BRCK: Changing Internet Connectivity In Africa


BRCK-KickstarterIt is in efforts to bring WIFI to the remote corners of Africa, Kenyan start-up BRCK which created their product, called “the BRCK”, a rugged modem designed for harsh environments with limited connection and power. BRCK aims to change the face of internet access and connectivity in Africa.

According to BRCK, the aim for their invention was, ‘to create a device that fits our needs, Where electricity and internet connections are problematic both in urban and rural areas.’ What makes the device notable is that it can hop between different types of connections such as Ethernet, Wi-Fi and 3G or 4G.

BRCK’s CEO Erik Hersman believes that the device has the potential to help millions facing the daily frustrations of power cuts and patchy internet as the device comes with eight hours of battery, crucial during Africa’s frequent power blackouts.

According to Hersman, “most of the organizations working to increase access to the internet in Africa are dealing with it at the infrastructure level, with satellites or undersea cable, with mobile phone towers.”

For the creation of the device, the BRCK team had to come up with a device that would meet the physical stature to survive in rural areas as well as to gear up for the changing way of internet connectivity.

“As we laid out what such a device would look like- physical robust, able to connect to multiple networks, a hub for all local devices, enough backup power to survive a blackout. We realized that the way the entire world is connecting to the web is changing. We no longer only get online via desktops in our office with an Ethernet connection, we have multiple devices, and mobile connectivity is crucial,” BRCK said.

BRCK Education

140930133600-cnn-10-startups-brck-horizontal-large-galleryAccording to the African Development Bank, There are 410 million school children in Africa. The majority have little access to the internet, thus BRCK saw a need for BRCK Education, an initiative built to help solve the problem of providing remote schools with digital material.

“There are certain industries that badly needed what we had built, such as education institutions,” said Hersman.

Just like gigantic companies like Samsung, BRCK created a digital classroom to help provide pupils with internet. BRCK’s ‘Kio Kit’ includes 40 customized drop and water-resistant tablets, 40 earphones, and a plug to provide wireless charging, all within a rugged case.

“It allows any teacher to create a digital classroom in just a few minutes,” explained Hersman.

He added: “BRCK deals with the last meter of internet connectivity in the bus stops and kiosks, homes and schools of Africa.