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A vision of Africa covered with WIFI

Paul English is the entrepreneur who created, a commercially successful travel website. He has a plan to provide the entire continent of Africa with Wi-Fi access in the hope of spurring economic development there:

English plans to kick off the nonprofit/for-profit hybrid this summer and begin creating partnerships between JoinAfrica and local African for-profit telcos. JoinAfrica would first branch out existing Web connections in villages using, for example, simple WiMAC hubs. Through these hubs, JoinAfrica would provide residents with free basic Web service, including access to email, Google, Wikipedia, and various news sources…

 Downloads of data-rich video, porn, or other non-essential sites would be limited (similar to what libraries in the U.S. do now), via a process called “bandwidth shaping.” Local for-profits would charge for upgraded access and faster connection speeds, and English is also searching for ways to make sure these local companies continuously improve the service and lay more fiber.