Re: [GKD-DOTCOM] How Much Bandwidth is Necessary?

2003-11-28 Thread Don Richardson
Edward,

Would broadband imply a higher ROI? Not necessarily. The margins for
rural service are always tight. Every incremental cost counts, including
the cost of a basic payphone set. Rural ROI is highly dependent on
willingness and ability to pay for services offered. Rural customers are
very price sensitive. Where broadband has a real chance in rural areas
is where it can best respond to price sensitivity for voice telephony -
e.g. voice over IP... hence the importance of the regulatory
environment... which can catalyse creative technical adaptations for the
rural market if convergence applications are enabled and not blocked by
regulation. Look at Ghana where ISPs or operators providing VOIP can get
pretty hefty fines.

Don Richardson



Edward Malloy [EMAIL PROTECTED] wrote:

 Don et al: Given the low cost and availability of new wireless access
 devices, plus the steady expansion (and underutilization) of the
 national backbone (often fiber) in many developing nations, is the real
 cost of extending voice and data telecom service to rural villages any
 higher for broadband than for narrow band? If as I suspect the cost
 differential is not all that much, wouldn't then broadband imply a
 higher return on investment. [I am assuming, of course an ideal
 regulatory environment described earlier (market liberalization, open
 investment climate, good regulation (that supports universal access).]




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Re: [GKD-DOTCOM] How Much Bandwidth is Necessary?

2003-11-26 Thread Don Osborn
Njideka, This is an interesting initiative and the notion of scanning
handwritten letters is a nice innovation as it permits a more direct
communication of content.

It's not clear from your third point,

 3) The youth agents will have a customized form they will use to
 document the message(s).

.. if this means translating or transcribing.  One goal I think would
be to reduce or eliminate the need for translation (with the inevitable
interpretation and transformation of content, however benign the
intent).

Another thing to keep in mind is that the language of the letters might
also be by the sender's choice - not just limited in the case people
haven't learned other languages - and indeed some people may wish to use
more than one language in a single communication. Is it possible that
the young people involved are or could be trained in transcribing the
local languages of the area (presumably mainly Igbo, but others as
well)?

This brings up also the degree to which the computer center is able to
facilitate composing of text (e-mail in this case) in languages other
than English. I.e., if one wanted to send a letter in Igbo or another
Nigerian language, how easy is that (or is scanning the best option they
have?). Of course the receiving end has related issues (re utf-8 mail).

Another possibility that would be interesting but would require a small
investment (relative to the computer cost, but not to local income or
perhaps your project budget), would be to find a way to use audio
e-mail. There exists good software for this but it is not terribly
popular in the Northern countries - might it be interesting to users
whose cultures have stronger oral traditions? To make this work one
would probably have to use something like a minidisk recorder to record
messages in the villages to upload and send as e-mail attachments
(.wav, .mp3).

Altogether, the extent to which the young people's intermediary roles
are for transmission of content without the need for transformation
means less work for them and increased directness of the communication
they are facilitating.

As one might say in one of the languages of SE Nigeria: Jisie ike!

Don Osborn
Bisharat.net



Njideka Ugwuegbu [EMAIL PROTECTED] wrote:

 I am a Digital Vision Fellow at Stanford and the focus of my work is to
 develop a rural messaging service that will give villagers a voice to
 the world.

 What I am proposing is a youth-led process to help villagers that don't
 use computers or the Internet, but want to communicate with their
 loved ones outside the village (in other towns or even in the Diaspora).
 The process will begin at the Owerri Digital Village, a community
 technology and learning center in eastern Nigeria. 

..snip...

 What the program hopes to achieve is the promotion and empowerment of
 marginalized youth through ICT skills training for creation of socially
 responsible citizens, access to computers and most of all the
 satisfaction of doing something that the community places a significant
 value on.






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Re: [GKD-DOTCOM] How Much Bandwidth is Necessary?

2003-11-24 Thread Yacine Khelladi
Simon Woodside wrote:

 I would say rather that the different technologies that are available
 are so different and so randomly effective it's impossible to say that
 either low-bandwidth or high-bandwidth is better.

Maybe it is because we are thinking upside down? We should not first
look at the technology, but the needs (not in technology, the  social
needs), then identify how ICT can help address them, then build
meaningful ICT use strategies and implement them with what ever
technology is available to answer that question.

I believe all projects should be started like this from the needs, and
build a sustainable capacity to manage ICT integration/appropriation.
Whatever technology is used or available. And IMHO yes, every project,
ICT4D project, is somehow unique, not necessarily scalable, as ICT is
just one element in the complex development process equation.


yacine




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Re: [GKD-DOTCOM] How Much Bandwidth is Necessary?

2003-11-20 Thread C Ray Carlson
Vicram Crishna wrote:

 Today, villager's messages are being delivered on paper to an Internet
 Cafe and then transcribed into email for delivery worldwide by someone
 who holds an email account.

This reminds me of my first encounter with the Internet in 1992 when I
visited the Nicholas Copernicus University in Torun, Poland and saw
students sitting at old IBM computers and transmitting messages to other
universities. I had delivered a 'sophisticated' computer-based
management learning center to the business school as a donation from
Rotary clubs in California to teach business and entrepreneurship for
the long-term purpose of creating jobs. I learned that I could far
easier communicate with that university by sending a FAX from Pasadena
to a professor at University of California - Berkeley who would re-type
it and transmit it on the Internet to Poland. The reply would be
returned to me by fax from Berkeley. It took another five years before I
acquired the capability of e-mailing direct. And I live in the high-tech
community of California Institute of Technology (Caltech) and Jet
Propulsion Laboratories (JPL)!

With this GKD exchange of ideas on how to help the villager get his
communication needs met, the time-line will soon compress to less than
the five years it took me. And my current computer cost a small
fraction of the one ten years ago.


C. RAY CARLSON





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Re: [GKD-DOTCOM] How Much Bandwidth is Necessary?

2003-11-19 Thread Njideka Ugwuegbu
I am a Digital Vision Fellow at Stanford and the focus of my work is to
develop a rural messaging service that will give villagers a voice to
the world.

