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This paper presents an initiative to bring connectivity to rural Zambia using a collaborative approach. In particular, it focuses on a proof-of-concept Internet service that has been implemented in rural Macha located in the Southern Province of Zambia. The service operates using satellite terminals (for connection to the Internet) and a wireless local area network. The provision of Internet access has enabled local health institutes to operate more effectively and given local people the opportunity to communicate and explore new ideas. It has also created new employment opportunities and generated several projects including a data entry service and a sunflower farming initiative. Being a rural area, several problems hamper progress including frequent electricity outages and the exorbitant cost of bandwidth. International collaboration has been established between LinkNet, the Meraka Institute (South Africa), TNO (Netherlands) and the global research alliance. With its partners, LinkNet addresses the main challenges through applied research and innovation and targets an upscaling of its activities throughout rural Zambia and beyond.
Date of Conference: 15-16 Dec. 2007