[Via Satellite 12-01-2015] Eutelsat, Afrique Telecom and Wikimedia France have teamed up to kick-start a large-scale initiative to extend free access to French-language Wikipedia in Sub-Saharan Africa via Wi-Fi hotspots. The project aims to improve accessibility and content creation on Wikipedia for the continents “Southern” countries where there are fewer readers and contributors to Wikimedia platforms. There is also less content on Southern countries. French-speaking Africa is a priority action area for the Wikimedia France Foundation, as a complement to its Afripedia project.
Afrique Telecom is progressively deploying 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. Starting in French-speaking Africa, TamTam will be used to offer free access to French-language Wikipedia content for many thousands of users in support of Wikimedia 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 will locally host French-language Wikipedia content. The content will be updated regularly via a satellite link provided by Eutelsat. Afrique Telecom’s ambition is to roll-out TamTam to between 4,000 and 8,000 hotspots in the next two years. Eutelsat has agreed to finance servers hosted by the first 1,000 hotspots as a springboard that will also measure the impact of the service.
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