Laos's bike-powered WiFi: a mixed success

Danny O'Brien's guestblog on Worldchanging describes the mixed success of the Jhai project, which promised to bring ruggedized, bicycle-powered WiFi to remote villages in Laos.

The Jhai PC, meanwhile, appears to have exposed an odd little niche. There appears to be quite a few places on the earth which are tantalizingly close to Net connections and telephony, but have no electricity, no cellphone coverage, and no landlines. Think of it as the developing world's equivalent of the last-mile problem.

Parts of the Democratic Republic of the Congo, for instance, although unlikely to get electricity or telephony, are within ten miles of the IP network built out for the DRC's university system. Again, the villagers there want to stay in contact with the extensive ex-pat network that war-torn countries inevitably create, as well as improve their finances. A Jhai PC network seems like it may be the most affordable way to do this. There's a project, led by a Congolese graduate working out of South Carolina, using funding raised by from the Congolese themselves, to build this network.


(Thanks, Alex!)