Quick guide: Alter...

Quick guide: Alternative models to provide connectivity in low- and no-bandwidth environments

A list of some notable and illustrative initiatives to promote the development of 'alternative solutions' to provide access to digital content to devices in low-/no-bandwidth areas and to provide re-cycled PCs.

Sample projects and services to provide content to devices in low or no-bandwidth areas

  • Bushmail
    an email solution that works via HF Radio anywhere in Africa.
  • CanTV
    a GeekCorps project in Mali to stream video via wifi from radio stations to televisions with special receivers / antennas built using locally-available parts
  • Computer On A Stick (COS)
    commercially available, bootable portable USB drive running its own operating system and various office and Internet applications. 
  • e-Granary Digital Library
    provides millions of digital educational resources to educational institutions in Africa by downloading them to hard drives and then installing the hard drives on local area networks.
  • Freedom Toaster
    conveniently located, self-contained, computer-based, 'Bring 'n Burn' kiosks, preloaded to dispense free digital products, including software, photography, music and literature.
  • Hole-in-the-Wall
    an example of 'minimally invasive education', where computer kiosks are places in villages and slum areas, providing unrestricted computer access to children in an open playground setting.
  • Internet Village Motoman
    connects small villages in rural Cambodia to the Internet and e-mail communications through motorcycles, which regularly visit and connect to school servers via wi-fi to upload/download Internet materials.  The United Villages initiative extends this concept, offering 'drive by wi-fi' through 'DakNet', where buses fitted out with short-range Wi-Fi antennas pass through villages in India, automatically picking up stored emails and voice messages as they go, relaying messages once they reach cities with connectivity.
  • loband
    a service that simplifies web pages, in order to make them download faster over slow Internet connections
  • Samurai
    Brazilian initiative to use a CD-R disc with a live Linux distribution capable of saving the user's files to be accessed using publicly available "terminals"
  • Whizzy Digital Courier
    a project in South Africa to distribute useful data (primarily e-mail, but also cached web content ) to places with no Internet connection via overnight dialup, taking advantage of special calling rates or USB memory stick. 

Related briefing sheets:
- Quick guide to low-cost computing devices and initiatives for the developing world
- Quick guide to prominent initiatives promoting the development of low-cost computing devices for developing countries
- Quick guide to government-sponsored "Cheap PC" Programs

Suggested citation:
infoDev. 2006. Quick guide to some alternative models to provide connectivity in low- and no-bandwidth environments. An infoDev briefing sheet. Washington, DC: infoDev / World Bank.

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