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DakNet: Rethinking Connectivity in Developing Nations

Posted by AnneryanHeatwole on Dec 14, 2009
DakNet: Rethinking Connectivity in Developing Nations data sheet 4476 Views
Alex (Sandy) Pentland, asynchronous connectivity, ad hoc network, Richard Fletcher, Amir Hasson
Publication Type: 
Report/White paper

In short, the goal of “broadband connectivity for everyone” has been shelved in favor of cutting back to the minimum possible standard telephone ser- vice in the mistaken belief that this is the cheapest way to provide connectivity. This compromise is particularly tragic given recent advances in wireless technology, which make running a copper line to an analog telephone far more expensive than broad- band wireless Internet connectivity. Rather than backpedal on the goal of connecting everyone, society should be thinking, How can we establish the kernel of a user network that will grow seamlessly as the village’s economics develop? In other words, what is the basis for a progressive, market-driven migration from government seed services—e-governance—to universal broadband connectivity that local users will pay for?

DakNet, an ad hoc network that uses wireless technology to provide asynchronous digital connectivity, is evidence that the marriage of wireless and asynchronous service may indeed be that kernel—the beginning of a road to universal broad-band connectivity. Developed by MIT Media Lab researchers, DakNet has been successfully deployed in remote parts of both India and Cambodia at a cost two orders of magnitude less than that of traditional landline solutions. Villagers now get affordable Internet services—and they’re using them. As one man in a small village outside of New Delhi remarked, “This is better than a telephone!”