You are able to see this page because I have walked over 2miles in order to get internet access from a public university (University of Cape Coast) in Ghana to post this. In fact, if you donate, it will probably take me a day or two to see it and reply to say thank you (Forgive me for that). You wonder why? It is because there is no internet at my home, nor anybody else in the vast majority of homes even in towns and cities in Ghana. As for rural communities in Ghana, be kind and don't ask about internet access. Save yourself from ridicule. You think my situation is bad to walk about 2miles to get internet access? Then what about those who don't use the internet because they have not even heard about it because they never used one including students?
Internet Access in Ghana (Africa): The Challenge
According to 2017 estimates, about 35.2% of the African population has Internet access (South Africa alone accounts for about 2/3rds of this). While Africa accounts for over 16.0% of the world's population, only 10.9% of the World's Internet subscribers are in Africa. People in Africa who have access to broadband connections are estimated to be in percentage of 1.3%. At the end of 2017, Africa as a whole was home to 17.5 million fixed broadband customers (out of a population of over 1.2 billion), a mere fraction of the entire population of Africa. Even so, a major part of these subscriptions were from large companies or institutions. In many African countries broadband connectivity is priced well above the means of the average citizen, while a lack of network coverage also acts as a barrier to take-up.
In Ghana, just about 34% of the population has access to the internet. The vast majority of these are via 3G mobile networks. Even though it is relatively cheap, there are capping on the data size, and the speed is really slow, and reliability very poor. The vast majority especially in rural Ghana has no internet access. Obstacles to the accessibility of Internet services in Africa include generally low levels of computer literacy in the population, poor infrastructures, Power availability, and high costs of Internet services.
The popular approach to solving the internet issues in Ghana has been the attempt to lay more fibre cable lines and the use of telephone lines. The cost of laying fibre optic cables for broadband is no joke, and limits Telco’s willingness to extend access to rural poor community since most cannot afford to atone for the investment needed by the Telcos to provide access. Even though the use of existing telephone lines seem plausible, the speeds provided by this type of network is usually very poor making the internet ineffective
TV White Space (TVWS): TVWhite Space is defined as the unused frequencies allocated to broadcasting services but that are left unused in particular areas of the country. These chunks of spectrum are left open as buffering gaps between the high-powered transmissions carrying broadcast TV to avoid interference. TVWS could be used to provide wireless broadband internet access, similar to Wi-Fi but over much longer distances without the need for line-of-sight-technology, to mobile devices like tablets and phones at much cheaper cost than current existing provisions. It could also be used as an extension of fixed-line broadband to reach places that aren't connected via cable without resorting to line-of-sight technology such as satellite or microwave broadband.
Even though TVWS may be new to you, it is currently been used in certain communities in the US and the UK and some African countries (see https://goo.gl/qc8E9x).
I am a young entrepreneur who believes that this is a great opportunity to help improve communication in rural communities and contribute to reducing (1) rural-urban migration, (2) reluctance of professionals (e.g. doctors, nurses, teachers) to work in rural communities, and to help improve (1) agriculture communication, and (2) education.
I know you wish that Africa progresses so that we get less dependent on the benevolence of other countries. So kindly donate. Even small amount will be useful