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Brck: an Internet Router Designed for Africa

From VOA Learning English, this is the Technology Report. Getting and staying connected to the Internet is quickly becoming very important in Africa. A team of Americans and Kenyans have developed an Internet router made especially for the continent. They say it can keep the Internet available even in areas with undependable electricity and Internet service. The device is called Brck.

It can plug into an electric outlet, but it can also be battery powered. Al Banda is a blogger in Cameroon. He saw the device for the first time at an information technology conference in Berlin, Germany. Mr. Banda said Brck could solve a problem he has experienced. He says in his community in Cameroon electricity is not dependable. Also it is very difficult to get access to the Internet even with an Internet service provider.

Mr. Banda says Brck is an African answer to an African problem. The Kenyan-based nonprofit technology company Ushahidi developed Brck, after raising money through the funding website Kickstarter. Ushahidi official Erik Hersman says the router is able to move among Internet networks. He says if there is a problem with the Internet connection, the device will look for a 3G network with its SIM card. He says the Brck can be taken anywhere.

Erik Hersman says the Brck will go into production as soon as the company raises $125,000. Ushahidi has collected about half that so far. It plans to make up to 1,500 devices at first, mainly for Africa and India. Mr. Hersman expects each device to sell for about $100. The Brck could be a solution to Internet connection problems in Africa, but it could also find uses in developed countries.

For VOA Learning English, I'm Alex Villarreal. (Adapted from a radio program broadcast 20May2013)

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