Did you know that Africans pay almost 100% more than anywhere else in the world to access fast internet? Quite disturbing, right? This is no exaggeration.

According to a report by Alliance for Affordable Internet, 1GB of mobile data is priced at 8% of an average income in Africa. This is at just 2.7% in the Americas and 1.5% in Asia.

Even as the price of a smartphone has become increasingly affordable, the cost of accessing the internet is out of reach for tens of millions of Africans. The number of ISP subscriptions, overall number of hosts, IXP-traffic, and overall available bandwidth all indicate that Africa is way behind the "digital divide".

Several reports about internet this year show that it is becoming cheaper for Asia and Europe but not for Africa. Africa, sadly has the most expensive mobile data, both in real and income-relative terms.

The higher price Africans pay for internet leads the average-income African to painfully forego the service. Internet users in Africa in 2017 sit at about 21.8% of the population, while internet users in Europe were at 79.6%, Africa still has such a long way to go!

Several reports about internet this year show that it is becoming cheaper for Asia and Europe but not for Africa. Africa, sadly has the most expensive mobile data, both in real and income-relative terms.

The higher price Africans pay for internet leads the average-income African to painfully forego the service. Internet users in Africa in 2017 sit at about 21.8% of the population, while internet users in Europe were at 79.6%, Africa still has such a long way to go!

What is the cause?

Africa is massive. Internet and telecommunication infrastructure is expensive. Income in Africa does not warrant massive expenditure.

For landlocked countries like Uganda, Rwanda, Burundi, Zimbabwe, Chad, and Ethiopia, among others, bandwidth which translates to internet connection is delivered via submarine cables which emerge at cable landing stations located at specific coastal points.

This means most of these countries get additional costs that come with obtaining access to the same submarine cables through third party countries that have these cable landing stations.

As it is a valid argument that landlocked emerging markets have a bigger hurdle in increasing internet access for their populations, I strongly believe that it’s an issue of necessity from operators recouping their infrastructure investment to repay the debt.

It is a play of both monopoly and greed because if France one of the countries with the cheapest and fastest internet in the world gets that because the market is highly competitive with about seven service providers, Zimbabwe has about eight service providers and is still the third highest internet buying country in Africa.

What are Africans missing out on?

In this age, the internet has become a human right. It is indeed a right because through it everyone is informed, yet internet in Africa is priced beyond affordable.

Studies continue to show that small businesses who use the internet grow twice as fast as those that do not. Africa is missing out on the catalyzed economic growth that technological improvements bring about.

Why is Africa’s internet so expensive?

Despite Africa’s urgent need for information and communication technology, internet connection speeds in Africa are much slower than those obtainable in the developed world.

What are Telecoms doing?

Telecom companies split up territory due to geopolitical realities and to avoid competition which leads to artificially high internet prices.

Telecoms are rooting for their own profits, it’s even a high cost to reply to a chat, open an Instagram feed, or view a 20 second video on YouTube. Even worse, the service providers utilize the data even before you consume it with their slow internet connection.

What is the government doing?

The government is privatizing the telecommunication market and concentration on cyber crime legislation mostly to use it to prosecute its critics instead of solving the real problem.

Most recently in Uganda, the government introduced a social media tax which has significantly dropped the number of internet users. Even then, for most of the African governments, state revenue comes first.

More broadly, governments need to consider the wider impacts of their excessive taxation of the mobile sector. The cost of licensing, infrastructure, skilled human resource and importation among others are all passed onto the final internet consumer, which is highly unfair to the average African.

The Future of Africa’s Internet

Just like in North America and Europe, Africans deserve a choice when shopping for internet, this calls for more service providers that can provide solutions to Africa’s internet problems.

The business model needs to change and this is what NodeOne is bringing to the market.

What is NodeOne?

NodeOne enables anyone to establish a local micro-internet network and earn income through hosting the network ….. what  🤔??

Before I go into more detail, let me tell you about Nikola Tesla and the battle of currents

Nikola Tesla (Image courtesy of biography.com)

Nikola Tesla was a Serbian-American inventor, electrical engineer, mechanical engineer, and a futurist who is best known for his contributions to the design of the modern alternating current (AC) electricity supply system.

In 1891, Tesla unveiled one of his most important inventions, the "Tesla coil," a high-frequency transformer capable of creating very high voltage at low current. He built several variations of his invention. The most popular of his designs is made up of a transformer, capacitor, spark gap, main coil, minor coil and discharge sphere.

