GSMA has launched a new Innovation Fund for Rural Connectivity, aimed at expanding digital inclusion through innovative new technology solutions.
UK’s Department for International Development (DFID) is backing the initiative. GSMA will manage the rural connectivity program.
The innovation fund will provide grants up to £300,000 and is open to eligible companies who can deploy connectivity solutions in partnership with telecom operator MTN Uganda in Uganda and Vodafone Ghana in Ghana, GSMA said.
Funded projects will test innovative ways to deploy mobile broadband networks in rural areas, looking to demonstrate commercially sustainable models that can be scaled and replicated in similar environments.
“The Innovation Fund for Rural Connectivity will drive partnerships aimed at developing new ways of using mobile technologies to close coverage gaps in rural areas so that more citizens have access to life-enhancing mobile services,” John Giusti, chief regulatory officer of GSMA, said.
GSMA says projects eligible for funding will test innovative ways to deploy mobile broadband networks in rural areas, in partnership with a mobile operator, and projects will need to demonstrate commercially sustainable models.