Kenya’s BRCK, Clear Blue partner to serve next billion internet users

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Philip Walton, Co-Founder, BRCK, speaking at a past CIO East Africa event.

Clear Blue Technologies International Inc. has been selected as the power service provider for BRCK, a Kenyan technology provider working to connect frontier markets to the internet. Clear Blue will provide BRCK with its Smart Off-Grid technology and service for a multi-year rollout of thousands of WiFi hotspots across Africa, set to begin in 2019 and running through 2024. 

The alliance with BRCK adds to a wide variety of similar strategic partnerships with innovative, visionary organizations and investors. BRCK’s investors include renowned entrepreneurs Jim Sorensen and Steve Case. 

Both BRCK and Clear Blue are also part of the Telecom Infra Project, founded by Facebook, Intel, Nokia, SK Telecom, and Deutsche Telekom. In all, Clear Blue’s technology and services are bringing off-grid power through more than 500 projects in communities around the world and are being sold into an array of high-growth market segments, from telecom to Smart Cities, that represent an estimated addressable market totaling $38 billion (USD) in 2023. In Q2 2018, the company saw a 192% increase in trailing four quarter revenues, compared to Q2 2017.   

“In the next decade, Africa will deliver the next billion Internet users,” said Miriam Tuerk, CEO and co-founder of Clear Blue. “BRCK’s innovative business and technology model, Moja, provides a compelling value proposition to both the users and the providers of services via the Internet. We are pleased to be providing the reliable, clean, low-cost power and management service that is necessary for Moja WiFi hotspots to be both functional and economically viable.”

In 2018, Clear Blue supplied its Smart Off-Grid technology to power WiFi hotspots at 10 sites in Kenya. The success of these installations led to Clear Blue’s selection by BRCK for the large rollout, which will begin with additional sites planned in 2019. This will result in an estimated $1 million (CAD) in revenue for Clear Blue in 2019, with order volumes set to grow in each follow-on year.

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Clear Blue’s Smart Off-Grid technology provides a low cost, highly reliable off-grid power solution, with automated remote management and control, predictive weather forecasting, and the ability to optimize systems remotely. Its extensive troubleshooting capabilities facilitate quick resolution of any issues, keeping systems running with unmatched reliability and long-lasting performance, while at the same time reducing installation and maintenance costs by up to 80 percent. Using Smart Off-Grid, Clear Blue will manage, monitor, and control the systems remotely from its service center.

“By 2017, smartphone adoption in emerging markets had grown to 42% of the populations but many of these do not have a smart phone contract, meaning the majority of citizens rely heavily on WiFi. Connectivity is too expensive for the average African to afford, which is why BRCK has developed its free to consumer Moja platform,” added Reg Orton, CTO of BRCK. “Powering these hotspots will be crucial to making this a reality, and Clear Blue has demonstrated that they have the best solution in the marketplace, both in terms of cost and reliability. We look forward to our continued collaboration with Clear Blue as our partner.”

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