SomaliREN driving digital transformation through research and education networking innovation

SomaliREN has launched its connectivity services in June 2018 and within a relatively short time-span has come up with initiatives aimed at harnessing the connectivity infrastructure and the organization’s technical capabilities to address the most pressing challenges in the Somali higher education and research sector. From the limited access to research and education resources by the students and faculty to the exorbitant bandwidth prices in the country to insufficient availability of qualified professors and lecturers in the science and technology-related disciplines, the connectivity and network infrastructure already deployed by SomaliREN is enabling innovative sustainable solutions. One such initiative envisaged finding a lasting solution to financing the already subsidized international bandwidth costs has created additional opportunities for all the involved stakeholders.
SomaliREN has introduced the EduSpot project to further bring down the cost of connectivity while improving access to both the international connectivity and local content. The project specifically aims to deploy ‘educational hotspots’ at locations densely populated by the students and faculty of the universities, provide federated identity services which allow each of the member institutions to provide identity authentication for their respective students and staff members, and promote the curation and production of local educational and research content.
Secondary goals of the project include driving bandwidth consumption by the member institutions as a direct result of the reduced bandwidth costs, which is a self-fulling prophecy as the increased bandwidth consumption leads to lower bandwidth costs taking advantage of the increased volume purchase of capacity. The EduSpot project will also create opportunities for developing the ICT skills and technical competencies of the students and graduates as the operation and maintenance of the EduSpot network and services require human resources that are capable of fulfilling this task.
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