What I am proposing is a youth-led process to help villagers that don't
use computers or the Internet, but want to communicate with their
loved ones outside the village (in other towns or even in the Diaspora).
The process will begin at the Owerri Digital Village, a community
technology and learning center in eastern Nigeria. For an easier read,
the steps in the process are summarized in numerical form below:

1) Villages and families will be identified. Each family will have
their own email account at the center.

2) Youth agents will be trained to go out into these communities on a
given schedule to take communication from these families for their
relatives living outside the village.

3) The youth agents will have a customized form they will use to
document the message(s).

4) In some instances if the locals speak and write only the local
language and have chosen to write their own letter, the youth agent will
take the handwritten letter.

5) On returning to the Owerri Digital Village, the youth agent will
type up the letter or scan the letter (depending on which option was
performed - 3 or 4).

6) The letter will be sent via email to the recipient and an e-post log
will be completed by the youth agent.

7) When and if a response is received, the youth agent will then return
to the family with the message...

The cycle continues.

What the program hopes to achieve is the promotion and empowerment of
marginalized youth through ICT skills training for creation of socially
responsible citizens, access to computers and most of all the
satisfaction of doing something that the community places a significant
value on.

There are several other process related issues that are involved with
this project including how we deal with confidentiality, what nominal
price to charge and who (the local villager, their family member in the
Diaspora or both), how to minimize the length of communication (with
attachments, especially if we are using a BGAN where the cost is
dependent on amount of data transmitted)... etc, etc.

I'd be excited if there are others on this list who may be interested in
working with me on the project team, or if there are any other global
examples to share as we move forward with this project. Please let me
know.

Best,
-- 
Njideka Ugwuegbu
Reuters Digital Vision Fellow
Stanford University
http://reuters.stanford.edu/

Founder, Youth for Technology Foundation
http://www.youthfortechnology.org
(425) 681-3920


Herman Wasserman [EMAIL PROTECTED] wrote:

 Cliff, this is a very interesting line of argument -- if this way of
 using the internet through an intermediary is a general practice in
 Africa because of the lack of connectivity, it might mean amending some
 of the theories of Internet communication from the idea of the Internet
 as a many-to-one or individualised, customised form of communication to
 one that is similar to the two-step flow of communication, where
 information is mediated by leaders or representatives in society.
 
 Can you perhaps point me to some case studies of this type of mediation,
 or to specific examples? Thanks



 Cliff Missen wrote:
 
 Today, villager's messages are being delivered on paper to a Internet
 Cafe and then transcribed into email for delivery worldwide by someone
 who holds an email account. There may someday be a SERVICE that enhances
 this informal relationship to the point where a single griot can
 manage email accounts for hundreds of clients through a simple handheld
 device. It'll take a little tweaking of the current email and client
 software, but it's very possible.


 

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Re: [GKD-DOTCOM] How Much Bandwidth is Necessary?

2003-11-17 Thread Richard Koman
Sorry for piping up without an intro, but I just returned from Uganda.
There community radio stations offer an email service to rural
listeners. Friends can email you care of the radio station and, at a
designated time, the radio will alert everyone who has received an
email. The charge for receiving an email in this way is approximately 5
cents.

I was in Uganda creating a digital bookmobile, which would download
public domain materials from the net, print and bind them into books and
distribute them to rural schools and families. So a form of mediation,
also?

But you mention mediation by societal leaders - I'm not advocating that,
just the use of humans as technical conduits to information for the
benefit of massively nontechnical populations.

- Richard Koman
Program Director
Anwhere Books
www.anywherebooks.org



Herman Wasserman wrote:
 
 Cliff, this is a very interesting line of argument -- if this 
 way of using the internet through an intermediary is a 
 general practice in Africa because of the lack of 
 connectivity, it might mean amending some of the theories of 
 Internet communication from the idea of the Internet as a 
 many-to-one or individualised, customised form of 
 communication to one that is similar to the two-step flow of 
 communication, where information is mediated by leaders or 
 representatives in society.
 
 Can you perhaps point me to some case studies of this type of 
 mediation, or to specific examples? Thanks
 

 Cliff Missen wrote:
 
 Today, villager's messages are being delivered on paper to a Internet
 Cafe and then transcribed into email for delivery worldwide by someone
 who holds an email account. There may someday be a SERVICE that enhances
 this informal relationship to the point where a single griot can
 manage email accounts for hundreds of clients through a simple handheld
 device. It'll take a little tweaking of the current email and client
 software, but it's very possible.






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Re: [GKD-DOTCOM] How Much Bandwidth is Necessary?

2003-11-17 Thread Venkatesh (Venky) Hariharan
In India, we have the public call offices (PCOs) -- essentially manned
telephone booths where the revenues are shared between the telco and the
PCO operator. There are more than 600,000 of these PCOs across the
country. There are many Community Information Centres where one can
access the Internet and according to some of my friends who love
travelling across India, these cybercafes are now appearing in remote
locations too.

A couple of examples of Community Information Centres are:

www.drishtee.com
www.e-choupal.com

Venky


Herman Wasserman [EMAIL PROTECTED] wrote:

 Cliff, this is a very interesting line of argument -- if this way of
 using the internet through an intermediary is a general practice in
 Africa because of the lack of connectivity, it might mean amending some
 of the theories of Internet communication from the idea of the Internet
 as a many-to-one or individualised, customised form of communication to
 one that is similar to the two-step flow of communication, where
 information is mediated by leaders or representatives in society.

 Can you perhaps point me to some case studies of this type of mediation,
 or to specific examples? Thanks

 Cliff Missen wrote:

 Today, villager's messages are being delivered on paper to a Internet
 Cafe and then transcribed into email for delivery worldwide by someone
 who holds an email account. There may someday be a SERVICE that enhances
 this informal relationship to the point where a single griot can
 manage email accounts for hundreds of clients through a simple handheld
 device. It'll take a little tweaking of the current email and client
 software, but it's very possible.






