Google’s low-cost fiber backbone project, Project Link, is now in Ghana. The initiative has been providing broadband internet to Uganda’s capital city, Kampala since 2013.
The Project allows local Internet Service Providers (ISPs) and telcos to provide high-quality broadband at lower costs through its shared infrastructure. This is unlike Google Fiber which provides high-speed last mile fiber connection directly to users in a few cities in the US.
The project is rolling out from Accra, Tema and Kumasi and is expected to build 1,200 kilometers of fiber in the cities.
Google Ghana country manager, Estelle Akofio-Sowah says, “By giving them more speed and capacity to work with, providers can meet the growing bandwidth demands of Ghana’s mobile phone users, schools, businesses.
Broadband capacity in Africa has improved in the past few years with MainOne and Seacom undersea cables connecting Africa to the rest of the world. Bringing the connection from the coast to the cities, however, remains a demanding task and it’s one that Project Link is taking on Ghana.
Google’s project link is one of many others trying to connect previously unconnected communities around the world to the internet. Facebook is planning on deploying WiFi bearing solar-powered drones; OneWeb, backed by Richard Branson is working on low-orbit satellites that will provide internet connectivity over swathes of the planet and Google also developing high-altitude balloons, Project Loon, that will take internet to remote parts of the world. But those are still long way away from public deployment.
“We’ve already started construction in Accra, with Kumasi to follow soon, and we plan to start service in early 2016. There’s a lot of work ahead, but we look forward to working with local providers to ensure that Ghana’s local infrastructure can help its people and businesses participate fully on the Web and be inspired by what they can do online,” says Estelle.