One of the major stumbling blocks for the Ammbr team in our effort to extend broadband to roughly four billion people around the world is electricity, which is a scarce resource in many of the regions that we’re targeting.
In recent days, we have heard from members of the Ammbr community in South Africa about rolling blackouts throughout the country, which have come about as a result of the mismanagement of their state-owned electricity public utility. The blackouts are having a severe impact on the South African economy, partly because access to the Internet is impossible under these circumstances. The same holds true for many regions around the world where electricity is unreliable.
Roughly 1.2 billion people worldwide do not have access to electricity in their homes, and of these approximately 95% are located in Africa and Asia, according to a report from the University of Calgary.
The majority of those people that live “off-the-grid” are in rural areas (84%) and this is at its worst in South Sudan where only 2% of the population has access to electricity. In the USA, Canada, Australia and the vast majority of Europe, 100% of the population have access to electricity and such lack is mostly unknown except in disasters. In these countries the lack of Internet is also not a consideration, except in some rural areas. It goes without saying that this is a case of correlation and causation.
Africa has the lowest electricity penetration rates, as well as the worst Internet penetration rates, with only 36.1% of Africans having access to the Internet. The majority of its users come from Egypt, Libya, Morocco, Tunisia and Algeria, where 100% of the population has access to electricity. South Africa boasts the most Internet users, but energy penetration, despite their troubles, still stands at 83%.
The data is undeniable and this is why the Ammbr team has been working closely with partners that are pursuing decentralized electricity solutions such as Ubuntu Power and Illum Applied Technologies.
Ubuntu Power designs and installs power, Internet and biogas solutions in remote villages in East Africa. Ammbr is collaborating on developing scalable micro-grid solutions that work seamlessly with the Ammbr telecommunications solution.
Illum Applied Technologies is developing a blockchain-based energy-trading marketplace, MyVPP, that will give homeowners the ability to generate or procure inexpensive energy at off-peak times and resell it back into the grid at peak times. Ammbr is providing telecommunications expertise and a secure IoT hub solution for myVPP.
These collaborations illustrate innovative ways we are integrating power solutions with Ammbr to also address the problem of access to electricity.
Our flagship product, which caters to installations where electricity supply is absent, is the Ammbr Hex Mesh router.
The HEX mesh solar router is an all-weather wireless telecommunications device that is effortless to set up for last mile Wi-Fi connectivity. It has long range Wi-Fi or TVWS backhaul, is spectrum agile, and supports mesh networking. Furthermore, it’s setup is a simple plug and play process for people unfamiliar with networking and it includes strong security features. The Ammbr Hex Mesh Router can bring Internet access to countless people around the world who don’t have access to electricity. Catering towards those people’s needs alone will take us one giant leap closer towards narrowing the digital divide.