World Telecom Labs (WTL) has added a self-contained communication centre to its multi-award–winning Vivada (Village Voice and Data) system.
The communication centre houses all the equipment needed to provide voice and data services across a village – and includes computers and IP phones that can be used by residents.
With an entry-level price point of just US$1450 per village, the new Vivada C3 system has been specifically designed to enable commercially sustainable networks to be rolled-out in thousands more communities across rural and semi-urban areas in Africa.
For local entrepreneurs, Vivada C3 provides all the hardware and software they need to establish a rural telecoms business – and sell a variety of tech-enabled services and other products.
For existing operators and ISPs, Vivada C3 provides a market-proven, cost-effective system that enables coverage to be expanded into areas where ARPUs are low.
Vivada has been deployed across Africa, winning multiple awards in the process. It has helped to unlock personal and business communications as well as allowing a host of new services to be delivered directly to the heart of the local community, boosting the local economy and meeting development goals.
Early deployments of Vivada C3 are being negotiated to provide connectivity to farmers and other micro-businesses in Nigeria while, in another Western African country, WTL is discussing the installation of Vivada C3 in administrative districts to enable e-Government initiatives including voter registration.
The Vivada Community Communication Centre (C3)
In its basic form, Vivada C3 includes a Wi-Fi Hotspot, backhaul optimisation, VoIP compression and provisioning software, The entire system runs on less than 100W which can be supplied by solar with battery back-up, ensuring that the solution is sustainable.
It also includes 2 PCs for a cyber café and 2 IP phones for pre-paid calling, while billing is cloud-based and enables the village service provider to bill immediately for data and voice minutes.
Beyond the entry level, a whole range of options are possible, including adding masts to allow the centre to become a small 2G or 4G mobile cell.
The building that houses Vivada and acts as the communication centre is 12m2. It comes flat-packed to make delivery to the villages easier, is lightweight and easy to assemble. It has ventilation, two solar panels on the roof and two windows with security bars.
WTL helps the owners of rural networks to source the most effective backhaul network for Vivada C3 over satellite, microwave, TV White Space or fibre.
The Vivada Rural Village Ecosystem
This includes all the infrastructure and software to provide power, water and telecoms in a village. In some cases, entrepreneurs are buying the entire system so that they can offer the essential utilities that their friends and neighbours need and want including:
This is used to run the telco equipment and can also be connected to a mini-grid to provide power to homes and businesses living off-grid or in areas with unreliable grid supplies.
WTL has partnered with eWATERpay to extend the water supply to villages and install taps. People can pre-pay for water using cash or mobile money and water credit can also be purchased and shared by government (to schools and health clinics) or urban diaspora (to family).
Leigh Smith, MD of WTL, said “We know from talking to a range of stakeholders – satellite companies, service providers, NGOs and regulators – that getting the first infrastructure foothold into remote communities has been really tough.
By bringing the costs of an entry level Point-of-Presence down, and making it as easy to deploy as possible, we are removing the major barriers to entry”.