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Avanti in solar energy deal to expand African telecoms coverage

Libby Barr Avanti.jpg

UK based satellite company Avanti is partnering with Canadian solar energy specialist Clear Blue Technologies to roll out coverage in parts of Africa.

Their partnership will help develop connectivity, particularly in remote areas not covered by telecoms operators, according to news agency Ecofin.

The agency quoted Libby Barr (pictured), COO of Avanti: “With Clear Blue, we will be able to deploy thousands of sites across sub-Saharan Africa, connecting a population that is growing by 2.7% per year,” she said. “We expect the remote telecommunications market to continue to take off and we look forward to being at the forefront of expanding rural network coverage.”

Ecofin said that, over the next five years, Clear Blue Technologies will deploy its intelligent solar energy solutions on telecoms equipment that Avanti plans to deploy across Africa.

The Ecofin announcement quoted Barr saying: “Our core belief is that everyone deserves the socio-economic benefits of a more connected life, and this partnership with Clear Blue will provide coverage that improves the life of rural communities in remote areas.”

The agency said that Clear Blue and Avanti hope to facilitate mobile network access to up to 400 million people over the next three to five years.

A separate report quoted Miriam Tuerk, CEO and co-founder of Clear Blue: “With only 26% of sub-Saharan Africa already connected through mobile internet, we’re looking forward to bringing connectivity to remote areas, where costs and lack of infrastructure make internet services prohibitive.”

Neither Avanti nor Clear Blue has yet specified the countries to be covered by the project. 

Earlier this year Avanti won itself a year’s grace from its lenders by negotiating a last-minute extension. Its existing junior lenders injected US$30 million of new capital, and its so-called super senior facility, which was due for repayment in February, has been extended, but only to the end of January 2022.