Bringing Communications to the Rural Edge


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New technologies are making it possible to bring connectivity out to places previously out of reach. These low cost, low power demand solutions have already been deployed around the world and are being used in areas like Sudan and the DRC.
We’ll hear from Troy Etulain, Senior Advisor for Media Development at USAID and Ian Walter, Vice President of Technology at Altobridge, as they discuss the use of low cost, low power demand communication solutions in USAID programs.

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Bringing Communications to the Rural Edge

  1. 1. GBI Tech SeriesBringing Telecommunications to the Rural Edge November 17, 2011
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  3. 3. Low-energy, Low-cost Wireless Communications for Remote Communities November 2011
  4. 4. Identification of the RemoteCommunities Market and its Size• It is estimated that there are over 5 Billion mobile subscribers in the world today.• Further more it is estimated that there are more subscribers in the developing world than there are in the developed world.• It is estimated that the number of subscribers will exceed 6 Billion by 2014. For this to happen operators will have to deploy services in more remote and sparsely populated areas and face the following challenges • Lack of grid based power • Lack of Copper, Microwave or Fiber backhaul • Current business cases do not apply.
  5. 5. Identification of the RemoteCommunities Market and its Size• The GSM Association estimates that 75,000 new off grid mobile communications sites will be built per year in developing countries to address this growth.• The World Bank estimates that 3 out of every four people in the developing world live in rural areas. That’s 2.1 Billion people.• Therefore operators are going to have to find innovative and cost effective ways to connect these billions of rural inhabitants. “Extending those networks to poor rural areas proves to be difficult for operators in terms of business rationale and cost justification” Al Hammond and Loretta Michael HMS Wireless, Innovations, published by MIT Press.
  6. 6. Remote CommunitiesThe Key Challenges• A combination of competition between the equipment vendors, government subsidies and initiatives such as the GSMA’s ultra low cost handsets have combined to drive down the network and handset cost for service providers but site, backhaul and power costs remain high.• Non of the above initiatives address the operational costs that operators face when deploying sites in remote communities. “Leading vendors have struggled to provide operators with a solution, which addresses the required ROI. As a result, it is estimated that almost 1,000,000 remote communities remain outside the worlds telecommunications network” Ericsson
  7. 7. Remote CommunitiesSatellite Backhaul• While the price of network equipment and terminals has fallen steadily since the introduction of GSM networks 1991, the transmission costs have not tracked these same deflationary trends.• It is now estimated that anything from 15% to 80% of the total cost of ownership of a BTS relates to transmission costs.• It is also estimated that a large proportion of this transmission cost is as a result of traffic that is local. i.e. traffic that is between subscribers on the same BTS or adjacent BTS’.• Industry estimates for this local traffic is as high as 70% to 80%.
  8. 8. Remote CommunitiesSatellite Backhaul $16,000 Ku-band $14,000 C-band DVB-RCS $12,000 $10,000 $8,000 $6,000 $4,000 $2,000 Source: $0 90 91 92 93 94 95 96 97 98 99 00 01 02 VSAT Terminal Pricing Trends
  9. 9. Remote CommunitiesPower• The other major OPEX challenge for remote sites is power.• Almost all remote sites are off grid and therefore connections if available are prohibitively expensive ($100K).• Alternative power solutions are the only option. These fall into the following categories: • Diesel Generators • Solar Power • Wind Turbines • Hybrid Solutions• A regular GSM base station requires anywhere between 600 and 1800 Watts of power.
  10. 10. Remote CommunitiesPower• Generators are not a viable option due to: • The logistics and cost of refueling the generators • Potential theft of the generator • Theft of the Diesel fuel• Solar Power is the best solution but can prove expensive due to the cost of the batteries if the Base Station power requirements are not optimized.• The cost of Solar panels is continuing to fall.• However the largest cost of a solar installation is the battery backup required for night time or days where there is no or little sun.
