“In today’s world, to be unconnected is to be left behind. We don’t want anyone to be left behind.” – Dr. Vanu Bose, Founder of Vanu, Inc.
There are approximately 1 million people in Rwanda, and 1 billion people in the world, that lack cellular coverage. 3.8 billion people lack access to the internet. Traditional mobile network operators cannot expand coverage solutions to the rural population because it is not economical to do so with conventional cellular solutions and business models. The revenue per site is not enough to cover the operational expense. Through a combination of technology and innovative business models, we have developed solutions to profitably and sustainably provide coverage solutions for the rural population. People desperately need and want connectivity in rural areas around the world to better their lives and the lives of their children and communities. Some examples are:
• The farmer who can check the market to see where he can sell his goods for the best price
• A new mother who can receive via text message from her government or hospital containing instructions on how to care for her new baby
• Schoolchildren of rural villages can use a computer or tablets at school, which will expand their education and horizons beyond their rural classroom and allow them to stay up to date, and learn, about what is going in the rest of the world
• The young entrepreneur can use mobile banking to obtain micro financing to get her small business off the ground and contribute to the wellbeing of her family and community.
• We also provide connectivity to areas in the wake of natural disasters (for example, Puerto Rico in the wake of Hurricane Maria) where the network infrastructure has been either damaged or destroyed and cell phone service is rendered highly limited or nonexistent.
Access to connectivity can help members of these rural communities to increase their health, safety, education, well-being, and reduce poverty and inequality. The areas we serve are not desirable places for other network operators to cover because they cannot serve them profitably. Our different technology and business mode choices allow us to be profitable and thus sustainable. We believe that, over time, we cannot rely on government subsidies to provide access to these essential needs. Only by creating a profitable model can we ensure that the network will be maintained and scaled to address the needs of people in unserved portions of Rwanda and other countries.