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Re: [GKD-DOTCOM] How Much Bandwidth is Necessary?

2003-11-14 Thread Robert Miller
Regarding Tony Roberts' reply to Simon Woodside:

 Simon Woodside wrote:
 Not only that, but the high cost of a PC or a laptop needs to be
 considered. A PC is expensive, whether it's connected to high-bandwidth
 or low. So a substantial sum of the total ICT investment isn't going to
 change no matter what the bandwidth plan might be.

 I would beg to differ.

 There are existing real low cost options for PCs. Computer Aid is a
 non-profit organisation that supplies professionally refurbished high
 quality PCs for a fraction of the cost of a new machine.

This is a resonant tune and not only relevant in developing countries.
In Canada, similar programs exist, including a Government subsidized
program that has rolled out approximately 32,000 PC's to schools in the
province of Ontario alone across a population of 5,500 schools. And, in
addition, several for-profit organizations are doing very good work in
this area so there is value in developed and developing countries.

A pilot program is currently underway in this same region to test what
is termed as a blended model. The rationale is that even urban schools
with high speed Internet access use many of their computers in browser
mode a significant percentage of the time. The model calls for 15% new,
65% mid life (24 to 42 months old) and 20% are over 42 months old. This
allows for a natural cascading of technology rather than software
compatibility-driven rollovers.

To make this a more viable model, I reference a previous message where I
briefly discussed the value of a remotely managed and metered content
server (i.e. knowledge delivery engine). When connected to whatever
local network is available, this provides reliable, network-speed access
to cached applications and content, including educator-selected content
(often by the Min of Ed in that country). If a network does not exist,
then a simple, low-tech wireless network is set up.

However, the key to this model is not the infrastructure, but rather the
ability of teachers and students to interact with quality multi-modal
learning resources in this low tech market.

To finance this model in developing countries where local phones with
dial-up capabilities, such as in a northern Canadian Aboriginal
community, this Content Server also becomes the local ISP host.
Affordable Internet access can fund the entire operational costs in this
environment. Alternatively, in developing countries, Telecenters are the
economic generator that supports local education and often the
healthcare access, also. This does not dispute the necessity of having
strong community leadership and the challenges of keeping quality staff
and skills.

Remote monitoring and management of the server environment, as well as,
loading up Tony Roberts' refurbished P166+ PC's with
Linux-on-the-desktop can increase the reliability and user experience.
Now, the desktops and servers can be remotely managed via the Internet
and satellite. This model is being implemented in Uganda, where the
donation of 1 Content server and 40 P4 PC's for one school became a
project for 41 schools (the PC's were upgraded with a 2nd disk drive)
and refurbished PC's were donated as the classroom user devices. As in
Canada, this provided immediate evidence of the power of mature PC's in
technology-assisted teaching and learning where the content is locally
available (and refreshed nightly) to bring learning alive and be a
catalyst to life-long learning.

For more information or a copy of White Papers that discuss this in more
detail, contact me.

Regards
Bob

Robert Miller
EVP Global Inc.
Direct:   (416) 423-9100
Mobile:  (416) 464-7525
Fax:  (416) 696-9734
Email:   [EMAIL PROTECTED] mailto:[EMAIL PROTECTED]


History teaches us that people and nations behave wisely, once they have
exhausted all other alternatives   Abba Eban






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Re: [GKD-DOTCOM] How Much Bandwidth is Necessary?

2003-11-14 Thread Wasserman, Herman
Cliff, this is a very interesting line of argument -- if this way of
using the internet through an intermediary is a general practice in
Africa because of the lack of connectivity, it might mean amending some
of the theories of Internet communication from the idea of the Internet
as a many-to-one or individualised, customised form of communication to
one that is similar to the two-step flow of communication, where
information is mediated by leaders or representatives in society.

Can you perhaps point me to some case studies of this type of mediation,
or to specific examples? Thanks

Herman



Cliff Missen wrote:

 Today, villager's messages are being delivered on paper to a Internet
 Cafe and then transcribed into email for delivery worldwide by someone
 who holds an email account. There may someday be a SERVICE that enhances
 this informal relationship to the point where a single griot can
 manage email accounts for hundreds of clients through a simple handheld
 device. It'll take a little tweaking of the current email and client
 software, but it's very possible.





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Re: [GKD-DOTCOM] How Much Bandwidth is Necessary?

2003-11-14 Thread John Lawrence
Since much of the Internet technology (laptops, telecentres etc) seems
to be landline based, yet it is cellular telephony that is flourishing
in many of the less developed countries, is there a 'disconnect' here
that may be inhibiting the spread of the Internet to rural areas?...I
just came back from Yemen where cellphones predominate, and coverage has
been obtained over most of the country... so voice connections are now
relatively normal even to remote rural districts...but Internet of
course (notwithstanding the Arabic language issue) is largely confined
just to cities...

John Lawrence



Don Richardson wrote:
..snip...
 The telephone is the most basic unit of telecommunications service. The
 policies and programs implemented in support of rural telephony services
 are a critical part of the supporting environment for other rural ICT
 initiatives. In most cases rural connectivity can best piggyback on or
 leverage infrastructure that is primarily intended to support rural
 telephony. Among rural populations, voice communications will usually be
 the most immediately useful and easily accessible service (application).
..snip...






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Re: [GKD-DOTCOM] How Much Bandwidth is Necessary?

2003-11-14 Thread Edmond Gaible
Hello,

I'm happy to hear Stuart Gannes' voice on alternative means of
connectivity. Stuart's Digital Vision program has been instrumental in,
among many other activities, promoting the use of store-and-forward
models as a way to deliver information services in advance of reliable
connectivity. And as many others have said, the answer to the question
How much bandwidth is necessary? is critically dependent on what your
program is trying to accomplish. For closed systems of data exchange --
as opposed to open systems such as browsing the World Wide Web and
accessing documents or media files -- low-cost, low-bandwidth solutions
may be ideal.

