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December 09, 2007

Blogging Nobel Public Services Innovation Summit (3)

Nomhle Canca,granddaughter of assassinated Chief Albert Luthuli (who won the Nobel Peace Prize 1960) addresses the Summit. Nomhle is American born (educated at Emory University), returned to South Africa, after a successful career in finance in Atlanta and NY, in 1993. She recently joined and is the CEO BlueIQ Holdings. Working in Gauteng in South Africa, she has undertaken the roll out of broadband services in support of community priorities starting with health care. The initiative is known as B-Link (blink) and while being rolled out in the smallest of South Africa's jurisdiction it is being conceived as a national pilot project. Blue IQ attempts to attend to the market failures that has missed 97% of the population that is neither connected nor in a position to take advantage of services enabled by the Internet.

The overall strategy is comprehensive from build out to adoption of the broadband technology and involves both public and private sector. The outcome is going to be measured by percentage growth of GDP.

Interesting, as outlined Blink will involve a significant emphasis and investment in fiber along with wi-mesh. South Africa 'leap frogged' a lot of the wire-line challenges of Africa by becoming a massive adopter of mobile phones over the past 20 years. Given the adoption of mobile phones, interesting that BlueIQ is investing in fiber and PC-based internet in terms of both infrastructure build out along with application development. She also noted that television set top boxes may end up being the endpoint solution. Perhaps these are synergistic opportunities between the investment in the future through fiber and wi-mesh along with the current generation and user base of mobile phones. The drivers for fiber-based solution appear to be based on a sensibility that next generation uses will be based on rich media and functionality will demand more bandwidth than currently available in mobile handsets. The investment currently committed to is 20 billion Rand (10m Euros) making it one of the more ambitious infrastructure roll out projects of the current decade.

Lev Gonick
Stockholm, December 9th, 2007

Posted by lsg8 at December 9, 2007 03:30 AM and tagged

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