[wsfii-discuss] Economic Sustainability of Community
Wireless(sorry had to resend due to incorrect hyperlink)
Assoc of Public ICT Tools Access Prov
list at apiap.org
Thu Apr 5 13:28:06 BST 2007
Hi Jeff ,
IMHO, The issue is multi dimensional. We are creating a supply &
demand simultaneously. Thus we need to bring in Tech, social,
Entrepreneurial mind together . Thus the answer will come only if you bring
in people outside the wireless community & talk to them of solution. They
will help you identify a killer app.
Today rural folks in Asia or Africa is not soo tech savvy as his
European counterpart . to evaluate whats best for him in long term . They
just lap-up whats available , packaged well & dependable.
Now let me attempt an analogy, Some of us met at Dharamshala - for Airjaldi
event . The town is in one of the poorest federal state of India , Himachal
The Per capita Income is just 1/10th of Finland . But almost 1 in 6 own a
mobile phone ! . & for most the cost of communication is almost 10% of their
The poor Himchalis have no choice but to buy it , cause there is a long
waiting line for POTs & the service is just not dependable. & there is no
one to offer an alternative untill the cell phones came in.
Now 70% of the network is owned a by single operator & 70% of Handsets are
supplied by the finnish company Nokia.
Now won't it be an exciting proposition to help them slash the budget by a
third. ie 3% ( = to world average )
So if Voice is a killer app & if you can help bring a plan where you can not
only reduce your budget & maybe as well Profit from Participation, like a
FON http://www.fon.com/en/ . by investing nominal money.
Ofcourse there are lot of issues involved . we need to work out on to
optimise on a matrix of the topology which will require least access point
& maximum people participating , thus spreading the cost.
The initial seed capital .... & many other issues.
If we present with say 5 application areas / solutions . The community will
come forward and align with the solution which is to their best interest.
Ok I spoke enough may be its time for a feast for some of you . :)
On 4/5/07, jeff buderer <jeff at onevillagefoundation.org> wrote:
> Thanks for the comments. This reminds me of the Motoman projects that
> First Mile Solutions has been involved with in India, Cambodia and Rwanda.
> So if we could consider the India Telecom approach as a potential model,
> how would we address funding CWN effort in terms of cost sharing the
> infrastructure, sustaining operational costs and replication/expanding to
> other regions? Can you help me to understand the specifics?
> -----Original Message-----
> *From:* wsfii-discuss-bounces at lists.okfn.org [mailto:
> wsfii-discuss-bounces at lists.okfn.org] *On Behalf Of *Assoc of Public ICT
> Tools Access Prov
> *Sent:* Monday, April 02, 2007 6:45 AM
> *To:* Discuss list on the World Summit on Free Information Infrastructure
> *Subject:* Re: [wsfii-discuss] Economic Sustainability of Community
> Wireless(sorry had to resend due to incorrect hyperlink)
> Lindsey, Jeff, Ian
> I completely agree with your observations.
> I pointed out in our panel Discussion on: Business Models for Community
> Wireless Networks held at Dharamsala . about India's early 1980s experiment
> in bringing the telephone penetration into rural area. The trick was a
> simple business model of " Public Call Office " ( PCO ) .
> A simple 'plug and play ' telephone instrument & billing machine did
> the trick in exponentially increasing the telecom reach.
> The community wireless can easily repeat the story provided you make
> participation in network simple , prosperous & address some immediate needs.
> Best wishes
> Ashish Saboo
> Association of Public ICT Tools Access Provider
> URL : http://www.apiap.org
> Blog: http://apiap.blogspot.com
> News: http://internetcafenews.blogspot.com
> alt email : apiap at rediffmail.com
> On 3/30/07, *Ian Howard* <ihoward at netdotworking.com> wrote:
> Lindsey, Jeff,
> Indeed, I would like to second what Jeff suggests, though there are
> differing view within the community for the role of business in free
> information infrastructures, there is at least a consensus that
> sustainable models are required to support these infrastructures. There
> is also, I might add, a vast difference in the interests (at least from
> an economic perspective) between groups who are focused on community
> networks in developed economies, to those who are working in developing
> economies. I suggest that we not try and lump them together, as the
> strategies and economic foundations are completely different, IMHO.
> In the upcoming release of the WNDW book, we intend to add in this
> section, that is an "Economic Sustainability" section of the book. This
> is a topic that we have been dedicated to for the past number of years,
> since our time at Geekcorps Mali. There is a growing interest in this
> topic and generally in the economic models to support free
> infrastructures. This chapter will, of course, focus on developing world
> Adapted Consulting
> jeff buderer wrote:
> > Lindsey,
> > One related issue may be a misconception by some that WSFII is
> > anti-business. Several have commented on this to me personally. It may
> > be that many of us are anti-corporate status quo but that does not mean
> > we are anti-business or anti-corprorate. Most of us here (it seems) do
> > want to find a viable way to do what we are doing as it relates to
> > wireless and so that means business/social enterprise development. Some
> > of us are even open to in the right conditions working with corporations
> > to get our work more widely known and to provide funding to sustain our
> > work.