Jiva Institute's Teledoc project uses commercial, off-the-shelf
mobile-telephone technologies to reduce costs and enable sustainable,
enterprise-based healthcare to reach villages. Village-based field
representatives exchange data with the central clinic using a mobile
phone to access the Internet via a GPRS network. GPRS is widely
available in India, with higher-bandwidth CDMA networks now being
installed in the south. Custom applications written in Java 2.0
Micro-edition (J2ME) allow the phone to connect directly with a central
database of patient records at the Jiva clinic.

Field representatives are able to add new patients, review patient
treatment histories, and describe symptoms in detail. The telephone
interface has been designed to accommodate the phone's limited screen
'real estate' by providing field representatives with simple codes and
sequential decision-support. At the central clinic, Jiva's expert
Ayurvedic doctors analyze the data, and then prescribe medication and
treatment. Medicines are compounded at a regional office, picked up by
field workers, and delivered to patients in their homes-all for 70
rupees or US $1.50 per consultation.

Access to healthcare in villages is extremely limited, and is one factor
contributing to much higher morbidity rates in India's villages when
compared to cities. Teledoc is currently in pilot tests in the state of
Haryana, where Jiva is based, and is providing traditional,
cost-effective Ayurvedic treatments in villages. Jiva has offered
Ayurvedic care locally and internationally over the Internet (60+
patients per day) since 1995. However, we anticipate bundling other
healthcare services into Teledoc as the project evolves.

The combination of mobile telephones, GPRS, and J2ME results in an
extremely low-cost solution. Network installation and maintenance costs
are borne by the private sector. The ability to exchange data between
villages and the central database combines with a solid business plan
and pricing scheme, and with demonstrated demand in the villages to make
the project highly scalable.

Jiva's innovative, low-cost computing technology has just received the
World Summit Award for eHealth for the World Summit on the Information
Society.

Regards to all,

Edmond Gaible

www.natomagroup.com   |   www.jiva.org





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Re: [GKD-DOTCOM] How Much Bandwidth is Necessary?

2003-11-13 Thread Cecilia Matanga
The GKD Moderator has asked:
 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?
  
My name is Cecilia Matanga from Zimbabwe in Southern Africa. I couldn't
agree more with what you guys are doing. I am actually glad I
subscribed. I have followed the discussions on ICTs with a lot of
interest but unfortunately for us here we can only dream of Telecenters.
As much as I appreciate the benefits of Internet as a tool for
information gathering and dissemination, we are still far from having
access in the remote areas of Zimbabwe. We, at the organisation I work
for, are actually trying to share the importance of the Internet as a
resource through Cyber-Training workshops.

Most Internet Cafes in Zimbabwe are in urban areas and even then do not
have the social/community component. They are just managed, manned and
owned by a few individuals for profit-making purposes.

I, however, believe that sharing a single high-bandwidth connection
offers a viable economic solution to a community's information needs but
there is need for commitment from the recipients. They need to commit to
sustenance of the projects thereafter. I have watched with a heavy heart
as most projects fail to take off as soon as the donor withdraws from
the forefront. A lot of training, awareness and issues of identification
are necessary in the planning phase of the projects for recipients to
realise the usefulness of the project.

Thank you for your contributions. I have a vision of Africa where
important information is just a click away.





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Re: [GKD-DOTCOM] How Much Bandwidth is Necessary?

2003-11-13 Thread pam.mclean
Mahmud,

Thank you for asking which connectivity technologies? and for your
interest in discussing possible ways forward.

Before I give any answer of my own I should explain that my role is as
an intermediary. I speak about the OOCD 2000+ project and the people
involved, because that is what I know. I report what people there have
told me, as faithfully and accurately as I can. I can discuss the
problems we experience communicating between the UK and rural Nigeria,
and explore ways those problems might be solved. I can tell you what
difficulties there are on the Nigerian side and how our people tackle
them. But you need better information than that if we are to find the
best answers to the questions that interest you.

You need to ask the people of Oke-Ogun themselves, as they can answer
you from detailed first hand knowledge. I will happily help you to make
whatever contacts you want. It will of course take time, because
connectivity is so bad. We will need to decide what exactly you want to
find out, and the best way to move forward on that. It may be that you
just want some general impressions from a few key people, or it may be
that you want full detailed discussions with large community groups.

There is another decision to be made fairly early on - in order to
collect up your information do you want to travel to where the
information is, or do you want the information to travel to you? As I
have explained elsewhere, we have started to explore the use of video,
so that people can speak for themselves, but at a distance. The man I
was quoting regarding the need for connectivity was contributing to our
video experiment. Getting answers on video would also take some time to
set up (not least because the initial experimental videos we did in
Oge-Ogun used my own laptop and video camera, which I needed to bring
home to the UK again afterwards) but it could be done. We have learnt
useful lessons from that initial work, which will help us to move on. I
will happily share more details off list.

Meanwhile I can give you some information regarding connectivity and
needs and possible ways forward.

You mention convergent technologies and especially the role of radio.
That is dear to the heart of the OOCD 2000+ project - but our hands are
tied, as our community radio partners have been waiting over a year for
a broadcasting license to be granted.

Email seems to be of greater immediate potential use than telephones.
The fact that it is asynchronous is a great benefit.

People in Ago-Are want email, many have been disappointed to discover
that although the InfoCente has three computers there is no email
facility. Already some people from Ago-Are travel a long distance to use
the email bureaux in Ibadan.

Certainly, within our project, email has made the diffenence between
possible and totally impossible - even though it is only possible
through the determination of David Mutua, our project manager, and his
willingnes to suffer long and uncomfortable journeys by public service
vehicle between Ago-Are and Ibadan.

Our vision is to make the InfoCentre in Ago-Are into a co-ordinating
centre for other InfoCentres, one in each of the ten Local Government
areas in Oke-Ogun, and to cascade out from there.

It would be an enormous leap forward for us to get a number of local
centres with email. Other list members have already discussed the
possible combination of CD-Roms etc combined with email, and that is
the approach we have to use at present in Ago-Are. Naturally those of us
within the project who have experience of using the Internet for more
than the occasional email would like to see broadband as soon as possible.
And when other people realise its potential doubtless they will want it
too, but for the inititial breakthrough, even if we only get email, it
would make such a tremendous difference. In reply to your question, it
was email I had in mind when I made the plea to connect people.

