Telecommunications, Innovation, and the Village Telco


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A presentation at the University of the Western Cape on why affordability in telecommunications is so important and about a project called the Village Telco which is aimed at driving down the cost of access.

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Telecommunications, Innovation, and the Village Telco

  1. 1. Telecommunications Innovation, and The Village Telco UWC 1 March 2010 Steve Song Telecommunications Fellow Shuttleworth Foundation email: blog: skype: steve_l_song twitter: stevesong
  2. 2.
  3. 3.
  4. 4.
  5. 5. Connectedness
  6. 6. For networks, more isn't Quantityis ...more just more... changes different everything qualitatively
  7. 7. The Birthday Paradox 5 nodes s 10 co nnection 10 nodes s 45 connection
  8. 8. Communication Networks 12 Efficiencies Innovation
  9. 9. n enablng innovation o t of os a very low c “You need n , r ig ht? If thin gs expe rimentatio w ill ive to try people a re expens rying them a nd r om t h old back f their time trying d all t hey’ll spen st o f not to fai l. If the co d falls though, an exper imentation he n preci pitously, t I mean falls f t im e l sp end a lot o people wil d instead o f n ot g, a n ex perimentin comes to f a il oal be fai ling, the g ar n s o m e t h in g to l e in formatively ried.” h ings you t from the t
  10. 10. The average Kenyan spends more than 50% of their disposable income on mobile services.
  11. 11. 1. Tinkering is the new inventing
  12. 12. “Economic growth occurs whenever people take resources and rearrange them in ways that are more valuable. A useful metaphor for production in an economy comes from the kitchen. To create valuable final products, we mix inexpensive ingredients together according to a recipe.” - Paul Romer
  13. 13. What would happen if everyone had the freedom to tinker and adapt their telephone networks?
  14. 14. 2. Emergence is the new order
  15. 15. From a mechanistic metaphor...
  16. 16. ... to a more organic, living metaphor
  17. 17. Telephone Internet Infrastructure Infrastructure
  18. 18. What would happen if we could deploy telephone networks more like Internet networks?
  19. 19. 3. Quantity is the new quality
  20. 20. Google's Search Servers Lots of inexpensive commodity technology outperforms expensive custom made servers.
  21. 21. What would happen if telephone infrastructure were so cheap anyone could deploy it?
  22. 22. 4. Atoms are the new bits
  23. 23. The Cantenna
  24. 24. What would happen if we could design our own telecom infrastructure?
  25. 25. paradigm shift
  26. 26. 1995 Walled gardens
  27. 27. 2009 Walled gardens
  28. 28. expensive, locked down telecoms in Africa + cheap, tinkerable, broadband technology = opportunity
  29. 29. Village telco workshop June 2008
  30. 30. OpenWRT – A linux distribution for embedded devices Asterisk – a telephony development toolkit Afrimesh – mesh management and mapping tool A2Billing – an Open Source billing system for Asterisk
  31. 31. Elektra Rael Lissoos David Rowe
  32. 32. Come join us!
  33. 33. Creative Commons Spice Market by GavinBell WRT54G by pabojon BY NC ND BY NC SA Eric Schmidt, Sergey Brin, and Larry Page by Joi Linksys WRT54G Hacking by RobotSkirts BY BY SA before the Internet... by Esthr Day 107 – Tinkering by JonSaunders BY NC network neurons 2 by gerard79 Mosquitoe BY BY NC With Age Comes Complexity by Ecstaticist Google Server by NiallKennedy BY NC SA BY NC
  34. 34. Creative Commons Paradigm shift keyboard USB hub installed into ASUS eeepc by ©h@n BY NC SA BY NC ND Internet Map hello, world by oskay 024.jpg BY BY Eyes of Fubuki, #2 by krazydad / jbum Informal Settlement - by imraani BY NC SA BY NC SA time by ŽakQ100 BY NC SA Pop!Tech 2008 - Clay Shirky by Pop!tech BY
  35. 35. Steve Song Telecommunications Fellow Shuttleworth Foundation email: blog: skype: steve_l_song twitter: stevesong