Dear All,

I am Meddie Mayanja, working for the World Bank Institute. I wanted to
contribute to the debate in the context of my experience in the ICTs for
Development and my current position.
> 1. Are high-bandwidth connections necessary, or even important, to
> making a real impact on development? Or are the costs and problems
> inherent in establishing such connectivity too high--and
> unsustainable--for underserved areas?

The question seems to put the horse infront of the cart. In development
work we do not need to put technology before the services/development
objectives we aim to serve. Its not fair to discuss whether
high-bandwidth connections are necessary if we have no specific service
under review. Take a case of a basic telecenter in a rural community,
high bandwidth will be a waste if they want to use e-mail, internet.
However if we are considering telemedicine, with high-quality image
transfer between a hospital and a health center in the community, then
high bandwidth is a necessity.
I would add that the cost is secondary to the function and
appropriateness. If we need high bandwidth for a health service as
described above, that's it---we can find the money.

> 3. Can information distribution centers (e.g., public access
> telecenters) offer a viable economic solution to a community's
> information needs, by, in effect, sharing a single high-bandwidth
> connection among many users, and thus spreading the cost?

We are working with a School-Based Telecenter Model for access to ICTs
in underserved rural communities. In the program that has 15 centers
around the country - Uganda. We had until recently one C-band VSAT
terminal that was shared by 4 School-Based Telecenters (SBTs) via
wireless bridge and access point--spread spectrum technology. The
model helped to share bandwidth that terminated at one VSAT as well as
costs for its maintanance. The SBTs have now switched on to KU-band.

Visit <> for more information about the
School-Based Telecenters.


Meddie Mayanja 
ICT Community Development Specialist 
ICT for Education Program 
World Bank Institute 
Tel: 256 77 502 288 

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