Going back to video, and convergent technologies, and broadband, we look
forward to the time when OOCD 2000+ will have its own website, including
lots of video clips, and will join in webconferencin and such like - but
for starters - just simple email would enable us to start connecting and
communicating.


Pam McLean
CAWD UK Volunteer supporting Oke-Ogun Community Development Agenda 2000+



Mahmud Daud [EMAIL PROTECTED] wrote:

 Pam, when you say what we need is to simply connect these people like in
 Oke-Ogun (Nigeria) which connectivity technologies are you referring to?
 Telephone only? Roads, Telephone and email? Shared web access?

 I work for ActionAid Africa and we are very interested in discussing
 with any of you about the way forward in promoting ICTs for deprived
 poor peoples: the rural poor, urban slum poor, women and the physically
 disabled. We believe a convergence of these technologies should be the
 way forward. Radio is supplementing a lot of the efforts at connecting
 the unconnected for a better access to 

Re: [GKD-DOTCOM] How Much Bandwidth is Necessary?

2003-11-13 Thread S Woodside
On Wednesday, November 12, 2003, Pam McLean wrote:

 Ben Parker asked about experiences on solar powered VSAT
 
 I don't have time to give details now but can't let the question go by
 without brief reference to the Solo. It is designed for rural Africa. I
 saw the second generation prototype during field trials in Oke-Ogun. I
 undertand that some pre-production versions are now under assembly. Not
 being a techie I don't know if there is any difference between VSAT
 and the satelite connection that Solo was making use of then.

Pam, thanks for the insight. Satellite phones can definitely be used for
internet connections. For many examples try this google search:

http://www.google.com/search?q=%22satellite+phone%22+laptop

There's no necessity to use a Solo computer for this ... all of the
satellite phones that provide data will work with any laptop.

There's definitely a difference between VSAT and satellite phone. A VSAT
link is like a leased line ... it's a permanent connection to the
internet that you lease by the month. For the period of the lease you
may use it as often as you like, you can saturate the connection 100% of
the time if you like, the price is fixed at a monthly rate.

With satellite phone you're paying ... buy the minute. Probably a couple
of dollars a minute. So, if your use is sporadic and for very short
periods at a time, it may be cheaper than VSAT. That said, VSAT links
are usually in the range of $100-$300 a month depending on where you
are, that's for the slowest connections of VSAT which are still just as
fast as the fastest satellite phone. Satellite phones max out at 144kbps
but are more typically 9.6kbps, or 56kbps.

 As a potential purchaser I know I won't get hold of one until someone in
 Africa sets up a small, locally financed  company, to do small scale
 assembly (about 100 units a month). The ethos behind Solo development is
 not just to make the *end product* available in rural Africa, but to
 *benefit local economies* and to *enable technology transfer through
 local assembly*. It is an imaginative combination of leading edge
 technology and cottage industry scale assembly! Hurdles to be overcome
 are things like problems relating to getting components through customs,
 and getting a critical mass of initial orders, to give a small company
 the confidence to go forward. That's why I keep plugging the Solo  - I
 want one, and I want the project I support in Oke-Ogun to be able to get
 them - so I need other people to want them too.

I hope you succeed, but I have to say I'm doubtful that the Solo
computer will ultimately prove to be cheaper or better than a laptop.
Keeping in mind that a local economy can develop around laptops too ...
maybe not building but selling, servicing. And most of the world's
laptops are built in just a few factories in Taiwan anyway ;-)

simon


--
www.simonwoodside.com :: www.openict.net :: www.semacode.org
  99% Devil, 1% Angel




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Re: [GKD-DOTCOM] How Much Bandwidth is Necessary?

2003-11-12 Thread Duran, Jorge
My name is Jorge Duran and i work as Senior Technology for Development
Advisor at the InterAmerican Agency for Cooporation and Development of
the Organization of American States in Washington, DC.

The Moderator has asked:

 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?

The answer to this one is: Yes, but as part of a concerted effort and
with a sustainability component in place. We at the Agency have had
several successes and failures in Telecenters. The obvious cause is
that once the loan runs out or the government stops subsidizing the
telecenter most either breakdown or disappear or they become Cybercafes
and forget the social/community component that originated them in the
first place.

Considering the connectivity costs and that sometimes they are located
in areas where the community in general either has no money to pay for
connectivity and PC services or just not interested in maintaining it,
the key here is to make the telecenter an integral part of the community
so that the community not only does not mind paying to keep it up, but
actually considers it a vital part for the accomplishment of several
tasks. It is for this reason that several sustainability schemes are
underway as pilot projects to see which of those works and where,
considering the wide variety of telecenter settings.






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Re: [GKD-DOTCOM] How Much Bandwidth is Necessary?

2003-11-12 Thread S Woodside
On Monday, November 10, 2003, Ben Parker wrote:

 The other major challenge we face in two remote telecentres
 UNICEF supports in southern Sudan (at least two days from the nearest
 telephone) is the generators. These need lots of fuel and oil and are
 prone to breakdown. Regular desktops are much too greedy for solar 
 power as far as I understand, but I would be interested if anyone can 
 share experiences on solar-powered VSAT?

How much power does a VSAT use? Seems like it must be a lot. Desktops
are definitely not a good idea with solar, but laptops would do fine
with a solar power system, since they generally use less than 10 Watts.
Whereas a desktop PC with a monitor draws maybe 100 Watts.

Instead of using VSAT for backhaul, consider using Wi-Fi for backhaul
connection to the internet. WiFi equipment has very light power
requirements -- solar is defintely used to power Wi-Fi installations in
remote locations.

simon


--
www.simonwoodside.com :: www.openict.net :: www.semacode.org
  99% Devil, 1% Angel
  
  



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Re: [GKD-DOTCOM] How Much Bandwidth is Necessary?

