A small island in the Indian Ocean is aiming to be the first completely wireless country.
Mauritius, which covers 2,000 square kilometres and has a population of 1.2m, is on the way to having wireless internet access across the whole island. The project is being run by ADB Networks which is treating it as a pilot for future African networks.
Government support for the project has brought investment from IT firms including Microsoft and Oracle. The government is also supporting training schemes which have already taught basic IT skills to 37,000 Mauritians. It has backed investment in the Cyber Tower - a twelve storey monster in Cybercity designed to "utilise the sunshine features of the Mauritian environment." More on Cyber Tower here.
The network already covers 60 per cent of the island and 70 per cent of the population, by the end of the year it should be 90 per cent.
One speed bump on the road to wireless nirvana is Mauritius Telecom which is accused of behaving in typical incumbent style. Because the firm provides good revenues for the government it has been wary of exposing the telco to proper competition.
Back in May Mauritius Telecom complained that rival telcos were offering cheaper international calls - the government regulator upheld its complaint and made all telcos charge the same for international calls.
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