Data With Market
Intelligence to Unlock
its full power
UNLOCKING THE POWER OF OPEN-SOURCE DATA TO EXPAND ICT INFRASTRUCTURE
A government agency for international development sought to promote investments in telecommunications in sub-Saharan Africa to achieve near-universal connectivity. The agency wanted to provide potential investors with data-driven insights to inform their investment thesis.
This was a particularly challenging task due to the limited data available in the countries of focus. Previous publications offered top-down estimates of the investments required to provide internet access, but none provided fine-grained estimates that could further guide the channeling of investment efforts.
CrossBoundary Data Analytics (CBDA) gathered and cleansed several open-access datasets—including demographic and telecommunication infrastructure data—across 5 countries of interest. Using these datasets—which contain over 20 million points of data—our team built a model was able to map out the current ICT infrastructure, identify settlements that lack mobile and/or fixed internet coverage, and model the additional infrastructure needed to provide the coverage.
Using open-source geospatial and interactive visualization packages, CBDA provided more than just a number: our team produced interactive maps that can help to target efforts to specific regions. Our bottom-up estimate came very close (<10% difference) to other top-down figures previously published by organizations like the World Bank. However, our work provided more detail than ever accomplished before.
Our team proved that one can use open-access data and open-source software to deliver insights that can inform scalable impact. Thanks to the structure of our model and the crowdsourced efforts behind the data and software we used, CBDA is now able to replicate this analysis for almost any country in Africa.
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