Gauteng-based startup FibrePoynt is developing an alternative antenna-based high-speed fixed Internet solution for low-income communities.
The solution is being funded by the Technology Innovation Agency (TIA), an entity of the Department of Science and Innovation (DSI).
TIA portfolio commercialisation manager Sipho Dikweni says technology not only puts South Africa on the map, but also responds to socioeconomic challenges and the country’s strategic broadband imperatives to make the Internet accessible to everyone irrespective of their socioeconomic status and geographic location.
“Low- to middle-income peri-urban and township households can now connect to the Internet. The innovation will also solve signal strength problems and costs typically found with existing ‘last mile’ antenna wireless rollouts.
"The aim is to enable network owners to deliver Internet access to dwellings at a lower cost than is currently possible,” the DSI notes.
The FibrePoynt technology uses passive beam forming, beam pattern diversity and beam shaping to get the best possible signal to the home units, which then provide WiFi for end-user devices to connect to. This technology has been demonstrated and proven in the marketplace.
FibrePoynt enables the rollout of fixed wireless broadband network without trenching underground fibre in the last-mile connection to homes, thus reducing infrastructure costs by more than 50%.
Dikweni says the technology promises a cost effective, faster rollout and a high-speed alternative deployment of broadband infrastructure in areas where it was previously deemed unfeasible.
“The technology is not only backed by an innovative and sustainable business model but an inclusive model which gives local entrepreneurs skills the opportunity to operate and roll out network to their respective communities. Local empowerment is the critical antidote to socioeconomic ills. We call upon follow-on funders and network operators to support the full-scale commercialisation of this exciting and impactful technology,” says Dikweni.
“We want to use this innovation to tackle digital inequality, and a solution like HomePoynt (a last-mile connectivity solution) is more critical in our society as the spread of the coronavirus has laid bare the need to get everyone connected to high-speed Internet.
"This would improve access to critical services like home-schooling to a larger proportion of the population,” FibrePoynt CEO Eduard Walker says.