2003-11-12 Thread Tony Roberts
Simon Woodside wrote:
 Not only that, but the high cost of a PC or a laptop needs to be
 considered. A PC is expensive, whether it's connected to high-bandwidth
 or low. So a substantial sum of the total ICT investment isn't going to
 change no matter what the bandwidth plan might be.

I would beg to differ.

There are existing real low cost options for PCs. Computer Aid is a
non-profit organisation that supplies professionally refurbished high
quality PCs for a fraction of the cost of a new machine.

For any given bandwidth the difference in performance between a P2 and a
P4 is imperceptible (or at least insignificant).

We have supplied over 25,000 PCs to 80 different countries. We have 24
staff and expenditure of circa $750,000 per year and yet no member of
staff in our offices has ever used any machine on their desk higher than
a (refurbished) P1 or P2.

The majority of the machines that we are currently shipping are P2s.

It is possible to seriously reduce the total ICT investment without
performance loss of any consequence.

Kind regards


Tony Roberts
Chief Executive 
Computer Aid International

433 Holloway Road
London, N7 6LJ. UK.
Tel: +44 (0) 20 7281 0091
Email: [EMAIL PROTECTED]
Website: www.computeraid.org 

Registered Charity no. 1069256
Registered Company no. 3442679  

_

This message was sent to you using a quality Pentium
PC fully refurbished by Computer Aid International.





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Re: [GKD-DOTCOM] How Much Bandwidth is Necessary?

2003-11-12 Thread pam.mclean
Ben Parker asked about experiences on solar powered VSAT

I don't have time to give details now but can't let the question go by
without brief reference to the Solo. It is designed for rural Africa. I
saw the second generation prototype during field trials in Oke-Ogun. I
undertand that some pre-production versions are now under assembly.  Not
being a techie I don't know if there is any difference between VSAT
and the satelite connection that Solo was making use of then.

As a potential purchaser I know I won't get hold of one until someone in
Africa sets up a small, locally financed  company, to do small scale
assembly (about 100 units a month). The ethos behind Solo development is
not just to make the *end product* available in rural Africa, but to
*benefit local economies* and to *enable technology transfer through
local assembly*. It is an imaginative combination of leading edge
technology and cottage industry scale assembly! Hurdles to be overcome
are things like problems relating to getting components through customs,
and getting a critical mass of initial orders, to give a small company
the confidence to go forward. That's why I keep plugging the Solo  - I
want one, and I want the project I support in Oke-Ogun to be able to get
them - so I need other people to want them too.


Pam McLean





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Re: [GKD-DOTCOM] How Much Bandwidth is Necessary?

2003-11-12 Thread Cliff Missen
Right, Peter!

You've extended my argument yet another step past the ICT solution
(where I had chosen to end my examples at the border of ICT and non-ICT
solutions), and I entirely agree.

You can still go into markets in much of the developing world and find
someone whose business it is to write letters for others. (I like to
harken back to old American Western movies where the farmer strides into
the Western Union Telegraph station, hooks his thumbs under his overall
straps, throws back his shoulders, and drawls, I want to send me a
message to Warshington...)

Today, villager's messages are being delivered on paper to a Internet
Cafe and then transcribed into email for delivery worldwide by someone
who holds an email account. There may someday be a SERVICE that
enhances this informal relationship to the point where a single griot
can manage email accounts for hundreds of clients through a simple
handheld device. It'll take a little tweaking of the current email and
client software, but it's very possible.

Cheers!

-- Cliff



Peter Burgess [EMAIL PROTECTED] wrote:

 I like a lot of what I am seeing on this discussion dialog  and the
 commentary by Cliff Missen.
 
 But this got my attention: If someone needs to get a letter to another,
 they need a word processor and a printer.
 
 
 Whatever happened to the idea of pen and paper, and typewriter (manual)?
 
 When it comes to communications in poor rural areas  the most cost
 effective might well be very old fashioned.

..snip...






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Re: [GKD-DOTCOM] How Much Bandwidth is Necessary?

2003-11-11 Thread S Woodside
On Friday, November 7, 2003, at 08:26  AM, Cornelio Hopmann wrote:

 Hence: if the alternative is to connect many (and through-out the
 country) by low-bandwidth or a few with megabyte links, go for the
 first. The latter will come -almost by itself- as technology costs fall
 and demand increases.


I would say rather that the different technologies that are available
are so different and so randomly effective it's impossible to say that
either low-bandwidth or high-bandwidth is better. Pragmatically, a more
scatter-shot approach would have more likelihood of succeeding. Launch
many projects with many technologies. Some will work, some won't. Learn
from the failures and repeat the successes. Every time a new technology
comes along give it a chance.

Not only that, but the high cost of a PC or a laptop needs to be
considered. A PC is expensive, whether it's connected to high-bandwidth
or low. So a substantial sum of the total ICT investment isn't going to
change no matter what the bandwidth plan might be.

simon






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Re: [GKD-DOTCOM] How Much Bandwidth is Necessary?

2003-11-10 Thread mahmudd
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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Re: [GKD-DOTCOM] How Much Bandwidth is Necessary?

2003-11-10 Thread Ben Parker
 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?

1. High bandwidth: I think enough to do Yahoo! mail or Hotmail is needed
for a public service. Even slow web is really essential I think. I am
speaking as someone who helped to run a large FIDOnet e-mail only node
in Ethiopia in the early nineties and I regret that a lot of really
clever and efficient stuff (Zmodem compression, least-cost routing etc)
has been thrown out as we standardise on TCP/IP. But that's how it is
these days.


 2. Are there cases that demonstrate the value of low-bandwidth (e.g.,
 store-and-forward email, packet radio) solutions to provide critical
 information access to under-served communities? How successful have they
 been?

2. I work in southern Sudan and there are many low bandwidth solutions
in place, but they are not for public use. These include data (e-mail)
over Mini-M phone, PTC-II HF radio, Codan HF modems, data over Thuraya,
even BGAN or M4 satellite toys and others. All are painful either in
cost or speed.  But if you need it bad enough, and you have the money,
you can do e-mail anywhere. None of these are used in a telecentre
context.


