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Digital Empowerment in Rural India - powered by FreedomBox.

Sudhamsh Kandukuri and I presented yesterday at XConf India 2018.

An inspiring story of a grassroots movement where people rejected Facebook's Free Basics and installed low-cost community Wi-Fi networks instead.
A FreedomBox on the network provides most of the essential digital services required, offline.

Slides:
njoseph.me/~joseph/Digital%20E

Video recording: coming soon!

Looking forward for the video.

Which part of India is this moment is happening?

@njoseph

@noorul The Community Wi-Fi deployments are happening in the two Telugu-speaking states of Telangana and Andhra Pradesh since Swecha (FSMI) only operates in these two states for now.

swecha.org/about

@njoseph

Any photo of the devices?

With Jio being around, it's tough to achieve something goodwill here 😊

@noorul Well, our argument against Jio is that, you still have to pay Rs. 200 to 300 per month for it. (I'm not a user of Jio, so don't know the actual figures)

The community Wi-Fi network is free to use and costs very less in maintenance. The costs for our first village averaged Re. 1 per person per month for internet access. Basically the Panchayat pays Rs. 1000 per month to the ISP for the village of 1000+ people.

(1/2)

@noorul (2/2)

The reason it costs so less is because serves most of the use cases they'd need to access internet for, like IM, VoIP, cloud storage, Wikipedia (offline) etc. The number of times people actually used the internet was quite low.

We used a OlinuXino Lime 2 for the pilot project and desktops/laptops for all the rest.

What is initial investment to setup in an area ?

@njoseph

#India is one of largest #WhatsApp userbase.

I hate that. I kept fighting all by installing, #Telegram, #Signal #Matrix but still failing.

By the way, I checked #PageKite and it is pricey.

I couldn't find easy way to setup PageKit server on VPS. So for now, I am back to use SSH reverse-tunneling.

@njoseph

Jio charges Rs 149 for 28 days with 1.5 gb/day

I'm using for long.

What you said is interesting. Just Re. 1 person is quite cheap.

At this stage, I've no clue of what is technical setup about your project. Keen to know.

@njoseph

I've always interested to setup mesh networking here but NO ONE has any clue about what I am saying. LOL

We had storm/cyclone (TN) last month and more than a week without power & network. Even during these time, I kept making awareness to set up decentralised networking to face disaster, power outrage, etc

@njoseph

We mentioned that Community Wi-Fi deployments are going on in 12 villages in the presentation.

I just got news that 7 of them have been completed.

The main blocker at this point seems to be obtaining donated laptops/desktops to deploy the software on.

@njoseph Thanks, I was there but couldn't attend because of parallel session

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Hero image credit: Sean O'Brien (CC BY-NC-SA 3.0)