Sunday, October 23, 2005

Getting connected in rural India

The tech market in Bangalore may be racing ahead,
but it is a very different story for India's 700 million
farmers. Spencer Kelly ( Reporter, BBC Click Online)
has been to Northern India to see how plans to bring
technology to rural areas are working.

" many villages you will not find even a single mobile phone.
But SMS technology can be used in different ways.

For example, one village is hoping to replace its message board
with, quite simply, an LED display connected to a SIM card.

It is placed in an area where most of the villagers will meet and
discuss things, and is strapped to a tree.

But this is where delicate, city-built electronics failed to fulfil
their tough rural roles.

Getting the message board to a useful place, but still keeping
it near to an electricity supply, was a challenge. A few jolts
during the journey to the village were enough to break the receiver.

So the village will not be receiving any messages at all until it can
be repaired.

But one novel solution of providing a mobile connection stood out.

It involved strapping a GSM-enabled payphone to the back of a
bike and transporting it from village to village, giving locals the
opportunity to call friends and relatives in the cities.

Incoming calls, though, are still a bit of an issue.
SMS Bike
Mobile phone, Indian style

There clearly are advantages to introducing technology into rural
But the equipment has to be both hard-wearing and easy
to maintain. Otherwise, the suppliers service reps could be in for
some very long journeys."

Article from BBC News online

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