In many parts of the developing world it is too expensive to lay the fibers and copper cable to deliver a standard internet connection. Wireless technologies also do not reach many remote places. Under ‘United Villages’ initiative, founded by Amir Alexander Hasson, vehicles equipped with Wi-Fi are being used to deliver web content to remote rural villages in the developing world. In rural India and parts of Cambodia, Rwanda, Costa Rica, Paraguay, the vehicles offer web content to computers with no internet connection.
The buses and a fleet of motorcycles update their pages in cities before visiting the hard-to-reach communities. The offline search system works in a very simplistic way: users search through a standard non-real time browser. Motorcycle drives by and collects all the searches and takes them to the internet connection which sends them to ‘United Villages’ server. The server conducts search, takes out information from top results and links, edits unnecessary ads and send the compressed information back to the users.
In Cambodia, this approach is serving many rural villages. The Internet Village Motoman was launched for 15 solar-powered village schools, telemedicine clinics, and the governor’s office in Ratanakiri, a remote province of Cambodia, using five Honda motorcycles equipped with mobile access points and a satellite uplink. The network was implemented for American Assistance for Cambodia, which is funded by the World Bank and Asian Development Bank, and operates over 200 rural schools. They had computers and solar panels in all these schools, and teachers teaching English on computers, but no Internet. The teachers learned how to do e-mail, and then they taught the students, and then that got shared with the rest of the village. Telemedicine clinics held by Operation Village Health, give patients access to physicians in Boston, Massachusetts. The patients’ information including digital photographs is transferred to physicians in Boston via satellite. So, those communities are able to do e-mails, offline Web searches and tele-medicine through this novel approach.
Link for some more information about this project.
Link for interview of Amir Alexander Hasson with Gartner
Sources: BBC news, press release American Assistance Cambodia, Internet Village Motoman network