1. A newly founded startup – e-Mbizo Solutions – plans to offer free internet access through Wi-Fi in South Africa. What is the catch? Apparently, there is none, apart from limiting the bandwidth to about 7 GB per month, more data than what most of us get with our cellular plans. CEO Thabo Malebadi wants to keep the business profitable by also offering uncapped internet access to the area residents.
This is great news for the people living in Gauteng, a South African province that has an area of over 7,000 square miles because they will be the first ones to benefit from free internet access. Since we are talking Wi-Fi internet access here, it is obvious that the connection speed can vary a lot, depending on the actual location. Nevertheless, it is quite easy to improve the strength of the signal by adding an external antenna. Use an RP-SMA cable to connect the antenna to the network card in your laptop, computer, etc.., so that you can place the antenna in the best position.
2. If you thought that e-Mbizo Solutions’ idea is unique, you will be surprised to find out about Outernet, a startup in New York that wants to offer everyone free internet access. Yes, you read that right: according to Outernet, every person in the world should get unrestricted access to the internet without having to pay a dime for it.
The plan is to launch several hundreds of inexpensive satellites on the Earth’s orbit, thus providing internet to the entire Earth population, bypassing local censorship and offering the long sought after privacy.
It is an ambitious plan indeed because the price of data is quite big in many countries. Since implementing the initial phase of the plan requires an eight-figure investment in U.S. dollars, a crowdfunding initiative has already begun. If all goes well, we could see the first CubeSat satellite being launched sometime next year.
3. WiFi Plug, a startup that specializes in creating remote-controlled devices, launched its WiFi Plug, which is competing with Belkin’s WeMo Switch, at the end of 2013. The new product iteration, which has hit the market a few days ago, has fixed some of the early launch problems, simplifying the installation process.
The plug can be controlled through a free Android or iOS app; make sure to download the latest version, though, as there are a few other application versions floating around in the app stores, and they are not compatible with the second version of the WiFi Plug.
You can name the remote devices according to your preferences; you can have “Lights”, “Heater”, etc controls, for example. And while you can’t control several devices using a single plug, it is good to know that the application can control up to 10 different devices.