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Teacher Brings the Internet to his Remote Nepalese Village
Recognizing the usefulness of having access to the vast amount of information available on the Internet, and recognizing the benefits of fast communications that the Internet makes possible, a teacher from a small village in a remote area of Nepal set about gaining access to the Internet for his community. After trying everything else, the teacher, Mahabir Pun, found out about wireless technology. With the help of volunteers, Mr Pun was able to establish the wireless Internet connection for his village.

Bringing Email Connectivity to All
In order bring the benefits of digital communications to the most remote rural areas, Media Lab Asia, a research IT organization, has developed DakNet, an innovative vehicle-mounted access point, offering broadband, asynchronous, store and forward connectivity in rural areas. Based on 802.11 technology, a pilot project was launched in India to provide rural connectivity by wireless internet in villages across the Kanpur-Lucknow corridor. The project examined innovative methods to provide low-cost, offline low bandwidth Internet access. The success of DakNet has led to the spread of mobile internet connectivity across Asia to Cambodia and then around the world.

Innovative Bandwidth Arrangements for the Education and Training Sector
The Department of Education, Training and Youth Affairs (DETYA) commissioned a report as a contribution to the debate on providing affordable reliable access to the Internet for Australia’s education and training providers. Prepared in consultation with the education and training sector, ten overseas case studies were examined, using innovative arrangements to manage and purchase bandwidth relevant to education and training, while assessing the feasibility of these arrangements for Australia. This research was used to inform the development of the Education and Training Action Plan for the Information Economy, Learning for the Knowledge Society.

Bicycles Bring Connectivity in Rural West Bengal
In an effort to spread the telecom revolution to the 700 million rural communities of India, a project from the non-profit Grameen Sanchar Seva Organization (GRASSO) sees young men riding out on bicycles, carrying mobile phones equipped with CDMA Wireless Local Loop into 5,000 West Bengal villages. These men get to keep 25 percent of profits from all calls made while bringing telephone services to villages for the first time.

With just over one phone per hundred people in rural areas of India, this is an important step. The idea is to use telecom and IT to strengthen the distribution network of agricultural produce and make it more profitable. Each village will receive one phone operated by a man on a bicycle, while one small truck will serve 10 villages by carrying produce to city markets and warehouses. 
The third network, one Internet kiosk for every 10 villages, will keep farmers informed as to which markets offer the best prices. GRASSO plans to cover most of rural India within two years. 
Faster broadband in your pocket
Researchers at Bell Labs in Australia recently unveiled a chip that allows users to access high-quality audio and video content via a cell phone at speeds faster than a home broadband connection. Available for a license fee, the "turbo decoder chip" lets users of any wireless device on a 3G network conduct video teleconferences, tap into corporate data behind a company firewall, and send and receive multimedia applications, such as music, video clips and PowerPoint presentations.

"We're talking about data rates competitive with the most advanced broadband wired modems," said Chris Nicol, lead researcher for the team that developed the chip.

Indeed, industry analysts said the chip could be the new technology to rival wi-fi, especially in urban areas. The new chip can access any wireless network via a 3G device at twice the speed of most wi-fi devices, but spectrum allocation and cost issues may prevent it from taking off. "Carriers are already spending billions of dollars in technology," said Joe Laszlo, an analyst with Jupiter Research. "It's hard to get them to shift those billion-dollar bets onto another technology." 

The M S Research Foundation Information Village Research Project
The Information Village Research Project has connected ten villages near Pondicherry in southern India by a hybrid of wired and wireless network, consisting of PCs, telephones, radio devices and email connectivity through telephone lines. Enabling the villagers to access necessary information to improve their lives, the project involves local volunteers who gather information, put the information on an Intranet and provide access through nodes in the villages.

The project is an inspiring example of how breaking the information barrier can change rural lives. In the villages of Pondicherry, where nearly 65 per cent of the families live below the poverty line and nearly 80 per cent of the population is illiterate, such information as on farming practices, weather and commodity prices have benefited the people immensely. Astoundingly, over half the population has used the centres.

The Stockholm Challenge Jury commented: "This is a wonderful example of taking the benefits of information technology to the rural poor which demonstrates the power of information and opportunity... It empowers everyone with knowledge and opportunity by an inclusive use of local language and a multi-media format that allows all to participate."

This project won the Motorola Gold (Despatch Solution) Award for the year 1999 and the Stockholm Challenge Award under the Global Village category 2001.

Microsoft and Philadelphia, USA to build school of the future
In a model of school-wide reform through ICTs (if funding is no issue), the Philadelphia School District in the USA is partnering with Microsoft to build a $46 million "school of the future" to open by September 2006. Microsoft's contribution will not be financial; rather, it will provide services such as planning and design expertise, staff training, continuing technology support and an on-site project manager. Students will get personal digital assistants and 24-hour access to homework help and class assignments. Other potential features of the school include interactive digital textbooks, electronic play diagrams for the basketball team, and wireless, mobile technology for functions ranging from recording attendance to ordering meals and school supplies. Anthony Salcito of Microsoft said the school would operate "more effectively and more efficiently." He added, "We're looking at how technology can impact all aspects of the school - the way learning and teaching goes on in the classroom, and also in how the school is operated."