Konnect Africa Marketing Director Francois Boullete said SmartWiFi public hotspot will address the needs of the majority of the country’s population that lives in rural areas where there is a need to reduce the digital divide.

“With SmartWiFi public hotspot, people in areas not served by terrestrial telecommunications infrastructure will access high speed internet services through their mobile phones devices,” he said.

The new service, SmartWiFi leverages reliable satellite broadband network to enable sales outlets including retailers, hospitalities, gas stations, healthcare centres and schools to become a connectivity point and digital gateway to opportunity for the surrounding population.

He added, “Users will be able to access the internet from a distance of several hundred metres around the hotspot. Access can be extended to several kilometres through off-the-shelf Wi-Fi repeaters,” Internet penetration in the country increased to 19.8 million people in 2016 which is representing 40 per cent of mobile phone users.

The SmartWiFi hotspot solution comes with a simple kit which includes a 74 cm satellite dish and a WiFi box that emits WiFi signals around them. Users will access the SmartWiFi service through vouchers or mobile payment schemes.

The solution also comes with a unique local data storage system, enabling users in remote areas to access smart digital content free of data charges, including online courses and education programmes, sports and entertainment.

Mobile and computer applications will also be available to help support daily business activities. He said Konnect Africa is finalising an operator agreement with two Tanzania partners ahead of deployment in January.

The product was launched in Cape Town, South Africa Monday, as part of events to mark the beginning of a three-day AfricaCom 2017 technology conference that ends today.

Set up by Eutelsat in 2015, Konnect Africa aims to be the leading player in providing state-of-the-art satellite broadband solutions to telecom operators and internet service providers throughout the African continent.