A startup funded by Talia Ltd. is aiming for the skies in its efforts to end the digital divide: London-based Quika expects its free high-speed satellite broadband service to transform developing nations by delivering complementary Internet connectivity to residences and affordable broadband to small and midsize enterprises.
Quika on Monday unveiled plans to begin offering its services in March, starting in Afghanistan and Iraq and later rolling them out across Africa, Alan Afrasiab, founder and chairman of Quika and CEO of Talia, told Broadband World News via email. Coverage will be based on the satellite footprint of Al Yah 3 and Arabsat 5C Ka, and is expected to eventually cover Angola, Benin, Botswana, Burundi, Cameroon, Democratic Republic of Congo, Ghana, Libya, Loesotho, Malawi, Mozambique, Namibia, Nigeria, Ivory Coast, Republic of Congo, Rwanda, Senegal, South Africa, Swaziland, Tanzania, Togo, Tunisia, Zambia and Zimbabwe, he noted.
"[Today] 3.9 billion people (53% of the world’s population) are still offline. The main reasons for people not using the Internet are inequalities in relation to income and education, as well as the lack of infrastructure, relevant online content and services, plus relatively high costs of access and usage," Afrasiab said in a release.
Ad revenue and the provider's commercial services will support the provider's free satellite-based service, Quika Free. Subscribers also can upgrade to ad-free content by buying "e-scratch cards at competitive rates, which will provide additional capacity at lower prices," Afrasiab told BBWN.
Other services include Quika Start, an entry-level, volume-based program for small and midsize businesses available on a monthly basis, as well as Quika Plus, a bandwidth based service for ISPs and enterprises sold via annual contract, according to the company.
Currently Talia Ltd. is the main financial investor, although Quika seeks additional investors and is speaking with several, said Afrasiab.
"Whilst Talia’s commercial activities are focused on large multi-national organizations in the communications, energy, [non-government organizations] and governments sectors, Quika will be strategically focused at the consumer and SME markets," he said.
Users must provide Quika with a deposit of $350 for the hardware, refundable upon return of the device. The company is looking for "funding opportunities to reduce or remove" that cost, Afrasiab added.
In a flurry of activity throughout the week, Donald (DJ) LaVoy, Deputy Under Secretary for Rural Development at the US Department of Agriculture, and his team spent about $145.8 million in the non-urban or suburban areas of seven states.
Calix reported revenue of $120.19 million – up 4% – in Q4 2019, putting a bounce in the step of company president and CEO Carl Russo and a shine to Calix's ongoing transition from hardware vendor to a provider of platforms enabled by cloud, APIs and subscriber experience.
Looking to curtail e-waste and improve the bottom line, BT will require customers to return routers and set-top boxes, although subscribers will not have to pay a fee when they receive regular broadband equipment.
Deploying DOCSIS 3.1 across its entire footprint gave Rogers Communications the ability to offer speeds of up to 1 Gbit/s,
contributing to a broadband segement that generated about 60% of the Canadian operator's $3.05 billion (US) in Q4 cable earnings.
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