Fast Company, posted on Join Africa today in, Kayak.com Co-founder Paul English Plans to Blanket Africa in Free Wireless Internet .
Join Africa is a project started by Paul English, a Boston-based software entrepreneur, CTO and co-founder of KAYAK travel search.
From the Join Africa site, which is a little lean right now, but has sufficeint preliminary information to peak my interest. There is a place for you to sign up for updates.
JoinAfrica is an ambitious project to create free, low-bandwidth Internet access across the entire continent of Africa.
The benefits to free Internet are increased education and quality of medical care, as well as providing an infrastructure for economic development.
JoinAfrica is being setup as a non-profit (led by American and African leaders) to create a network of for-profit African entrepreneurs who will offer two tiers of Internet service:
The first tier will be free, and offer basic email service (from gmail, yahoo, etc) and web browsing (wikipedia, bbc, nytimes, etc etc).
The second tier will be fee-based, and offer additional capabilities including audio and video, and high quality images.
JoinAfrica will setup partnerships with governments, Internet and mobile service providers, and local entrepreneurs.
The first phase will include setting up blankets of free wifi in areas which have existing fiber or satellite, and will include simple and secure billing systems to enable people to go from free to fee. Later phases will include financing of additional fiber to setup access in more and more areas.