An article titled “Mexico sees its first village cellphone network” on New Europe online caught my attention. It tells us about a village in Mexico where earlier the residents had to trudge to a community phone to make very expensive calls. Community phones are provided by big telecom operators.
“Using simple radio receivers, a laptop and relatively inexpensive Internet technologies, the people of the village have leapfrogged into the 21st century by setting up what amounts to their own mini-telecom company — one capable of handling 11 cellphone calls at a time at a small fraction of what they used to pay….in just six months, more than 720 residents have signed up to use the new system. Local calls made on off-the-shelf cellphones are free, and phoning relatives in Los Angeles costs just 20 centavos (1.5 cents) a minute. What’s more, every subscriber has a distinct mobile number.”
I remember a company approaching USOF India for funding a similar solution for inaccessible villages which could not be taken forward.In this case it appears that rather than look for formal funding, the village pooled money and with the help of a not for profit organisation they were able to set up this system.