Project Taara, Alphabet’s moonshot factory and formerly known as Google X, has teamed up with Econet and its subsidiaries, Liquid Telecom and Econet Group, to expand and enhance affordable, high-speed internet to communities across Sub-Saharan Africa.
The first rollout of networks will take place in Kenya, and will provide high speed connectivity. This is the first roll-out of Taara’s technology in Africa and follows a series of pilots in Kenya last year.
“This technology and our partnership with Taara forms an important building block towards realising our vision of a digitally connected future that leaves no African behind,” says Econet’s Executive for New Enterprises, Norman Moyo.
Test runs have been done in Kenya by Liquid Telecom and X since 2019. Seeing that the geography is highly dangerous and complicated with rivers, and vast stretches of wild land along with conflict zones, it was thought prudent.
This included testing across the waters between Mombasa Old Town and Diani in Kwale County, Kenya to bring high-speed bandwidth to communities on the South Coast.
Nic Rudnick, Liquid Telecom’s CEO says “Liquid Telecom has always been an early adopter of leading-edge technologies that support the Econet mission of using technology to empower Africans for economic prosperity. The trials we have conducted in Kenya have shown encouraging results of how we can reach new underserved areas with huge bandwidths as well as increase our network reliability. Every time we have connected a new country to our fibre network, our investment into middle-mile infrastructure has enabled people outside of the major cities and towns, to enjoy high-speed data”.
Project Taara is developing wireless optical communication technology that delivers high-speed, high-capacity connectivity over long distances using beams of light. Taara is transmitted in a similar manner to fiber cables, by carrying data through light. Taara uses light to transmit information at very high speeds as a very narrow, invisible beam. This beam is sent between two small Taara terminals to create a link. A single Taara link can cover up to 20 km and can transmit bandwidth of up to 20 Gbps+ — that’s enough connectivity for thousands of people to be watching YouTube at the same time.
The system is efficient and less costly.
The signals need an uninterrupted transmission, hence they are placed high up on towers, poles or rooftops. The project is utilising existing networks where possible to plug the gaps in technology that the vast continent of Africa suffers from.
The team has called for more partners and interested entities in Africa to join up with them. Their mission is to connect all the remote communities that are being left out of the technological advantages that the rest of the world is participating in.
X Moonshot Factory has a lot of cutting edge technology in development.