Can schools be used as hubs to provide high speed connectivity to communities?

In collaboration with the Government of Uzbekistan, Giga has launched a Request for Proposals (RFP) for the telecommunications industry to extend internet from connected schools in the country to surrounding communities in a 1 km radius.

Schools are usually pivotal for community interaction; they serve not only as a place where learners can connect with each other and with teachers, but also as a communal destination where people can meet and engage in social activities. By design, schools are population hotspots at certain times of day, so Giga is exploring how  they can become hubs for high-speed connectivity and provide valuable services to empower unconnected communities.  

This is the fourth procurement process launched by Giga, after Kenya, Rwanda, and Kazakhstan, and the second in Central Asia. The objective of this RFP is to identify the most cost-effective, reliable technologies and sustainable business models to redistribute connectivity from schools to the community.  

Leveraging the fiber-optic connections available to schools in Uzbekistan, Giga is asking the industry to provide, at a minimum, downlink channel capacity of at least 40 Mbps per school—at least 20 Mbps of which will be dedicated to school traffic exclusively or on a priority basis, and at least 20 Mbps will be distributed for the needs of the local community in at least a 1 km radius. 

This Giga Accelerate prototype will monitor daily the speed and quality of the connectivity that schools and communities receive, informing the Ministry of Public Education’s decision-making process to continue rolling out its connectivity program. 

Lessons and insights from this prototype will be used to inform efforts aimed at connecting more schools in Uzbekistan and across other Central Asian countries.

Solution providers are encouraged to submit their applications through the links below
by 21 July 2021, 6:00PM Tashkent time:

A bid conference for interested service providers will be held online on 23 June 2021 at 10:00AM Tashkent time: 

More about Giga: 

Giga is a global UNICEF-ITU initiative which aims to connect every school to the internet, and connect young people to information, opportunity and choice.  

Giga aims to expand broadband connectivity through its focus on four main pillars of work:

  1. Map: identifying the locations and connectivity status of every school and determining connectivity gaps;
  2. Connect: supporting the expansion of safe, secure, reliable, fit-for-purpose infrastructure to support future digital development needs;
  3. Finance: building affordable and sustainable country-specific models for finance, and
  4. Empower: deploying open-source digital solutions and ensure young people and communities leverage connectivity to reach their full potential. 

Through Accelerate, Giga is connecting the first 1,000 schools in partner countries and exploring diverse technologies and business models to provide broadband connectivity solutions to schools and communities, in order to fast-track governments’ universal connectivity programs.