Access to information is predicated on the access to a digital infrastructure. However, access to electricity and the Internet remain elusive for a significant percentage of the world's population, let alone a sustainable access in one’s local language, local context, and relating to local culture. This paper examines the issues of resource constraints, and proposes a framework to classify them. It then proceeds to utilize this framework to look at three different case studies of implementations of offline Internet access in Madagascar, Jamaica and India.
Presented at IEEE ISTAS 2016. http://istas2016.org
A Framework for Information Access in Rural and Remote Communities
A Framework for Information Access
in Rural and Remote Communities.
Presented at: ISTAS 2016
October 20-22, 2016
Trivandrum, Kerala, India
Sameer Verma, Ph.D.
Professor, Information Systems
San Francisco State University
San Francisco, CA 94132 USA
Sameer Verma, Ph.D.
● Professor, Information Systems
● College of Business
● Interests: Access to Information,
Remote/offline networks, Free
and Open Source Software,
Digital Commons, Open Data.
● Universal access to the Internet
– Tool for empowering
– Take ownership
– Build capability and capacity
● Analyze very specific, but central problems in the field
● Propose a framework
– Access to electricity
– Access to the Internet
● Three case studies
– Madagascar, Jamaica, India
Access to Information
● The limited scalability of analog access
● 48.6% of the world's population is connected
● Internet access is not a binary variable (yes/no)
– Throughput, latency, etc.
● High variance in use cases
– Email, Web, Netflix
Access to Electricity
● 1.2 billion people live without any form of
– South Sudan is at 5.06%
– Samoa sits at 100%
● Rural electrification rate sits at 67%
– Latin America: 85%
– Africa: 26%
● Low-powered mobile devices
● Year-on-Year (YoY) growth of 9.8% in 2015
(1.43 billion units shipped)
● Expect to ship 1.86 billion units in 2019
● Estimated mobile devices worldwide: 4.61
– Town of Maroantsetra in eastern Madagascar.
– Surrounding rural villages not on the electrical grid.
– Non-traditional power sources such as water
turbines, solar panels and diesel generators.
Jamaica: Content Delivery
● Pathagar (http://pathagar.info)
– Python Django
– OPDS: Open
– Learning Management
– Class-based materials
– Bhagmalpur, a small village in Uttar Pradesh, India.
● Hundred kilometers north of Varanasi.
– Unreliable electrical grid.
● Solar + diesel generators.
– Unreliable Internet access.
● 2G/3G dongle.
● Begin with the use case.
● Examine access to electricity.
● Examine access to the Internet.
● Select network infrastructure technology.
● Select content delivery technology accordingly.
● Focus on off-the-shelf equipment.
● Focus on Commons licensing.
● Community participation
● Learning analytics
Bailey, A., McNaughton, M., Muschette, N. and Verma, S. (2015) The
Role of ICTs in Early Childhood Education in Jamaica: Early
Observations from a One Laptop per Child Pilot Project. Caribbean
Journal of Education. Vol 37, No. 1