January 4, 2021

ECO Program to Bring Internet to Rural Schools

SatADSL partners Avanti in its revolutionary ECO program to give broadband access to African schoolsSatADSL will provide technologies and equipments to bring the Internet to thousands of rural schools and communities via satellite.

ESA is funding the project for the next 5 years, aiming to reach 500.000 communities in Africa located beyond the reach of fiber wires. Though the word ‘eco’ is normally linked to organic food and products, it will soon have another prominent meaning.

Every Child Online

At least in Africa, from now on ECO will be linked to quality education and Internet access: ECO stands for ‘Every Child Online’ and it’s the name of Avanti’s promising program to give broadband access via satellite to thousands of schools and rural communities in Africa.

ECO program was officially launched last week by British satellite operator Avanti, who will lead the project partnering with other companies and providers.One of these key partners is SatADSL, who will provide its Internet via satellite technologies. Another Belgian company, Newtec, will also participate in ECO supplying the ground infrastructure.

How does ECO work?

But what is ECO and how does it work? ECO is a reliable and sustainable solution to bring Internet access and Wi-Fi hotspots to hundreds of schools and communities in Africa located beyond the reach of fiber broadband.Participating schools will install some simple equipment provided by SatADSL to connect to Avanti’s Hylas satellite.They will also install a small antenna to spread the signal as a Wi-Fi. Then, any person or commerce near the school will be able to connect using the ECO mobile app. Within this app, they can buy ECO broadband credits which convert to data usage to browse the Internet. The top-ups of the users will be used to subsidize the school’s broadband.So this way, the school will have quality, satellite Internet access, and at the same time will work as a WiFi hotspot from which any neighbour, local commerce or merchant will be able to connect as well.

ECO is fully sustainable

The system is fully sustainable, as it doesn’t even require electric power: the WiFi hotspots will include solar panels that will supply the power.The technology that SatADSL will provide for the ECO program is the same IP connectivity via satellite that the company is being used during past years in other solutions, like money transfers in rural banks or radio broadcasting through satellite and multicast.

European Space Agency fund the ECO programme

After two years of testings, Avanti has finally launched the project with the participation of the European Space Agency (ESA), who will fund ECO with up to 10.7 million euros in the next five years, according to Satnews. This collaboration is framed in the ESA ARTES Program.

Make the digital divide a thing of the past

Get in touch