Tesla coil

Here is how it works; the transformer receives a charge of about 100 volts from an outside source and increases it to as many as 50,000 volts or more. The capacitor stores the voltage until it reaches its limit, at which point the spark gap emits all of the pent-up energy in one massive outburst, surging to the main coil, which is often built out of wide copper wire, generating a powerful magnetic field. The current continues to the minor coil which serves as a transformer, utilizing the effects of the magnetic field to build enormous quantities of voltage. At this point, the electricity flows to a discharge sphere that emits the current as a stream or an arc of sparks.

Battle of the Currents

Almost every home and business is wired for AC. However, this was not an overnight decision. In the late 1880s, a variety of inventions across the United States and Europe led to a full-scale battle between alternating current and direct current distribution.

In 1886, Ganz Works, an electric company located in Budapest, electrified all of Rome with AC. Thomas Edison, on the other hand, had constructed 121 DC power stations in the United States by 1887. A turning point in the battle came when George Westinghouse, a famous industrialist from Pittsburgh, purchased Nikola Tesla's patents for AC motors and transmission in 1888.

AC vs. DC

Thomas Edison (Image courtesy of biography.com)

In the late 1800s, DC could not easily be converted to high voltages. As a result, Edison proposed a system of small, local power plants that would power individual neighbourhoods or city sections. Power was distributed using three wires from the power plant: +110 volts, 0 volts, and -110 volts. Lights and motors could be connected between either the +110V or 110V socket and 0V (neutral). 110V allowed for some voltage drop between the plant and the load (home, office, etc). Even though the voltage drop across the power lines was accounted for, power plants needed to be located within 1 mile of the end user. This limitation made power distribution in rural areas extremely difficult, if not impossible.

George Westinghouse (Image courtesy of pbs.org)

With Tesla's patents, Westinghouse worked to perfect the AC distribution system. Transformers provided an inexpensive method to step up the voltage of AC to several thousand volts and then back down again to usable levels. At higher voltages, the same power could be transmitted at a much lower current, meaning less power lost due to resistance in the wires. As a result, large power plants could be located many miles away and service a greater number of people and buildings.

Battle of Data

Just like the battle of currents in the 1880’s, there is a new battle for Data which has led to the growth of big companies and the downfall of others. Nowadays, the more data you have the higher are the odds for winning in a market.

This led us to think of a unique way people with no technical know how to use micro-computing power to manage the flow and distribution of data to the community, Which make's it possible for low income people to make an extra earning in the process.

How does NodeOne work?

Just like any internet server, NodeOne is a combination of hardware and software which work together in the creation, management and distribution of data, NodeOne is unique in the way it’s independent from internet bandwidth meaning it can work with or without internet and uses mesh topology for the distribution of data.

NodeOne Components:

Access Point (AP):

NodeOne access point is hooked on floor tops which transmits an omnidirectional signal up to a 2km radius, supporting up to 2,500 clients, with a custom mesh firmware for all participants (nodes) to route traffic from other participants.

NodeOne Access Point (AP)

Backend:

The backend service server, running  the OS, is stored indoor which runs all the applications, passing the data to the AP for distribution.

Software/OS:

The OS, which is embedded is used for network management and for deployment of apps. The OS enables the NodeMaster to manage all the process on NodeOne like the number of clients connected, revenue generated and all the other useful analytics  

OS dashboard 


What type of apps run on NodeOne?

NodeOne can run all different kinds of apps. NodeOne has 3 default apps, which are pre-installed on each node, however, each NodeMaster can host any app on their network. The default app's are maintained and updated weekly by the team.

NodOne default apps.

1. Reba

Reba is a media app which indexes the web for any video related content and saves the data locally. The videos are served in a local environment after download from the web, meaning users in the same network can search and index the web without internet access, each video is downloaded and locally cached. This means that if the next user searched for the same video they will view the locally saved content, saving bandwidth.

Reba

2, Sema  

Sema is an app which enables users on NodeOne network to effectively communicate without being connected to the internet, Unlike how other traditional apps, where one buys internet data to make a call, Sema enables NodeOne users to do video calls and to communicate without buying bandwidth.

Sema 

3. Baaza

Baaza is a search engineer built to make NodeOne users  search the web to get access to dynamic websites. Baaza runs without internet connection giving users the ability to get free local access to information from the web

 Baaza


NodeOne is built on simplicity developer friendly, NodeMaster’s are able to deploy any apps on the network.

To find out more please visit Vuga