WITFOR 2009 arrow Commissions arrow Building the Infrastructure Commission arrow Parallel Sessions: Details
Building the Infrastructure Commission


Wednesday 26 August 2009

14.00 – 15.40

Parallel session 1: Support an enabling and competitive environment for the necessary investment in ICT infrastructure

Session chair:  Dr. Ramon Puigjaner, Spain


·       Competition Policies for sustainable development of ICT Infrastructure Case in Viet Nam, Le Thanh Hoa, Telecommunication Department, MIC, Vietnam

·       TelNek Computer Centre, Karthik Kumar, TelNek Computer Centre, India

·        W3C Mobile Web for Social Development Interest Group (MW4D), Stephane Boyera, France

·       An ICTD Research Agenda from the Trenches, Dr. Umar Saif, Lahore University of Management Sciences (LUMS), Pakistan

Wednesday 26 August 2009

16.00 – 17.40

Parallel session 2: Provide and improve connectivity (communications infrastructure) for all places accessible to the public, infrastructure maintenance and training for operation and maintence.

Session chair:  Dr. Siraj Shaikh, UK


·        Guifi.net, enabling telecommunications 2.0, Ramon Roca, GUIFI.NET Project, Spain

·        Wireless Africa, Kobus Roux, Manager of Emerging Innovations Group at CSIR Meraka Institute, South Africa

·        The Establishment of the Meraka Institute as a "project" of the South African Government, Denan Kuni, Meraka Institute, South Africa

·        The Emergence of Mobile-Centric Societies, Mark Anderson, Chief Technology Officer – Mobinnova, Taiwan

Thursday 27 August 2009

14.00 – 15.30

Parallel sessions 3: Infrastructure for development

Session chair:   Prof. Ana Pont, Spain


·       E-Sagu: an IT based Personalized Agro-Advisory System, T S Anurag, Media Lab Asia, India

·       The GSMA Development Fund, Sagar Gubbi, UK

·       Using wireless technology to improve Vietnam's broadband internet penetration,  Dr. Ray Owen - General Director of Motorola Vietnam & Head of Technology for Asia Home&Networks Mobility – Motorola, Vietnam


Thursday 27 August 2009

16.00 – 17.30

Parallel sessions 4: Training for operation and maintenance

Session chair:  Dr. Tran Tuan Anh, Vietnam


·        VNPT Networks, Ho Trong Dat, VNPT, Vietnam                 

·        Implications of Communication Mobility and the Mobile Web for Development, George Sadowski,  USA 

·        Maintenance planning at ICT infrastructures in rural areas of developing countries, ms Inés Bebea-González, EHAS Foundation, Universidad Rey Juan Carlos de Madrid, Spain


Summary of themes:

The Establishment of the Meraka Institute as a "project" of the South African Government  Speaker Mr. Denan Kuni, Meraka Institute, South Africa

The aim of this talk is to analyse how the Meraka Institute was originally conceptualized as an ICT University but has now become a national strategic initiative in the ICT space to address challenges in the firs economy (well developed and integrated with the global economy) and the second economy (characterized by informal economic activity and poverty). The Institute has metamorphisized to promoting social and economic development through a focus on human capital development and needs-based research and innovation, leading to products and services based on ICT. The Institute now also plays a strong role in collaboration and coordination with other actors in the National System of Innovation. 

Historic overview in terms of the conceptualization of the Meraka Institute through analysis of various strategies and business plans leading to an examination of current activities across the Institute. These include Human Language Technologies, Intelligent Environments for Independent Living (IE4IL), Digital Doorway, ICT in Education, Youth and Gender, ICTs for Rural Economic Development and Enterprise Development, Remote Sensing Unit, ICT for Earth Observation (ICT4EO), High Performance Computing, the Open Source Centre, SAP/Meraka UTD.


The GSMA Development Fund. Speaker Sagar Gubbi

The GSMA Development Fund leverages the industry expertise of the GSMA and its members, as well as the development expertise of international agencies and non-profit organisations to accelerate mobile services in three areas: Connectivity, Energy, and mServices.  Together with our partners we incubate and replicate new mobile services in communities where they can make a positive difference.

Our role and objectives:  We believe that doing good is good business. With more than three billion users, 'base of the pyramid' markets are the future for mobile growth and innovation. The mobile industry is therefore uniquely positioned to deliver economic and social value to these markets.  In order to drive developments in this area the Development Fund's role is to catalyse innovation, drive market scaling and increase knowledge networking to achieve the following objectives:

  • Increase the number of effective, scalable and replicable development initiatives using mobile technology in emerging markets.
  • Implement these initiatives in a scalable and sustainable fashion, bringing socio-economic benefits to individuals and communities.
  • Increase awareness among governments and the development community of how GSM technology acts as an agent of development and can be used to bridge the digital divide.

guifi.net, enabling ”telecommunications 2.0”. Speaker Mr. Ramon Roca


guifi.net have promoted the deployment of open telecommunications networks, based on peer to peer connection agreements, since 2004. Participants connect their own network segment with others. The network is open, free and neutral: Open because do publish complete information about how it works and its components, allowing the participation of everyone who is interested; Free because the conditions are the same for everyone: Do not have a single or corporatised owner who may impose unilateral conditions on others; and Neutral because the extent of the peer to peer agreement is limited to the terms of connectivity only, and not the content.

