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The European Union set out a clear vision for Europe to work towards before 2010 in the Lisbon agenda. This vision makes clear that the deployment of new Information and Communications Technology (ICT) is crucial for the economic future of all countries in Europe. For developing nations, with little or no existing ICT infrastructure, this vision is equally valid, as deployment of ICT becomes even more important to ensure economic progress. LinkNet endeavours to bring innovative ICT deployment to rural areas in Zambia.

For areas that have no communications infrastructure, LinkNet will improve the future of rural areas in Zambia by providing telecommunications with internet. The key idea is simple, take sea containers normally used for shipping goods, place them in a rural area and then using wireless technologies to connect them to the internet. VSAT is the technology used, meaning Very Small Aperture Terminal which is an earthbound station that communicates with a satellite. This simple solution bypasses the need for massive (and long-term) investments in copper wires or glass fibres in the ground, and does not need mobile phone masts. LinkNet plans to take initially small but feasible steps, and then subsequently larger steps. LinkNet has already rolled out its first ‘proof-of-concept’ technologies in rural Macha, in the Southern Province of Zambia.

The roll-out of the LinkNet concept will offer rural Zambians a chance to communicate outside their own villages, provide new employment possibilities for villagers, support rural institutions in their communications needs such as schools, hospitals and churches, and support schoolchildren who cannot afford schoolbooks in their education by offering them access to the internet.

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