NPR "Hacking the Himalayas": Wireless Network for 'Little Lhasa'

Part 3 of "Hacking the Himalayas," my four-part series for NPR "Day to Day" about technology and the Tibetan diaspora, is now online. Link to archived audio and multimedia extras.

Inside the Gyuto Ramoche temple in the northern Indian city of Dharamsala, the scene is timeless, seemingly centuries old: Rows of scarlet-robed young monks from Tibet, hunched over prayer scrolls in mediation.

But outside, an antenna sits on a rooftop not far away. It's one of 30 connection points in a wireless network that's bringing the Internet to this remote region where communication technology has been expensive, unreliable and hard to come by — until now.

The monks in meditation over those scrolls are a key inspiration for creating the wireless network. They are refugees from Tibet and part of a community of hundreds of thousands of refugees. Web access promises better communication, a path to preserve Tibetan culture and a way to tell their stories to the outside world.

Link to A Wireless Network for 'Little Lhasa'.

Image: Inside a Gaddi family's barn on a hilltop, Phuntsok Dorjee (left) and another technician (whose name I don't have) set a solar-powered battery into place. 2006, Xeni Jardin.


Part 1: The Gaddi People of Dharamsala

Part 2: Connecting Tibet's Exile Community Via the Web

And on the "reporter's notebook" blog associated with the series, a few new posts:

# China: Internet Companies Aid Censorship

# Dharamshala: "holy place"

# Economic tensions in Dharamshala