11th Jan 2023

Connectivity and Electricity Solutions for The Gambia

In The Gambia, 4G is not yet widely deployed. Also, broadband data connections are generally unavailable outside of cities. Half of the population do not connect to the Internet and only 60% of the population has access to electricity. The affordability is a huge challenge for both power and connectivity.

With this background Gam Excel Company ltd and Karugrid Oy have entered into an agreement on the supply of community-hosted private LTE technology and smart off-grid solar electricity to the Gambian market. The aim is to bring affordable electricity, connectivity, and digital services to those unserved and underserved. The systems in the scope of the agreement provide a flexible platform for supporting digital transition of education and other public services in The Gambia.

The collaboration provides a good basis for the parties to continue joint co-innovation on methods for uplifting digital skills with Gambian partners and authorities. The platform being developed closely follows the IEEE-published principles for Social ISPs with the aim of making The Gambia a focal point for further refinement and validation of the solution.

15th Nov 2022

Introducing Social Internet Service Providers

The concept of a Social ISP (Internet Service Provider) has been developed by Karugrid, Poutanet and Earth 3.0 Foundation for accelerating the digitalization of public services especially in Africa both in urban and rural areas, and delivering services equally all the way to most remote areas and under-served communities. The concept was introduced at the Smart Cities track of the IEEE 8th World Forum on Internet of Things (WF-IoT) 2022.

In low- and middle-income countries, projects on e-government, and digitalization of education and healthcare face enormous challenges and often even fail. An underlying baseline reason for this is that most people lack connectivity and, therefore, cannot access the new services. Such projects may lead to even increased inequality if a minority with connectivity can enjoy the new service while the majority cannot. The closing of schools during the pandemic acted as an eyeopener: remote education did not work in the unconnected and under-served regions. Digitalization needs to be democratized and accelerated. That is what social ISPs are designed for.

Today, smartphones and mobile networks are the dominant combination for accessing the Internet - and there is no significant change in sight. However, the mobile operators are struggling when it comes to connecting the unconnected in under-served regions. They are caught in a vicious circle of 40% annual data traffic growth and flat revenues. Building capacity for keeping the existing customer base is far better business than connecting the unconnected.

8th Jun 2022

KaruICE Small Cell Power Cube - The Best Invention After Ice Cream

In recent weeks we have had many conference calls with people in various African countries. In most calls we have faced problems. Fortunately, it is not about disagreements, but about the participants in the calls dropping out. In those meetings, electricity and connectivity was "over and out" way too soon.

Inconveniently, electricity cut-offs are normal everyday practice in many parts of the world, especially in emerging economies. The network equipment also tends to depend on the electricity from the national grid. Local electricity production offers support and stability for these situations.

The KaruICE Small Cell Power Cube delivers uninterrupted electricity for off-grid mobile base stations - and the surrounding communities.

Solar-powered base station sites are not a novelty, but the smart off-grid solution developed by Karugrid is. It comes with a Karubox inside, which delivers intelligently controlled energy (ICE) for community-hosted mobile base stations. In addition to ensuring 24/7 power supply for the telecom equipment, it allows serving secondary loads such as lighting or cooling for the surrounding community or the host of the site. As long as there is surplus capacity in the system, the Karugrid intelligent control will allow all power loads to be served. When it predicts consumption to exceed the battery capacity, it switches off the secondary loads in order to make sure that prioritized equipment e.g., the telecom base station, is served around the clock – also in case of a rainy day.

15th Jun 2021

Karuboxes – New Product Category for Optimizing Off-Grid Electricity

Karugrid launched the new Karubox products a while ago. Karuboxes are smart controllers for off-grid electricity surroundings. Karuboxes are currently integrated e.g. with the Afstor Solar Home and Cooker system.

Karuboxes are a new product category needed for optimizing the use of off-grid power systems. Such systems are characterized by a finite battery capacity and varying electricity production. Electricity consumption must be prioritized and optimized in a flexible and smart way. Important appliances include e.g. fridges that should remain cold in all circumstances.

Fair, flexible, and optimised electricity for communities

18th May 2021

Karubox with Afstor Solar Cookers: Digital Services for Disconnected Villages

Karugrid and Afstor have jointly produced an intelligent clean cooking solution to be used in rural, non-electrified and disconnected villages.

The Afstor Solar Home and Cooker System (SHS) delivers clean cooking opportunities for people at African villages. The traditional way of preparing food is by burning wood. Burning wood significantly adds to deforestation impacting climate change. Collecting firewood requires substantial time and effort. It is a tedious task, which is typically left for women and girls. This decreases the opportunities for girls to attend school and women to be part of income-generating working life. The Afstor SHS enables and speeds up the transition from wood burning towards clean cooking with renewable solar electricity removing also the need for the unequal wood-collecting practices.

Furthermore, as part of the integrated solar-powered package, the produced electricity can be used for additional purposes. The clean electricity enables digital add-ons.