Wire Lunghabo James <[EMAIL PROTECTED]> wrote:
> However I would also like to add that many times when we talk of
> connectivity, we mean having probably a connection to either the
> internet directly or to the telcos etc. Has some one ever thought of
> creating a network of villages linked together probably through wireless
> technologies, enabling these rural folk to communicate with each 
> other and exchange information without having to ride a bicycle for 
> 20 kms. Eventually, this creates a mesh of villages interconnected 
> and one high speed connection probably links to the ISP or Telco. I 
> believe this kind of aggregation would prove cheaper and more 
> meaningful for our societies. Why in the first case should you try 
> and force a villager to communicate with someone in Europe when he 
> still has problems communicating with his in-laws 10 kms away ?

Wire you have said it all.

Even with these wireless solutions it can turn out to be costly and
prone to many problems taking the terrain and climate of Africa into
account. We have been trying to connect our offices with HF radios on
which we could transmit simple text messages. This is in Ghana. The
equipment cost us about $4000 per site and there were about 5 sites. For
the first year we could use the equipment effectively for voice
communication and once a awhile with text messages. Due to poor after
sales services in the 4th year we started encountering problems with
servicing of the equipment which was draining our resources. So we 
virtually abandoned it and tried using the email through the national
telcom channels. This is only available at the regional capitals and it
was impossible for us to link with our remote field offices where most
of our partners work.

To provide better access to information to these remote locations we are
considering using FM radio with a VSAT connection to the internet and
lobbying with the governments to provide at least a few lines to this
radio station to their major exchanges so we could share this link.

Because of the high illiteracy rate of the population in question their
direct interaction with the internet is going to be minimal but this can
be done through the radio presenters who will take on the requests from
the villagers, reasearch the issues over the internet and other sources
and then broadcast the findings over the air with some resource persons
to add some clarifications and make the local connections to the issues
under discussion.

I do believe WIFI and the other technologies need more research to adapt
them to the conditions and income levels of the vast majority of the
African population.

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