Connecting developing nations to the Internet and cellular services are paramount to helping developing nations grow and create education and entrepreneurial opportunities. Peace + Freedom Services has partnered with Solar Ship to purchase two aerostats to bring such connectivity to remote areas in Great Lakes Africa with South Africa. Solar Ship is also developing solar-powered airships capable of delivering goods to remote locations.
“Solar Ship has been working with us for several months to develop the communications platform for Africa. Africa’s primary natural resource is brainpower, yet Africa has the lowest internet penetration rates in the world and some of the highest costs for data,” explained Peace + Freedom’s Director, Raymond Vokwana. The organization consists of entrepreneurs and veteran peacekeepers to provide peace and security services as well as communications, transport and logistics. “Africa’s brainpower economy can flourish using this Solar Ship aerostat technology. This is one step in a longer journey to bring Peace + Freedom to our region and unlock our potential, especially the potential of Africa’s youth.”
Other companies are also helping to bring communications to remote locations. Both Facebook and Google, for instance, are developing high-tech approaches to the problem. Facebook is developing a solar-powered, unmanned drone that can fly over a location for a long time to provide connectivity services.
Unlike Solar Ship’s airships, the aerostats are tethered in place‚ like a tower and include wireless information and communications technologies (ICT), like a cell tower does near many cities. But they can drastically reduce the cost of data and connectivity for remote areas since they don’t need expensive infrastructure to be in place to connect them.
“We have been working with partners in the Peace + Freedom network to establish financing and operations in order to connect South Africa with the Great Lakes region,” said Solar Ship Director of Africa Operations Michel Rugema. These aerostats are part of Solar Ship’s self-reliant infrastructure package for Africa, designed to provide African operators with the ability to connect with each other and trade with the world.”
Airships are like blimps and can provide less expensive means of transportation. They rely on lighter than air gasses to keep afloat and need much less energy to move. Hence solar power can provide propulsion. Currently there are two companies working toward solar-powered airships, Solar Ships and Lockheed Martin. Solar Ships has challenged Lockheed Martin to a race but so far it hasn’t happened.Tweet