" ITREALMS: Afrique Telecom partner Eutelsat, Wikimédia offer free access French Wikipedia

Tuesday, December 01, 2015

Afrique Telecom partner Eutelsat, Wikimédia offer free access French Wikipedia

The trio of Afrique Telecom is partnering with Eutelsat and Wikimedia France to offer free access to French language Wikipedia in Sub-Saharan Africa via Wireless Fidelity (WiFi), reports ITRealms.

This ITRealms also gathered the trio would progressively deploy Internet solutions over Sub-Saharan Africa in combination with Eutelsat’s satellite capacity. 

“Its “TamTam” service extends access to the Internet in rural areas using Wi-Fi hotspots for collective access,” a press statement made available to ITRealms revealed, stressing that it would be used to offer free access to French-language Wikipedia content for many thousands of users. 

This initiative, starting in French-speaking Africa, supports Wikimédia France’s strategy to promote free access to educational content, in particular through Wikipedia.

In order to offer free, unlimited access, Afrique Telecom has developed a server located at “TamTam” hotspots that would locally host French-language Wikipedia content. The content would be updated regularly via a satellite link provided by Eutelsat.

ITRealms reports that Afrique Telecom’s ambition is to roll-out “TamTam” between 4000 and 8000 hotspots in the next two years, while Eutelsat has agreed to finance servers hosted by the first 1,000 hotspots as a springboard that will further measure the impact of the service.

The Wikimedia movement has made a priority of improving accessibility and content creation on Wikipedia for so-called “Southern” countries. There is still a large gap between Northern and Southern countries in terms of the number of readers and contributors to Wikimedia platforms as well as content on Southern countries. French-speaking Africa is a priority action area for the Wikimédia France Foundation, as a complement to its Afripédia project.

Uj Dominic/GEE with additional report from APO

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