a faster rate while reducing their payback period to under three years.
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