 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?

3. Telecentres: yes, of course they are all about sharing a connection.
Breaking even on the $400-500 per month for a 64K VSAT bill is the
challenge. The other major challenge we face in two remote telecentres
UNICEF supports in southern Sudan (at least two days from the nearest
telephone) is the generators. These need lots of fuel and oil and are
prone to breakdown. Regular desktops are much too greedy for solar power
as far as I understand, but I would be interested if anyone can share
experiences on solar-powered VSAT?


 4. Are there new protocols that make more efficient use of the bandwidth
 that is available? For example, what role can the newer wireless
 technologies (e.g. Wi-Fi, MESH networks) play in bringing sufficient
 connectivity to underserved communities? Are the costs and maintenance
 demands of these technologies sustainable?

4. Wireless: yes, it's potentially a good revenue stream for the
telecentres. In theory, they can offer a business class service to
fixed locations beyond the telecentre and charge a healthy monthly
subscription without using up seats in the centre. If the client will
pay enough, they can up their VSAT bandwidth. This is what we are
looking into but high street Wi-Fi kit does not go far enough and
expertise in souped-up Wi-Fi is limited.


Ben Parker






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Re: [GKD-DOTCOM] How Much Bandwidth is Necessary?

2003-11-07 Thread Cornelio Hopmann
I would like to throw in my 20 ounces of salt ... and support Pam
McLean.

Stories from my life:

When changing the German National Research Center for Computing in 1985
for the Engineering University of Nicaragua I felt like I was
transported to the moon - dark side. Whereas in Germany I had already
access to uunet and email, a simple letter exchange from Nicaragua back
to Germany required 3-6 weeks.

Therefore I was extremely happy when I succeded in 1988 to connect by
long distance phone calls (Nicaragua--Vermont) 3 times a day Nicaragua
as Blue Internet Node (.ni) to UUNET...Suddenly affordable turn around
time was 48 hours -instead of 3 weeks- and more over the usenet
Newsgroups provided an excellent mechanism for getting help from
technical communities and their volunteers. (all by phone-calls and
compressed email transfer).

In 1994 we went online as a country (!!) sharing with Costa Rica a 64K
link (!) to the IX in Miami. Again a substantial change as from there on
we had not to pay for connection time -as in the phone-times- but rather
the limit of what is transferable was defined by mean time between
failure ie. it was possible to send everything (or to get everything)
if only the transmision-time did not exceed a couple of hours. We even
had software to schedule up/down-loads to low-traffic hours during the
night. (In that respect: there are hundreds of proven solutions still
around from those times where Usenet was a Dial-Up connected Network,
yet covering the whole globe with already hundreds of thousands of users
and hundreds of nodes. Many of those are still shipped as unknown parts
of FreeBSD or Linux with BSD compatible solutions, such that there is no
need to re-invent the wheel. These include Batched Mail-transfer not the
extremely resource intensive SMTP peer-to-peer email. Scheduled
transfers, the whole usenet-news mechanism with decentralized
multi-origin feeds yet locally made consistent etc. etc. etc.)

Obviously today  with a Cablemodem at my homeoffice -still in Nicaragua-
and effective 8-9 KB/s it's nice to chat with my son using WEB-cam (He
is on a 7 month visit to Germany). Likewise downloading 20 MB in minutes
facilitates ... but it's only a gradual change compared with the jumps
before.

Concluding Remarks: If WiFi and other Broadband Technologies cut
connection costs substantially, they may be extremely useful. However I
suspect -except true Broadband online comunication- that in 99% of the
cases a mix between distributing bulk information using DVD/RW as media
and combining it with a low-bandwidth connection will solve the problem.
(As an example: communication of medical information from remote places
can be split into burning lots of Info onto an DVD/RW and have it
shipped by what ever means are available combined with text-chat with
the counseling central hospital once the DVD arrived there. Assume you
get 3.6 GB of information this way in 12 hours to the hospital, it would
need almost 9 hours to send the same content through a 1 Megabit/second
direct connection).

Likewise 99% of eLearning-materials can be shipped as DVD/RW -as it does
not change day by day- and then locally combined with either
character-email or character-chat.

Hence: if the alternative is to connect many (and through-out the
country) by low-bandwidth or a few with megabyte links, go for the
first. The latter will come -almost by itself- as technology costs fall
and demand increases.


Yours

Cornelio






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Re: [GKD-DOTCOM] How Much Bandwidth is Necessary?

2003-11-06 Thread Sandra Roberts
My name is Sandra Roberts, I work with a project designed to support ICT
initiatives in the SADC (Southern African Development community) region.
We are represented currently in 12 of the 13 countries in SADC and have
nodal points in Tanzania, Zambia and South Africa.

Recently we conducted research on telecentres in SADC.  Here are my
answers to the questions.

KEY QUESTIONS:

 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?

Connectivity costs in Africa are too high, whether it is in urban or
underserved rural areas.  High bandwidth connections largely a dream in
many areas.  Also importantly there is not enough support for individual
telecentres who are often in very isolated areas.


 2. Are there cases that demonstrate the value of low-bandwidth (e.g.,
 store-and-forward email, packet radio) solutions to provide critical
 information access to under-served communities? How successful have they
 been?

 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?

Telecentres and community multimedia centres have not fared very well in
Africa, this is due, in part to exorbitant connection costs, but also
because they need dynamic leadership. Management and technological
skills, yes, but leadership which is adaptive to the various conditions
which a telecentre/ CMC will face during its lifespan.  Unfortunately
practical barriers include high staff turn over - people with the skills
to run telecentres could get relatively high paying jobs elsewhere, and
have more security than telecentres can offer.

The practical reality is that many telecentres are donor dependent and
have no plans to become self sustaining, or possibly have plans and
haven't implemented them.

So, yes, they can, but practically they often don't.


 4. Are there new protocols that make more efficient use of the bandwidth
 that is available? For example, what role can the newer wireless
 technologies (e.g. Wi-Fi, MESH networks) play in bringing sufficient
 connectivity to underserved communities? Are the costs and maintenance
 demands of these technologies sustainable?

