Africa is home to more than a billion people and is also the fastest growing continent. But only 16% of people are connected to the Internet. That leaves a huge population without access to new opportunities, such as a reliable channel to the latest news, a tool to join in worldwide commerce, or a platform to create and contribute photos, video, and more. This is true even in Africa’s bustling cities, such as Kampala, Uganda.
For the nearly 3 million people living in and around Kampala, the Internet hasn’t been as fast and available as it could be; online activity often sputters on pre-broadband speeds or unreliable connections. That’s why today, we’re announcing Project Link, an initiative to build a super-fast, high-capacity fiber network to enable any local mobile operator or Internet service provider (ISP) to connect more people in Kampala to a faster, more reliable Internet.
Project Link’s network is available today to connect providers to long-distance fiber lines, equipping them with near-unlimited capacity to build and expand services to Ugandans. By making this connection, we’re strengthening a crucial piece of the Internet supply chain. Some parts of the chain are already strong: undersea cables are bringing data to Africa’s shores and mobile providers are expanding services across the continent. We’ve now built quality infrastructure in between these points to deliver the speed and capacity that supports the latest and greatest of the web.
Project Link goes beyond basic access; it enables local providers to offer new mobile data plans or high-speed Internet for office buildings and universities, and support newer technologies as they come to market. For Kampala, we hope it’s a foundation to support the needs of a new crop of entrepreneurs and innovators: the media-rich projects of a successful musician, fast connections for local hospitals, or new digital learning tools for students.