Open network models are good for the development of an information society. Due to openness, they are also a perfect scenario for affording equal opportunities to all and fair competition, where enterprises can provide their services and get a value from them instead of exploiting „acquired rights. By enabling user self-sufficiency, co-creation and participation, promoting best practices while using the unlicensed spectrum at the end results with a positive social and civic development through the technology. The network grows primarily by using wireless technologies and through various kinds of tools developed by the community (GIS, Collaborative web 2.0, Configuration tools, Network Status and Monitoring, etc.) to support this model of self-building/managed networks. Every participant is responsible for the management of her own network segment, and is open to contributions of others. We work with "as is" connectivity, together with the rest of the network without the need for a having service level commitment with third parties.

An ICTD Research Agenda from the Trenches. Speaker: Umar Saif, LUMS Pakistan

This talk outlines the ongoing research at Dritte.org. for bridging the digital divide. Based in LUMS, Pakistan, Research at Dritte.org is funded by Microsoft Research (MSR), USAID/US State Department, Higher Education Commission and the Punjab Information Technology Board. Dritte focuses on developing both hardware and software infrastructure, specifically designed for the physical, social and economic realities of developing countries. In the talk the outlines of  four key research projects are presented: (1) Poor Man’s Boradband, (2) Donatebandwidth.net, (3) Inverse-multipled GPRS, and (4) Developing-world Teleputer.


"Wireless Africa". Speaker Mr. Kobus Roux, Meraka Institute, South Africa

The underpinning philosophy of the Wireless Africa initiative is to develop and facilitate business models that support community owned networks whereby the infrastructure is owned and/or operated locally, local networking costs contained within the community and traffic is aggregated at the community level to save through bulk purchase of bandwidth.  In particular, the project objectives are to:

·        Build Wireless Africa capacity and network between organisations in different countries researching and building Community Owned Networks

·        To understand community environments, information and user needs of the poor; and in particular the cultural, gender and social values and priorities of these communities.

·        To research business models for Community Owned Networks, and approaches for replication and scalability.

·        To embrace and enhance the business models through development and implementation of open source, open hardware technologies and open access infrastructure.

·        To identify barriers (political, economic, social, technological and environmental) to a “Wireless Africa”, and propose strategies to overcome these barriers and influence institutional frameworks, regulatory considerations, national policies and telecommunication costs


Two specific technological interventions are also tested in the Wireless Africa, namely an open hardware voice-over-ip system and an open source wireless ISP management system. This project is currently funded by the Canadian IDRC, and started mid 2008 and will continue into 2010. The project involves collaborators from at least 10 different African countries, each implementing their own research test-beds in line with the above aims. 


W3C Mobile Web for Social Development Interest Group (MW4D). Speaker Stephane Boyera

The MW4D Interest Group explores how to use the potential of Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs) on Mobile phones as a solution to bridge the Digital Divide and provide minimal services (health, education, governance, business,...) to rural communities and under-privileged populations of Developing Countries. The MW4D is basing its actions in three directions:

·       Designing a roadmap: the potential of mobile phones as an ICT platform has been largely demonstrated in the last few years. Many success stories have demonstrated that simple services on mobiles can greatly improve people's live and increase their income. However, there are today only very few services existing, there are few contibutors, and there are very few people that have access to such services. Looking at the number of organizations working in the development sector, and the potential of mobile-ict to increase the impact of their work, it is critical to identify the key roadblocks that are existing today that prevent a larger adoption and use of these new technologies. The MW4D group is aiming at establishing a state-of-the-art (what is possible today) and a roadmap identifying key actions to launch to lower the barriers of authoring, deploying and accessing content and services on mobile.

·        Building a multi-stakeholder community: In order to have a fair assessment of the current situation, and to understand the most promising actions to launch in the future, it is critical to gather all the relevant parties in the definition of the mentionned roadmap. The MW4D group is also engaged in a community building activity, involving people from different sectors.

·        Developing a repository of resources: in order to leverage the use and implementation of mobile-based solutions, it is critical for all organizations to share what they are doing, the solutions they are using, and the impact they are having. This will not only leverage replication of working solution, and prevent people to spend time and money on re-developing already existing solutions. It is also a way to create connections between actors in the domain. The MW4D is developing a repository of resources including links to existing projects, involved organizations, information of mobile infrastructure and handset...

