Research & Analysis

Rural Connectivity Options for Microfinance Institutions

Assessing technology applications for MFIs in rural environments This paper informs information technology managers at rural MFIs about technology options available to them, with a focus on access bearer technologies. MFIs require connectivity to enable applications such as authorizing transactions in real time, synchronizing data collected in the field, acting as interface to the core banking system and supporting help desk functions.

Key technical attributes of connectivity services include bandwidth capacity, coverage mobility, latency, quality of service and spectrum use. There are several technologies that are capable of providing solutions for rural connectivity. MFIs should choose an access technology that can be used in all their applications, because this simplifies the client and server application development, and reduces the cost of the solution.

Commercially available access technologies include:

  • Satellite technology
  • Cellular technologies
  • Wide-area wireless technologies with limited mobility
  • Wireline technologies
  • Short-range wireless access technologies