Congratulations! Fola Odufuwa has got it exactly right, IMHO. As we look
for what was referred to in some previous posts as 'narrowband'
solutions, the evolution of the mobile phone from a simple audio
communication device to an internet gateway may prove to be the answer.
While we won't get the speed of high-end WiFi, we will get a
cost-effective solution to support low bandwidth applications, like
email, along with access to all the virtual knowledge centers on the
internet super-highway.

This is happening, not just in Africa, but all over the world - in
places where traditional wired infrastructure is too expensive or not in
place. We've seen this happen in Eastern Europe, where George Soros has
invested millions to help civil society by investing in wireless
technology, and we are seeing it happen today in the nation-building
efforts in Afghanistan and East Timor. Go to Cambodia and see how clever
people are bundling multiple inexpensive mobile phones into virtual GSM
internet gateways that can support email servers and web sites.

While there is no one solution for such a complicated issue, often one
workable solution will help us to move swiftly in the right direction.

Bill Lester

William A. Lester
CTO/Director of Technology
a program of EngenderHealth
440 Ninth Avenue
New York, NY 10001
(Office) 212.561.8002   (eFax) 212.202.5167
"The Means to The Mission"

Fola Odufuwa <[EMAIL PROTECTED]> wrote:

> The only constraint to this happening now is two-fold. First is the
> limitation of GSM technology. GSM support for broadband Internet
> technologies, a key requirement to productive Internet access, is
> evolving at the moment. There is no clear-cut, globally acceptable
> single means of assessing the Internet via a mobile device on a GSM
> network. Whether it is WAP, GPRS, EDGE, or ETC (!), GSM support for the
> Internet is extremely weak. This is why bypass technologies such as
> Wi-Fi, and Wi-Max are in strong demand.

> The second reason is the poor usability of mobile phones as Internet
> access devices. But this problem would be solved and the Internet will
> soon merge with, and converge into, mobile devices. When that happens,
> the digital revolution in Africa would be even more explosive. Think of
> it again. The day you can conveniently use your regular mobile phone
> (and I'm not talking of expensive esoteric models as the Communicator)
> to send emails to your loved ones in the village and browse for current
> prices of cement (for instance), that day your need for the services of
> a place to browse would diminish! The place to browse would be right in
> your hands! And that day is not too far-fetched.

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