This repository (http://www.w3.org/2008/MW4D/wiki) is publicly available, and anyone can contribute to it.

e-Sagu: An IT based Personalized Agro-Advisory System. Speaker T S Anurag, Media Lab. India

The development of eSagu was started in the year 2004.  The eSagu system was implemented by delivering advisory to 1051 cotton farms for the farmers of three villages in Warangal district in Andhra Pradesh in India. eSagu is a tool  for  IT-based personalized Agro-Advisory system. (“Sagu” means cultivation in Telugu language.).  It aims to improve farm productivity  by  delivering high quality personalized (farm-specific) agro-expert advice in a timely manner  to each  farm at the farmer’s door-steps without farmer asking a question..  The advice is provided on regular basis (typically once a week) from sowing to harvesting which reduces the cost of cultivation and increases the farm productivity as well as quality of agri-commodities. In eSagu, the developments in IT such as (database, Internet, and digital photography) are extended   to improve the performance of   agricultural extension services.  eSagu offers next generation agricultural extension tool and  supplements and integrates into the  existing  agricultural extension system. 

So far, the agri-expert team of eSagu lab has delivered about Hundred Thousand (100,000) expert advices to Thirteen Thousand farmers on 32 different crops covering more than 200 villages in 7 districts of Andhra Pradesh. The aqua-expert team at eSagu lab has delivered about 11,500 expert advices to 500 aqua farmers on both fish and prawn. Besides agro-advisory, attempts are also being made to provide input and finance services under franchisee model. All the relevant soft-wares were developed and are pilot tested.    


Implications of Communication Mobility and the Mobile Web for Development. Speaker George Sadowski

The explosion of mobile communications devices is contributing another powerful tool to the arsenal of technical tools for economic and social development. The promise of information any time, anywhere has the potential to bring new and useful information to many people not yet connected.  There is already a surge in very useful applications based upon simpler mobile technologies.  What must we know and do to maximize the potential of this new technology for development?


Maintenance planning at ICT infrastructures in rural areas of developing countries. Speaker Inés Bebea-González, EHAS Foundation, Universidad Rey Juan Carlos de Madrid

ICT projects in rural areas of developing countries have an extremely low success ratio in terms of sustainability. The main difficulty arises from the fact that sustainability needs to be simultaneously achieved in several categories: economical, financial, institutional, technological, educational and capacity building, and social and cultural challenges.


The EHAS Foundation has developed various ICT solutions for providing connectivity and communication services in several Latin American countries. In 2005, EHAS deployed a broadband wireless network for the National Health System in the rural Amazonic region of Napo, in Peru. Connectivity was achieved usingWiLD (WiFi for Long Distance) technologies, and also some services are provided on top of the network, such as VoIP telephony, videoconferencing, chat and Internet access among others. This network connects 18 health facilities along Napo river (covering a distance larger than 500 km) with Iquitos Regional Hospital, and counts with a strong support and motivation from rural health staff. A mid-term objective at all EHAS projects is to transfer both knowledge and technology of the network to the Public Health System, which is intended not only to use it but also to operate and maintain the system. Although great efforts have been done in the fields of institutional and staff technology acceptance, as well as capacity building for both health and technical staff, since the Napo network is up, EHAS engineers have coped with operation and maintenance of the network.


The aim of this work is to analyze this situation in order to propose a methodology for achieving sustainability of ICT infrastructures deployed in rural isolated regions, via efficient operation, management and maintenance planning for such networks. Already in 2009, EHAS started a project related to the Napo network aiming to implement a Global Operational and Maintenance Plan that will establish: monitoring responsibilities, incidence report and management, reparation schedules, decision making protocols aimed for health masters, network information storage and update, stock and logistics management, and human resources management.


Within this project, EHAS expects that the effective assumption of this Plan and all related activities by the local institution will be a significant advance towards the achievement of sustainability.


TelNek Computer Centre. Speaker: Mr. Karthik Kumar.S

The Tel-Nek project started in May 2001 to cater to the computer literacy and education needs of the local community. Tel-Nek´s main objective is to foster community growth through training semi rural women in New Information and Communication Technologies (NICT). The project has consciously targeted the rural unreached. Now the centre is focusing on youth and children as well. The project envisages to bridge the digital divide and use ICT as the backbone to bring about rejuvenation and empowerment of the local community. Also Tel-Nek’s goal is to network with other like-minded organizations to create spaces for sharing and learning.  Tel-Nek was initiated with a Spanish organisation GAIA, and was funded for the 1st 2 years by the Basque government.

The Tel-Nek Centre aims to:

·        Bring about positive social transformation to improve the quality of life by empowering change agents like women and other disadvantaged groups using emerging, innovative ICT models with a long term focus on sustainability and geographic spread.

·        Raising employability and income levels of women.

·        To increase the participation of the community, by making them aware about the role of ICT and its usage in the process of development.

·        To deploy ICT solutions into the community in reduce the digital divide

·        To address the problem of digital exclusion by promoting the local language in the creation of content and training.

·        To address the acute shortage of Infrastructure in rural areas










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