  11. 11. Remote CommunitiesThe Site• The CAPEX cost for the site is also a key consideration• Standard Base Stations towers can be cost prohibitive in remote communities due to the construction costs. • All of the tower materials have to be transported to the remote site. • Tall towers require large amounts of concrete for the foundations. • In many remote areas concrete becomes solid during transportation due to the humidity. • Out door base stations are a necessity as shelters are not required. • The site must be secure to stop the theft of any equipment. But this is less likely with solar power and outdoor base stations.
  12. 12. OPEX barriers for operators inremote communities
  13. 13. Remote Communities Solution Low capital cost & low operating cost solution 80% less70% local calls = lower cost satellite backhaul& superior voice quality Wireless + Internet Reliable off-grid solar power Up to 50% lower operating cost
  14. 14. Remote Communities Solution Traditional model New solutionlarge tower structure, air-con, Small, rapidly deployable, passively cooled,expensive, diesel powered low-cost, solar powered
  15. 15. Key Features of a remotecommunities solution Operating Expense Capital Cost • On-demand Power Control • Local Connectivity • Leverage “sleep mode” for VSAT • Keep payload local to site and/or • Lower power requirements clusters of sites • Average backhaul bandwidth reduced • Power Monitoring & Adaptation 50%, with improved call quality • Unique monitoring of power supply • Allows optimal dimensioning of solar • Backhaul Optimisation systems • Low rate Codec, Optimised IP • 50% savings over SCPC • Traffic Dependent Power Control • Intelligent power amplifier • Data Optimization management • Condensed Core Network Elements at • Lower power consumption the Edge, e.g. SGSN/GGSN • Enables implementation of standard • Smaller lower-cost VSAT and innovative IP Optimisation • Required for lower bandwidth
  16. 16. Tier 1 MNO Monthly RemoteCommunity Revenue Summary* $12,000 Monthly Voice Revenue Monthly SMS Revenue $10,000 $8,000 Average Monthly Voice Revenue per Site: USD$ 2,642 Average Monthly SMS Revenue per Site: USD$ 812 $6,000 $4,000 $2,000 $- * Actual monthly revenue data from Tier 1 MNO Remote Community deployments
  17. 17. Thank youFor further information please contact: Ian Walter e: t: +1 408 904 0327
  18. 18. The broad applicability ofLCLP Telecoms Solutions Eric White INTEGRA LLC 17 November 2011
  19. 19. The Three Tools of Telecoms Access TAFor different locations – ranked from most to leastaccessible 1. Legal/Regulatory/Competitiveness Consulting i. Lowers operational and capital costs to competitive firms while ensuring competition benefits consumer prices. 2. Universal Service Funds (USFs) i. Smart Subsidies of Capital Costs (CAPEX) for projects/infrastructure that will be self-sustaining (Revenues>OPEX) 3. Low-Cost/Low-Power Base Station Technology i. To reach the poorest and most remote populations (where OPEX would be > Revenues with standard infrastructure) ii. Can be deployed in conjunction with USFs. LCLP solutions connect the most remote locations!! 19
  20. 20. The Benefits of Connectivity Economic Development GrowthConnectivity Better Social Service Betterment Delivery
  21. 21. The Economic Benefits of ConnectivityControlling for all else,access to voice andbroadband is associatedwith big increase in GDP(10% to 1%)
  22. 22. How ICT causes economic growth in rural areas Income = f(productivity, human capital, investment)• Lowers search costs and transaction costs, making labor more productive.• Increases the rate of social learning (better workers = increased human capital)• Reduces risk (increasing investment)
  23. 23. How ICT increases rural productivity Lowers Lowers Search Costs Transaction Costs1. Voice, the killer app 1. Secure monetary2. Market information transactions systems
  24. 24. How ICT improves rural human capital Increases Social LearningFarm Extension Services • Disease Identification (Grameen AppLab “Community Knowledge Worker” Program) • Google SMS: Farmer’s Friend
  25. 25. How telecoms access increases investment in rural areas Reduces Risk• Forward Contracts• Input Verification• Warehouse receipts• M-InsuranceThese are just a few of the HUNDREDS of mobileproducts that improve economic growth in rural areas
  26. 26. Telecoms Solutions for Health• Health Systems Strengthening• Outbreak reporting• Behavior Change Communication• Telemedicine
  27. 27. Telecoms Solutions for Education• LCLP Base Stations can connect schools• Teacher attendance monitoring• Teacher payments• Educational games• Literacy improvement Photo credit: Project ABC
  28. 28. USAID contracting vehicles ready for this work Global Broadband and Innovations (GBI)• Has a mandate to work with telecoms operators and LCLP vendors to facilitate deployment of these technologies.• Offers a valuable online resource, that features articles about mobile interventions in health, education, and 6 other sectors that can be useful guides in crafting your programs.• Can offer tailored consulting to Missions and Bureaus on mobile for development programs.
  29. 29. Points of Contact Joe Duncan GBI Program Manager, USAID Eric WhiteManaging Associate, INTEGRA LLC