> > It was my uderstanding that a focus point/goal for the Air Jaldi Summit
> > was to investigate sustainable business models for wireless networks.
> > However it is not clear to me what was actually gained on a practical
> > level and what if there was any exploration in terms of how to build
> > economically sustainable wireless networks particularly in emerging
> > markets.
> > Apparently very few people attended Laura Drewett's Workshop "Economics
> > of Small Wireless Networks
> > http://summit.airjaldi.com/home/program/workshops/economics-for-small-se
> > rvice-operators/" (also some great resources here
> > http://resources.airjaldi.com/?page_id=23)at AJS.
> > Possibly there is a bit too much focusing on the engineering and
> > technical solutions and not enough on making the business model work.
> > This complements an effective strategy of promotion. Furthermore we need
> > a "complete ecosystem approach" that combines the best of breed
> > technologies and approaches to develop networks that can be scaled and
> > replicated moving the whole network forward in terms of as you say
> > "hitting the mark".
> > The three main considerations I see are:
> > 1. Economic sustainability - Enable weaning off of grants and towards
> > incuation of local ICT related ventures esp in emerging markets 2.
> > Social infrastructure - Social/technological/economic infrastucture
> > integrated is necessary to ensure network sustainability. 3. Technology
> > innovations - with good integrated with the economic and social
> > innovations in the network (1 & 2)
> > I would like to see the Economic Sustainability of Community Wireless as
> > a major theme at the WSFII Africa 2007 Summit. I will begin work to
> > incorporate the issue of economic sustainability and (complementary to
> > this marketing) into our planning for the Summit.
> > Possibly we could use the materials in your email as a starting point
> > for planning a session on the effective promotion of community wireless
> > networks.
> > A capstone session could include people getting together in a workgroup
> > (along the lines of what I had proposed for AJS
> > http://summit.airjaldi.com/wiki/index.php/Integrated.Development.Approac
> > h) and looking at the best practices in wireless network with an eye for
> > integration. We can then consider as part of the workshop not just a
> > peicemeal approach but consider how we can effectively integrate all the
> > pieces to great compelling projects that speak for themselves. This
> > would include consideration of how to build business models to maximize
> > the replication of these wsfii projects.
> > Jeff
> > This post, combined with the previous one about creating video footage
> > about wsfii type projects, are of great interest to me personally as
> > they have cropped up in UK conversations for several years, and
> > particularly recently.
> > It has always seemed to be one area where community wi-fi/broadband
> > networks haven't always hit the mark - whether with governments,
> > funders, local authorities, establishing credibility with consumers etc.
> > Mainly, it has seemed, cos we are so busy trying to get the solutions to
> > work, that there is little time for self-promotion.
> > In each community, and globally, we have a mix of skills. Techies,
> > support, coders, promoters, grant seekers etc.
> > I would like to propose, in light of the posts about case studies and
> > video footage, that we get together those who are very interested in the
> > marketing and promotion side of community broadband networks, and talk
> > amongst ourselves. Just from last week's talks with Freifunk and
> > Funkfeuer for some EU research for the rural broadband conference in
> > Brussels in May, we have found that we have contacts between us covering
> > most of the EU, and then some in US, Asia and Australia. Errr... in
> > fact, global contacts!! After all, this community broadband world is not
> > very big, yet. ;o)
> > If everyone could decide which event to go to this summer in EU (!),
> > perhaps we could have one track for those of us interested in promoting
> > community broadband activity, and tie it in with the amazing work coming
> > from the other side of the Atlantic through Sasha, Alison etc, and in
> > Asia, and start making a much bigger impact by working together.
> > Or just start it all online through a separate list about promotional
> > activity to get the word out about the grassroots' efforts ongoing
> > across the world?
> > I'm happy to be amongst the UK/EU contacts more than happy to get
> > involved in that type of work, and push to get together TV/video
> > footage, and publicise the case studies etc created by us all wherever
> > we are.
> > Let's JFDI?!
> > ATB
> > Lindsey Annison
> > l.annisonatgmail.com
> > Co-founder, Access to Broadband Campaign
> > http://www.ABCampaign.org <http://www.abcampaign.org/>
> > Founder member, Community Broadband Network http://www.broadband-uk.coop
> > Author: JFDI Community Broadband: Wennington
> > http://www.lulu.com/content/488550
> Association of Public ICT Tools Access Provider
> wsfii-discuss mailing list
> wsfii-discuss at lists.okfn.org
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