New technologies require new skills sets and new support mechanisms.
They should be adopted, but possibly not immediately as soon as the
technologies are available.  I think universities should be key in
experimenting with new technologies and slowly developing plans for
incorporation into their countries.


Please look at our site, it will be launched on the 17 November 2003.
www.cinsa.info


Sandra Roberts
Research and Information Coordinator
CINSA Project
SANGONeT
Tel: 27 11 838 6943/4
Fax: 27 11 492 1058
Email: [EMAIL PROTECTED]
Website: www.cinsa.info; www.sangonet.org.za





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Re: [GKD-DOTCOM] How Much Bandwidth is Necessary?

2003-11-06 Thread Mark Lediard
Here is a bandwidth sharing option I have been thinking about. I plan to
deploy this in Indonesia soon. The idea is to get a business, (perhaps a
bank?) that has some bandwidth in a district setting, to share its
bandwidth with a health center through a wireless access point placed
somewhere near the health facility. If a local business is willing to
share bandwidth with a health facility, the base costs of a router and
wireless access point to enable that are around 125 Euros. Security
software and routines exists to make sure that no one at the health
center can hack the host. Then, in pleasant and practical
public-private collaboration, the health entity that gets to connect
wirelessly via the on-all-the-time connection at no extra charge to the
host, can have free bandwidth to use for their ICT needs.

This gives a local business an easy and low-cost way to act in a way
that is socially responsible. There may also be a way for the health
unit to recover some costs by charging some fees for offering VOIP
(Voice over internet protocol) services such as the use of SKYPE or
www.net2phone for contact. Think about how you might apply such a
voluntary Robin Hood scheme. It's technically feasible. I have done it
already on a small scale. In fact, this note come to you via a wireless
setup...


Mark Lediard





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Re: [GKD-DOTCOM] How Much Bandwidth is Necessary?

2003-11-06 Thread Njideka Ugwuegbu
Mark Lediard [EMAIL PROTECTED] wrote:

 Here is a bandwidth sharing option I have been thinking about. I plan to
 deploy this in Indonesia soon. The idea is to get a business, (perhaps a
 bank?) that has some bandwidth in a district setting, to share its
 bandwidth with a health center through a wireless access point placed
 somewhere near the health facility. If a local business is willing to
 share bandwidth with a health facility, the base costs of a router and
 wireless access point to enable that are around 125 Euros. Security
 software and routines exists to make sure that no one at the health
 center can hack the host. Then, in pleasant and practical
 public-private collaboration, the health entity that gets to connect
 wirelessly via the on-all-the-time connection at no extra charge to the
 host, can have free bandwidth to use for their ICT needs.
 
 This gives a local business an easy and low-cost way to act in a way
 that is socially responsible. There may also be a way for the health
 unit to recover some costs by charging some fees for offering VOIP
 (Voice over internet protocol) services such as the use of SKYPE or
 www.net2phone for contact. Think about how you might apply such a
 voluntary Robin Hood scheme. It's technically feasible. I have done it
 already on a small scale. In fact, this note comes to you via a wireless
 setup...


Mark, interesting scheme. The most challenging part, I think, will be
convincing the bank that sharing their bandwidth with a local health
center will be a socially responsible thing to do, especially if they
are aware that the health center will then turn around and use their new
connected state to make money.

I think even the banks will want to set up a monthly payment plan with
the health center where the center pays for their bandwidth usage - even
a nominal fee.



Njideka Ugwuegbu
Reuters Digital Vision Fellow
Stanford University
http://reuters.stanford.edu/
http://www.youthfortechnology.org







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Re: [GKD-DOTCOM] How Much Bandwidth is Necessary?

2003-11-05 Thread Matt Blair
Mr. James,

Regarding your last question about linking villages via wireless, you
may want to check in with the Jhai Foundation.  They have been creating
WiFi networks to link villages with each other and the internet in Laos.
 The project website is:

http://www.jhaifoundation.org/jhai_remoteIT.html

Regards,

Matt



Wire Lunghabo James 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 some one in Europe when he still has problems
 communicating with his in-laws 10 kms away ?







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Re: [GKD-DOTCOM] How Much Bandwidth is Necessary?

2003-11-04 Thread Wire Lunghabo James
Hi List,

I will attempt to provide my views on the questions posed:

 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?

High bandwidth connections are not a pre-requisite to impact on
development. In a country like Uganda where I happen to come from, one
of the biggest prohibiting factors to dev't is information. So many
citizens fail to take advantage of possible opportunities, corruption is
exacerbated (since officials rely on our ignorance), delivery of public
services is hindered etc. The kind of information I am talking about can
always be relayed even on the slowest links possible coz its all about
the content (even though its text based). The issue of high speed
connections in my view comes in after the society has been exposed to
the bottomline and thereafter, when they realise the need for more
information and complexity in delivery, usually these folk can even
contribute towards the sustenance of the improved system.

 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?

Community access centres are the way to go. In many third world
countries, there is little chance to find individual ownership of all
sorts of ICTs. Even mobile phones, I always come across scenarios in
rural Uganda where 2 or 3 people own phones and are forced to offer
public commercial calling services as a result of need. Tele Centres
create an agregation of ICTs and enable the general public access them
at a nominal fee and yet benefit from the advantages that they have to
offer. I have also learnt that because a number of rural folk are not
exactly financially liquid, it would be good for one to explore the
possibility of accepting payment for services using alternative methods
e.g farmer X brings a heifer to the telecentre, valued at an amount xyz
and getting the service for the equivalent.


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 int he first case should you try and force a villager to
communicate with some one in Europe when he still has problems
communicating with his in-laws 10 kms away ?

Just my thoughts

regards

-- 
Wire Lunghabo James
M.D
Linux Solutions / Data Networks Uganda Limited
Kagga Hse
Plot 2 Bandali Close, Bugolobi
P.O.Box 26192
Kampala
Off: 256 41 505033 / 256 31 263033
Cell: 256 71 726609






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