In the deepest corners of Africa, solar power is bringing internet cafes to those who were previously unable to access this seemingly mythical technology. In Zambia, giant cargo containers filled with computers and satellite dishes are now roaming down the dusty roads in the hope that they will bring interconnectivity to even the furthest reaches of the globe. All this is thanks to the wonders of solar power, as it will be juicing up the internet connection.
With low powered, thin-client devices known as the ZubaBox (a Pentium 4) other computers will be linked into the mainframe and the users will be able to access the internet from these points. The ZubaBox provides hosted backup solutions for the townsfolk who come to the containers looking for a way to speak to their family overseas and save their valuable banking information. With the ZubaBox, locals are even now able to withdraw money from the portable cash machine which has been installed on the side of the cargo container.
In order to cut down on even more money, Linux is used instead of Windows as this is a free operating system and when used in conjunction with the solar power it becomes possible to run the internet café at a profit, not a loss. An international business internet provider known as Computer Aid International supply these containers of hope at a hefty price of close to £25,000 although this is a once-off cost and the money is quickly recouped. Since the inception of this program, a wide number of changes have been made to the project, such as adding extra ventilation and fitting the satellite dish correctly so that it does not cast any shade over the solar panels. This is an outstanding program and hopefully these internet cafes will spread like wildfire across Africa.