More and more products are being developed which enable disabled and disadvantaged consumers to gain access to mobile telecommunications. Whether that be OwnFone — the simplified, affordable phone that only makes and receives calls, or Sesame the touch free smartphone, these devices are ensuring that telecommunication is available to everyone across the western world.
Now, Berkeley-based start-up Endaga have identified another massively deprived market — rural communities living in the remotest corners of the world where telecoms aren’t likely to extend the grid any time soon. Endaga believe that in the meantime, a new local ownership model, alongside CCN1 — their community cellular relay station — can help them to bring cellular access to the next billion potential customers. CCN1 is a satellite telco-in-a-box which can be attached to a tall pole or even a tree and will provide enough cell signal to serve an entire small town.
Endaga are selling the CCN1 box to businessmen and women in rural communities at a flat rate of USD 6000. Endaga oversee technical set-up and configuration — including providing phone numbers and radio frequency management. From there the local person takes over — building their own small-scale, independent cellular network, and with it, a profitable, independent business.
Endaga CCN1 requires power and internet coverage and provides voice, SMS and data service to standard GSM phones — including those already owned by customers. It runs on dedicated 2G frequencies and the network owner is able to set their own prices to ensure the network is self-suffient.
Teach a person to fish and feed them for a lifetime as the saying goes. Are there any other services which could be outsourced to local people to help spread technology in the developing world?