This is from the Association for Progressive Communications, which we will join as soon as we have charitable status! Some areas that would benefit from our services are more difficult to fundraise for if they already have mobile phone coverage. The following goes some way to countering that trend.
Mobile phone towers dominate the landscape of many countries where decent internet access still remains a dream. The Economist is telling us that mobile is all that matters now and many donors have succumbed to this vision, retreating en-masse from rural information and communication technology development. The author of a new report commissioned by APC concludes that “This has left the development of ICTs in the hands of large, highly-centralised telecoms.” This edition, APCNews looks at the rationale behind getting internet into rural areas via wireless and not leaving it all to mobile, and reports back on real-life community efforts that have been taking internet access to parts of Latin America ignored by large companies. We also cover a tiny new hand-held computer that runs for hours and hours and hours…
Rural communication: Is there still a need for telecentres now that there are mobile phones?
MONTEVIDEO (Ian Howard for APCNews) – Following the initial rush of information and communication technologies for development (ICT4D) projects in rural Africa, many did not yield the anticipated outcomes, and interest has been dying down. People then began talking about “sustainable ICT” projects that would become self-sufficient after their initial set-up period. But with mobile phones gaining in popularity, popular rhetoric has begun to question the need of ICTs beyond the mobile phone. While mobiles have had a great impact in rural areas, a new study by Ian Howard, commissioned by APC, argues that the need for telecentres and affordable internet connections exists, as such centres cater to rural and niche markets the way larger companies cannot. [http://www.apc.org/en/node/7178/]
Read Howard’s study
Andean schoolchildren and indigenous communities go online thanks to innovative training
MONTEVIDEO (KAH and KN for APCNews) – Last year APC and partners trained local technicians, community leaders and telecentre operators from the Andes on the basic principles of setting up wireless internet access in their communities. Now the participants report on the impact once they went back home.. [http://www.apc.org/en/node/7202/]
Tips for setting up wireless internet where there are few resources
MONTEVIDEO (KAH for APCNews) – “The principles that I learned in the APC workshop helped me work in resource-constrained environments,” says Alex Gondwe, techie at the Baobab Health Partnership in Malawi. Alex is setting up wireless internet connections between health institutions to improve patient care and HIV/AIDS data collection and he shares his tips here. [http://www.apc.org/en/node/7263/]
The E2: A green computer for everyone
MONTEVIDEO (LC for APCNews) – Non-profit internet provider GreenNet has recently released a new ultra-low power computer. The tiny computer can run on a car battery for hours and uses a maximum of nine watts of electricity. Sustainable in almost every way – from its fabrication, to its distribution and consumption – the E2 also comes fully equipped with free and open source operating systems. APCNews interviewed Sharif Fanselow of GreenNet to find out more about this revolutionary computer.