Having become engaged in Fiber roll-outs in the US, Google is taking its new found communications expertise and applying it to Sub Saharan Africa. The Internet giant plans to connect remote areas of the continent using blimps and high altitude balloons.
The company currently has a pilot scheme running in South Africa connecting local schools. I’m sure that Google isn’t oblivious to the huge potential benefit being the first wide scale provider in Africa might bring in the future. Already they’re sourcing cheap low power Android phones to support the project.
The long term impact of this project is fascinating. Communication is one of the key drivers of prosperity. By providing easy means of cheap communication between businesses in Africa Google will doubtless benefit economies and drive change. The devil will come in trying to persuade all the various governments across the region to play nice.
From an ISP point of view, clever providers will probably already be in discussion with Google to see how they can get involved and it will be interesting to see what un-bundling options Google provides for other interested telecoms companies.
Watch this project with interest, it could be that you’re seeing the beginning of a life changing programme in Africa and the opening of a market with large long term potential.