I love this kind of stuff: smart use of engineering provides cell phone service to remote Mexican village, with 9,000 residents, for $1.30/month (1/13 of the price charge by traditional cell phone service in Mexico City).
The town that Carlos Slim forgot
It’s so remote that there was no cell service. In stepped Rhizomatica
, a nonprofit with the goal of increasing “access to mobile telecommunications to the over two billion people without affordable coverage and the 700 million with none at all.”
The U.S. and European experts working with Mexican engineers got the network set up by March of this year. At first, they ruled that phone calls were not to be longer than five minutes each to keep the small network from getting saturated.
By May, local numbers in Mexico City, Los Angeles and Seattle were set up, meaning that Oaxacans in Villa Talea could call relatives in the capital or in California as if it were practically a local call, a few cents a minute.
Given the success they are buying equipment that can handle the volume and will donate the existing equipment to setup a new village (a smaller one, I imagine). This was the first village they setup.
Long-distance is go
After almost two months of fine-tuning, long-distance service is finally ready to launch. This means folks in the town will be able to call out of the coverage area (only around 5-10km) to any phone, anywhere. Likewise we purchased a few DID numbers which allow people to call a Mexico City, Los Angeles or Seattle number and connect right to the village.
This is one of so many great efforts to use appropriate technology to improve people’s lives. It is easy for me to get frustrated at the cash for votes mentality of the USA politicians which creates policies against improvement for society and for protection of obsolete business models (until the bought-and-paid-for politicians make the business models sustainable by legislating against better options). It is great to see these kind of examples for the good work being done outside of the political sphere.
Related: Pay as You Go Solar in India – Providing Computer to Remote Students in Nepal – Reducing Poverty Using Entrepreneurship – Monopolies and Oligopolies do not a Free Market Make