3air and Internet Connectivity in Africa
3air is an internet connectivity and telecommunications project that believes that onboarding the next billion users to the internet – people living in underserved markets with little to no access to capital, resources, or industrial infrastructure – will require fast, low-cost, wide-reach and user-focused solutions.
According to the UN, there are about 46 Least Developed Countries (LDCs) that represent a population of over one billion. These individuals have the lowest levels of internet access and typically have low incomes, poor access to technology and other resources, and low levels of economic and financial independence, not to mention low levels of technological and financial literacy.
About a quarter of these individuals live in Africa. They are highly vulnerable and have low levels of human development. Geography, population sizes, and incomes vary within this group, and other issues (such as user education and onboarding, policy issues, government buy-in, and high costs) make it difficult to roll out effective digital solutions to connect these people to the internet.
How 3air Is Addressing the Issue
The approach that 3air has taken to overcome these issues is by using a proprietary wireless point-to-multipoint technology to deliver fast, secure, and reliable internet, digital TV, and IP telephony access to individuals in sub-Saharan LDCs.
3air uses microwave radio signals and requires only one base station connected to the underground internet backbone to provide effective and reliable internet connectivity to end users. The base station connects to transceivers that are installed at end-user locations (such as buildings), and users at these locations can use standardized hardware (such as Wi-Fi routers) at their homes, places of business, or mobile devices to get online.
Only two to three base stations are sufficient to cover an entire city, and this technology can be used to quickly provide connectivity services across densely populated cities in developing nations. Trials in densely populated African cities with high sensitivity to price have shown that city-wide coverage that connects tens of thousands of users can be provided at a cost of no more than $10-$15 million per city – a fraction of the cost of providing equivalent coverage using fiber optic cables or broadband infrastructure.
Getting people online – and helping them to stay online – is the first step in bringing them closer to the financial and economic freedom they can enjoy using blockchain-based cryptocurrencies.
3air is built on Cardano and uses the Atala Prism identity solution to bring a wide range of income-earning and identity management solutions (such as payment handling, access to credit, and more) to users who are not served by traditional banks, do not have the formal documentation or identification needed to open a bank account, or cannot afford alternative options for getting online (such as mobile internet packages).
How does 3air do it?
3air uses a cryptographic token called the $3AIR token that allows users to pay for services within the 3air ecosystem. This introduces decentralization to the system. Also, since users can stake their tokens in return for rewards, they can earn tokens in return for running and maintaining the nodes and infrastructure needed to deliver and share bandwidth and connectivity.
Furthermore, by using connectivity NFTs – special tradable NFTs that allow users to buy, sell, and trade connectivity and resources such as bandwidth or speed tiers – 3air’s customers can actively participate in crypto- and Web3-based opportunities, all while being in complete compliance with local laws. Educational materials are also provided to ensure that all users fully understand and can avail the connectivity and crypto-based opportunities they can access using 3air’s services.
In summary, 3air first connects people with high-speed internet and then educates them on how to transform their money (local fiat currency) into crypto to empower them to transact online. The project also has many strategic partnerships in place with players in the areas of DeFi, SocialFi, and Yield Management, all of which will help users earn their first tokens and interact with others online. The platform also provides users with digital IDs that allow them to build credit scores, apply for microloans, identify themselves online, create custodial and non-custodial wallets, and join the crypto fold that is empowering millions more around the world and opening new opportunities for trade, investment, and earning on fair, transparent, and decentralized platforms of all kinds.
Initiatives such as 3air are helping Africa’s internet users switch from using slow, unreliable, and costly mobile networks, fixed-line networks, and/or wireless networks to using the reliable and cost-effective 3air network. Africa needs better internet connectivity to drive economic growth, close the digital divide, and lower costs while promoting inclusion and raising the quality of life.
All of these are possible with the internet and with the right combination of incentives, cost, coverage, and onboarding. Getting the right product-market fit while managing costs and quickly rolling out coverage to those who need it the most is challenging, and these issues are what have prevented many projects in the past from reaching Africa’s many unconnected citizens. 3air’s blueprint has the potential to bring about much-needed change, and it promises affordable plans, robust infrastructure investment, reliable internet coverage, and the right incentives for users to join the platform and start contributing to the network and earning tokens while enjoying the countless other benefits of being online.
To learn more, visit https://3air.io/.