Interesting links

World Mobile deployment plans

A lot of positive World Mobile news lately, including this article by CNN. You may recall that World Mobile (connect the unconnected) are tightly linked with Cardano (bank the unbanked) and will use the blockchain to faciliate operations, identity, payments and services with a similar model to the Stake Pool model used by Cardano.

The Tanzanian islands of Zanzibar and Pemba are about to become a test site for a mobile internet network its creators hope will not just revolutionize lives there, but possibly across sub-Saharan Africa and beyond. Only around 20% of Tanzanians use the internet, according to the World Bank. That’s low, even for sub-Saharan Africa where usage is affected by limited internet coverage and compounded by high data costs and low digital literacy. However, change could soon be written in the sky. UK company World Mobile is launching a hybrid network using aerostats — blimp-like tethered balloons that it says will provide near-blanket coverage across the islands.

In the initial pilot two solar-powered, helium-filled balloons will float 300 meters (984 feet) above land and have a broadcast range of around 70 kilometers (44 miles) apiece, using 3G and 4G frequencies to deliver their signal.

The signal from an aerostat — used as a low altitude platform station (LAPS) — is sufficient for tasks like internet browsing and email, says World Mobile. Meanwhile, construction is underway for a network of nodes on the ground, each able to provide WiFi for hundreds of people with speeds sufficient for video streaming and gaming. The network comprising 125 locations is scheduled for completion this year and the first balloon will launch in June.

The initial public offering of the rights to host 1000 earth nodes has sold out at the time of writing.

We know from Twitter news that the reception from discussions with UK operators on business links has been very positive, and World Mobile have recently hired an industry veteran from the UK mobile market to develop their marketing operations and product offerings.