Aaron Sundsmo's call for low-cost, low-bandwidth email technology is
exactly what VITA pushed for many years through the low orbiting
satellite store-and-forward email system designed for remote areas. We
had wonderful demos using this technology, but, sadly, the technology
could not be commercialized on a for-profit basis. Efforts continue,
however, on a "humanitarian" basis. For probably $100K or less,
replicable ground segment (ground-based terminals) could be tweaked and
field tested (major development has already occurred). For the space
segment (satellites) we would either have to go "piggy-back" on someone
else's satellites (using the UK-based Surrey Satellite Technology Ltd
proven platform) or, if an underwriter could be found for about $3
million, launch a dedicated satellite.

If anybody would like more info on this or would like to offer
suggestions, please write me offline (and I will be happy to
collate/share responses with the network).


Gary Garriott
ICT for Development Advisor
Panama SURF - UNDP
PO Box 6314, Zone 5
Panama City, Panama 
Tel. 507 265 8168/8153
Fax  507 265 8445

Aaron Sundsmo wrote:

> I completely agree that there always needs to be a feedback loop built
> into any project. What we are currently doing is using a hub and spokes
> model where one site has a connection to the Internet (usually dial-up)
> and can email feedback, but this has generally been very expensive and
> unreliable. Where this is not available, First Voice is also using
> telephone, snail mail or face-to-face communications as appropriate.
> However, we are always looking for a low-cost low-bandwidth connection
> primarily for email use that can be used in remote areas throughout
> Africa and Asia and will not require excessive government licensing. If
> anyone has any suggestions of these technologies I would greatly
> appreciate it.

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