K3 Last Mile, Internet delivery
Who is K3 Telecom?
K3 Telecom AG is a Swiss based telecom company. Their technology has been in the works for more than a decade and has been already successfully deployed in the USA, Canada, Spain, Czech Republic, Slovenia, Mauritius, Liberia, and Sierra Leone, the last one being a fully-fledged telecom operated by K3.
How does K3 Last Mile work?
It's an innovative technology but you can imagine it as a cable in the air. We wrote a blog post about it here:
How much will the internet subscription cost?
Currently we are undercutting the competition by about 15 to 20% while providing faster and more stable service without data usage limitation. The cost can’t be calculated upfront as there are 5 to 10x price differences for buying internet from the backbone in each country.
You said you have a working tech, is there any working install base as proof of concept or something?
Yes, the tech is installed and working in Sierra Leone. https://k3sierraleone.com/
We have tested the technology succesffuly of up to 2 Gbps delivered.
And how's your solution different than existing in price/performance?
Price / performance is excellent as we don't need to dig trenches and lay cables. Compared to traditional models we are more than 10x cheaper. Compared to mobile operators we need 5x less towers so we are about 5x cheaper, also 5x cheaper maintenance.
Read about technology comparison here: https://docs.3air.io/competition/general-broadband-technology-comparison/
Do you use earth nodes/ air nodes like WMT does?
No. We use a different system. We have already implemented a mesh network to cover some blind spots in Sierra Leone and it's working excellent so we are expanding on this and making it a perfect sharing solution. We for sure are not going into earth / air nodes system. When we become mobile telephony providers we’ll do it differently.
Read about our bandwidth sharing model here: https://docs.3air.io/ecosystem/bandwidth-sharing/
How you solve the electricity problem?
We are focused on the big cities. We don't see a big issue with electricity at least not on our end. Our base stations use 500w power so we can cover that with UPS and as we can cover a whole city with only 2 to 3 base stations it's also not a problem to have an aggregator present. The beauty of our technology is, that we have a reach of up to 50km radius and can connect 15k end users to one station. Not a lot of security personnel needed, not a lot of electricity needed...
How do you tackle the connectivity problem?
The technology behind is is quite revolutionary. The problem in Africa right now is that there are no cables to connect people in the big cities. And it's almost impossible to dig the trenches right now because everything is overcrowded. We can create a stable and fast link over air. We can provide up to 1 Gbps link through air. Our towers have a range of up to 50km radius.
Basically, how does the base station receive the signal to be able to wirelessly transmit that signal to the transceiver? What is meant with "last mile"?
So we connect to something that's usually referred to as landing station. It's where the undersea cables are terminated on land and then the ISPs/telecoms connect to and take over the distribution. A central office (CO) is more of a central office for telephone lines. Once we have the signal in our base stations, we don't need to tie into any other fiber. There is almost no fiber after where we connect to. We try to connect as close to our target point as possible, but we would take the internet from the same spot as any other ISP or telecom or similar and then distribute it through our own system. So our base station transmits it to the transceivers, from the transceiver on we can use any traditional installation if needed and connect to a standard router, modem, switch. We are 100% DOCSIS 3.1 compatible.
Ah, that answers it then. You’ll need existing cables (fiber or coax of whatever is common in that area of the world) to tie into the base station, but can broadcast wirelessly out from there to all the transceivers. Ok, so you’re not tackling coverage to areas without existing hardwired lines. That’s what the “Last Mile” part means. The cable comes to the city—>3air connects the cable to their base station—>base station broadcasts signal to various transceivers throughout the city—>city wide coverage
Yes. We are not trying to be the backbone. We take from the backbone and then deliver to the end user. We can bridge some distances though with our technology as we also have really low latency.. think 6-8ms ;)
I see that first country is Ethiopia - will they have to pay for the access to the internet, and if so, how much?
Unfortunately we can't provide free service and the price has not been set yet. But we can say already it will be lower than what the competition is offering.
What's the difference between 3Air and K3? I heard that 3Air signed a cooperation with K3 but I don't understand what's the role of which one.
Because of regulatory requirements the entities need to be separated. 3air is providing the connectivity platform with all the functionalities, K3 is building out the functional infrastructure and providing the wireless technology and local entities apply for licenses to be compliant. 3air is also not limited to K3 as the only telecom it provides services to. In the future 3air will provide services to many other telecom around the world.
Why does K3 need 3air if they successfully implemented their solutions in the past?
What we are noticing with K3 is that there is the need for blockchain based telecom platform. K3 did not yet use any blockchain in their system so this is why 3air was born. The separation is firstly for compliance reasons and secondly 3air will outgrow serving only K3 in the future. 3air aims to provide blockchain based telecom platform to other telcos and that's why it's important that the entities are separated. 3air is creating the platform and helping K3 expand and in return it gets the user adoption that it needs to provide value to the 3air token. It's a win-win in every aspect.
African people pay in 3air or fiat? For mobility services?
Both is possible. If paid in fiat the company will exchange to 3air and process through the 3air platform. The prices will always be set in the local currency for ease of use and compliance.
Read more on payments within 3air platform here: https://docs.3air.io/ecosystem/bankless-payments/