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Getting the net into remote regions in areas like Africa

In reading and commenting on many of the posts for the Women Weave the Web campaign, I've been reminded of how much I take for granted connectivity to the internet through my smartphone or tablet - using the 3G network here in France when I'm out and about and using wifi at home. When I've mentioned WiFi in some of my comments, it's become clear that for many people this technology is simply not available and I was asked by Esperance Murohokeye what it is - so I though I'd pass this on (in French and English):

Le wifi est un méthode pour fournir une signal internet dans une maison ou une café que tout le monde dans l’endroit peut accèdera avec un mot de passe. Bien sur, le transmitteur du base doit être lie par un ligne téléphonique mais ca permet a plusieurs personnes d’accéder au net par le smart phone/tablet ou ordinateur portable. Je sais que Google et Facebook sont en train de rechercher comment fournir des signales wifi en utilisant des drones ou ballons avec des transmitteurs de signales wifi pour des régions comme en Afrique ou il n y a pas bcp des réseaux téléphoniques.

Voici un lien sur le projet de Facebook :

et celui ci va vous donner plus d’informations sur le projet de Google :

WiFi is the provision of a wireless-free signal (ie not a telephone line plugged into a wall) that connects to the internet in a house or a cafe where everyone can have access to the net if they have the password. Obviously, the transmitter does have to be plugged into a phone line but that allows several people to access the net through their smart phone or tablet or portable computer. I know that Google and Facebook are in the process of researching how to provide wifi signals using solar-powered transmitters on drones or balloons for regions like Africa where the telecommunications infrastructure is not accessible in remote rural areas.

As well as the links above that describe the two different projects in some detai;, here is an article from the Independent newspaper that gives an overview and discusses some of the surrounding issues:

Hope some of you find this useful!

This story was written for World Pulse’s Women Weave the Web Digital Action Campaign. Learn more »


kellyannaustin's picture

Women Weave the Web Campaign

Hi Fiona,

We're so glad you're reading along with the campaign! And thanks so much for contributing your perspective and experience. We went ahead and added your submission to the campaign, but wanted to make sure you knew that by checking the campaign box before you submit you can make sure that others who are interested in the campaign can easily access your contributions.

Let me know if you have any questions. I'm happy to help!



moshelbeads's picture

Technical knowledge

Hi Fiona,
I'm glad you've raised this important issue ! I hope African journalists would do a story on this. Here in Ghana most people are used to saying "wireless connection or wireless" instead of WiFi . When people go to cybercafes, they ask do you have "wireless". In third world countries many people do not have technical knowledge. Creating awareness and sharing online communities like World Pulse with others can help solve this issue.

Best regards,

My sister so useful, thank you for the information, what you said is true many people the technology is not available to them, especially here at home in DR Congo is terrible even I who speak to you the word Wifi, this is a new word for me and I frequent some hour connection. Thank you very much for this information, I beg you to continue to do


Fiona J McKenzie's picture

Liens en francais

Bonjour Kika,

Merci pour votre commentaire.

J’ai mit quelques liens en dessous qui va vous donneras plus d’information en francais.

Bien a vous,


Fiona McKenzie

Julia O'Byrne's picture

Great link!

Hi Fiona!
I liked your post and I think it's useful and true. I also take wifi for granted and am used to being able to check my email on my phone. Reading posts on World Pulse about the difficulties women in other parts of the world have in getting online has been eye opening and enlightening. I liked your link and I really hope Google and Facebook succeed in making wifi possible through solar powered transmitters. I also read your profile and you have had such an interesting career! I look forward to reading more of your posts. I am also totally jealous you live in France. I lived there at different periods of my life as well and miss it very much.

Great post, and best wishes,

SanPatagonia's picture

"The" issue!

Great post, Fiona! You're so right about the 'taking everything for granted' part. The physical connectivity relies on so many factors nowadays that it's a pressing issue to migrate to alternative means, as the ones you mention in our post. The way I see it, it's our only chance to remain equal in access and technology empowerment.

Be a voice, tell a story, start the fire. | Sé una voz, cuenta una historia, enciende el fuego.

Pushpa Achanta's picture


Dear Fiona,

Grateful for your candid story. Hope to see more from you.


ikirimat's picture

Fiona What an eye opening

What an eye opening reality, Thank you so much for sharing.

Grace Ikirimat

"It takes the hammer of persistence to drive the nail of success."

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