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Heroes Build Teams That Change the World

By Atul Bhatnagar   February 17, 2021

Need something done? Heroes will create teams that drive change. They face the digital divide and find partners who can connect over wide geography, economic gaps or the effects of natural disasters. When they don’t have all the resources they need, they reach out to others who are also seeking to help people. To them, the digital divide is an invitation to create.

In each of our cases this quarter, our heroes reached out to their communities and business leaders to access key elements of their solution and become a “wireless cord of many strands” that spans the digital divide.

We recognize their efforts to connect schools to improve opportunities for young people, connect businesses and industries in remote locations, and provide connectivity for first responders and aid agencies in the wake of natural disasters.

Please take a moment to nominate an individual or company who is making a difference with wireless connectivity in your area.

4Q 2020 Heroes:

  • Akin Marinho, FIAM WIFI, Nigeria

FIAM WIFI is a Nigerian wireless internet service provider focused on providing fast, affordable and reliable connectivity by building outdoor public Wi-Fi hotspots in high density, low income communities and rural communities. They commenced operations 2020 in Ajegunle a suburb of Lagos with 3 million residents. They now have over 15,000 monthly users and are rolling out another 100 Wi-Fi hotspots in Ajegunle this year with plans to roll out over 1,000 Wi-Fi hotspots across Lagos and beyond. Their mission is to connect 50 million more Nigerians to the internet over the next decade. 

Recently, forest fires in Oregon destroyed the fiber backbone along a 27-mile stretch that connected a town of 800 surviving homes and businesses. While the fires did not burn the town, all the residents were left without critical communication. Told that it would take four to six months to restore the fiber link, Geoff and a group of 30 volunteers formed Oregon Internet Response (OIR) and set about to restore communication. Read more about their great work in this Fierce Wireless article and this report from KEZI.com.

2020 Hero of the Year:

Community Network, McAllen, Texas – USA

The Mayor of McAllen, Texas, along with the Superintendent of Schools and Frontera Consulting, collaborated to deploy a community-wide fixed wireless broadband and outdoor Wi-Fi access network serving thousands of students. Design and deployment were completed in a matter of weeks, resulting in internet access opportunities for many students, faculty and citizens who otherwise would not have easy and affordable access. Find out more about this deployment in this Smart Cities Dive article.

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