A new for-profit start-up, Volo, has launched in Uganda with the aim of accelerating high-quality broadband Internet access in emerging markets.
Built based on years of field experience and designed in Silicon Valley, Volo offers a cloud-based automation platform for Internet Service Providers (ISPs) to deploy fixed wireless broadband services using radically low-cost last-mile Wi-Fi networking technologies.
Volo’s vendor-neutral platform addresses the true challenges and needs of ISPs in emerging economies making it easy and profitable for them to deliver and support affordable high-speed Internet access to the next billion users.
“Just like any business in North America or Europe, businesses in Africa and other emerging markets want to be profitable, and provide the best products and services to their clients. While much of Africa has some Internet access, what’s missing is reliable, fast Internet connections so companies can use the high-bandwidth products that make them more competitive,” explains Volo investor and telecom entrepreneur Jim Forster.
“Volo is enabling ISPs to use radically lower cost technologies to deliver high-speed fixed broadband, especially for small and medium enterprises, complementing mobile broadband for consumers. Higher bandwidth equals higher revenue potential.”
Volo’s first customer will launch a new ISP in Northern Uganda to provide Silicon Valley quality, high-speed broadband service for businesses and organizations in and around Gulu, Uganda.
As a result, these organizations and their users will have fast (1Mb or more) Internet access and the ability to access cloud-based business productivity tools (such as Google Apps, Microsoft Office 365, Salesforce, Quickbooks Online and YouTube) at prices and speeds that mobile companies simply can’t offer.
“With Volo, the future of wireless is here. Until recently, building infrastructure was expensive and time-consuming, making it hard for ISPs to scale and leaving businesses in emerging markets stuck with glacially slow connection speeds,” says Volo co-founder and CEO Mark Summer. “Now, Volo is delivering the tools and expertise so that ISPs can deploy broadband services in weeks, maintain lower operational costs and scale more effectively.”
Internet access is skyrocketing. According to The Cisco® Visual Networking Index (VNI) Forecast (2012-2017) almost 50% of the world’s population is projected to be online by 2017 and most of that growth is coming from emerging markets. Both businesses and consumers are coming online and using more data services than ever.
Despite this growth, the infrastructure to support this increase in traffic, particularly for high-speed users, is under-developed — if available at all — in most regions of emerging markets. Unchanged, this means new users in emerging markets will likely be unable to have the fast connections to access the dynamic cloud-based tools necessary to do business.
This market gap, combined with unprecedented regulatory reforms driving better access to fiber and lower market entry costs and new carrier grade last-mile Wi-Fi technologies makes it easier to start and scale broadband ISPs today than ever before.
Leveraging this transformation in the market, Volo is making it possible for ISPs to launch high-speed Internet services in weeks, not months, at a fraction of the cost of their competitors. As a result, Volo’s ISP customers will be more profitable, scalable and have more successful business structures.
How Volo Works
Volo’s cloud-based platform, to be released later this year, automates the ability for ISPs to deploy fixed wireless broadband using radically low-cost last-mile Wi-Fi networking technologies. This integrated software platform simplifies how ISPs design and manage fixed wireless networks, set up and provision services, and serve and bill customers.
The platform incorporates best practice workflows for emerging markets designed by Volo’s expert team and shaped by years of field experience. With features that provide complete operational awareness, Volo’s ISP customers can manage operational costs and deliver an amazing customer experience.
Volo plans to serve ISPs in 60 emerging markets that are on the precipice of massive growth in data usage, yet lack critical last-mile infrastructure outside the capital cities. Volo has begun raising a seed round of funding. Investors and advisors to the company include industry leaders from the tech, energy and telecom sectors.