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IMAGINE Africa is a project of the University of Michigan Dept. of Atmospheric, Oceanic, and Space Sciences


  • Prof. Thomas Zurbuchen [1]
  • Joan Ervin [2]
  • Kelly Moran
  • Drew Heckathorn [3]


  • Google Tech Talk presentation - April 22 2008


  • The project involves three phases:
  1. lease access from INTELSAT - design and test stations and system
  2. launch a dedicated satellite - a simplified version of IPSTAR would take 2 years
  3. launch a 2nd satellite to complete coverage
  • A total of 41,600 base stations envisaged - 256k/512k connections - mostly solar powered
  • Backbone connectivity would be via relay stations in mainland Europe
  • Total cost ~$550m
  • It's estimated that each base station would serve 150 individuals.
  • System as a whole would serve about 6m people when complete at cost of under $100 per person.
  • Set up of base stations would not require technical expertise.

Mailing list

A mailing list has been formed expressly as a forum for ISOC members and the project's participants. Please feel free to join and ask any questions, share any experience or other information.

Pacific Rural Internet Connectivity System (RICS)

This is a more modest project currently underway.

The Pacific RICS project was announced by Dr Jimmie Rogers, Director General, Secretariat of the Pacific Community (SPC) during PacINET 2007 in Honiara, Solomon Islands. [4]
It is undertaken within the Digital Strategy and defined by the Pacific Plan approved by the Pacific Islands Forum (PIFS) leaders in Port Moresby in 2005. [5]


The system was officially launched during the 38th PIF meeting (15-17 October, 2007) in Nuku'alofa, Tonga [6]

  • A management contract was established with a private Australian-based company, Pacific Teleports Pty Ltd.
  • A design process commissioned by the Australian Agency for International Development (AusAID) validated the concept
  • Australian government gave AU$2 million to set up the system
  • The funds have paid for a dedicated 'Pacific hub' in the AMC-23 satellite for the lifetime of the satellite and two years of bandwidth initially.
  • 16 pilot sites planned
  • PIFS and SPC will provide a 'Network in a Box' kit with inbuilt wireless and servers at each piot site.


On April 30 2008 it was announced that Gaire in Papua, New Guinea, would be the first operational rural site. [7]

  • 80% of the estimated 9.15 million Pacific Islanders live in rural and remote areas.
  • the first subregional RICS workshop was held in February 2008
  • site will showcase SkyEdge [8] technologies adopted for Pacific RICS.
  • project is coordinated by local agencies including the Ministry for Communication and Information, Papua New Guinea Radiocommunications and Telecommunications Technical Authority (PANGTEL) with the State owned Telikom PNG limited as the general carrier.

Marigat Installation

In Nov 2008 it was reported that IMAGINE Africa Program in collaboration with Arid Lands Information Network (ALIN) and Kenya Data Network (KDN) installed a VSAT Internet link at a Community Knowledge Center in Marigat Division, Baringo, Kenya map.[9]

Eric Hersman ( interviewed Raphael Marambii, one of the officials at ALIN on the motivation of the project. [10]