Foundation Projects

Connectivity Bridges: reaching remote locations with high speed Internet services


AirJaldi used this grant to create a hybrid ‘WiFiber’ system that bridges existing under-used infrastructure, and adds capability and coverage to reach users. Officially signed on November 2021, the objectives of the project, entitled “Connectivity Bridges”, were to build a combined wireless-Fiber (“WiFiber”) network in the mostly rural state of Arunachal Pradesh, providing residents with fast and affordable Internet services which would assist with skilling and training opportunities for local community members and share project learning internally within AirJaldi and externally in India and elsewhere.

However, after preliminary surveys and project planning, the team came to the conclusion that setting up the networks in Arunachal Pradesh at this point in time with the resources available carried the risk of creating networks whose long-term sustainable was not assured.

Following discussions with the APNIC foundation management, it was agreed to shift the project to the neighboring states of Sikkim and West Bengal. The decision was central to ensuring the success of the project, which did meet most of its stated objectives: seven auxiliary networks were created (two are in the process of being developed as of the close of the project) with the support of three hub networks, 461 customer accounts, catering to about 7,600 people, were created. 11 people were locally recruited and became part of a team of around 30 people who maintain the networks in Sikkim and West Bengal, over 90% of whom are members of local communities.  

Most importantly, the networks continue to be operational and grow, even as the project funding is coming to an end, and the WiFiber model developed and tested as part of this project now features prominently in AirJaldi’s future growth an expansion plans. The model was also shared and discussed in multiple public forums and the company hopes it will be of use to other ISPs working in rural areas in India and elsewhere.