Broadband Wireless Access for the African Rural District
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This thesis have investigated technical and economical challenges for deploying WiMAX networks in rural districts of Africa. Africa has a fixed telephone line penetration of only 3%, which is a significant barrier for diffusion of Internet access using dial-up and DSL. In many rural areas of Africa the Internet penetration is close to zero. The WiMAX technology is capable of delivering broadband services to large geographical areas at low cost. In the thesis, the properties of WiMAX have been discussed and compared to other technologies for Broadband Wireless Access, such as Wi-Fi, WiBRO and different 3G telephony technologies. The situation for telecommunications in Africa has been investigated in the thesis. While the density of fixed telephone lines and Internet access is on a very low level, mobile telephony is on the rise, with an annual growth rate of 65% and a mobile subscriber penetration rate close to 10%. There are significant variations in the regulatory regimes from state to state on the continent. Regulations are often unsystematic and lacks transparency. Other challenges for telecommunication providers include the low level of income, lack of electricity, harsh climate and theft of cables and equipment. Ghana has been used as a case study, and different deployment scenarios using WiMAX has been investigated. The prices of user equipment and lack of computers will probably limit the residential uptake in rural, low-income areas. It has been suggested a deployment scenario for providing ICT services for rural districts in Ghana using WiMAX as access technology. The scenario is based on a collective solution, which implies the sharing of end-user equipment in order to reduce the financial threshold for low-income rural inhabitants to use telecommunications. An economical analysis has been performed for this scenario, and the results indicate that the suggested scenario is economically viable in rural areas where the population density exceeds 100 inhabitants per square kilometer.