Iinternet Society And Digital Empowerment Foundation Launch Initiative To Bring The Next Billion Onl

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1st November 2010, 07:48pm - Views: 2109

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Internet Society and Digital Empowerment Foundation Launch Initiative To Bring the Next Billion Online

DELHI, India, Nov. 1, 2010 /PRNewswire-AsiaNet/ --

    The Internet Society, in partnership with the Digital Empowerment

Foundation (DEF), today announced a joint initiative - "Empowering

Communities through Wireless Connectivity" - designed to get India's rural

communities connected. The programme includes wireless connectivity workshops

and the deployment of wireless mesh networks in 4 states.

    The aim of the programme is to reduce the digital divide in India by

enabling Internet access in rural areas. In addition, it is designed to

stimulate the creation content, product and services originating from rural

areas. This will enhance linguistic and cultural diversity, help build the

rural economy and bring the next billion online.

    Despite its 700 Million fixed and mobile phone subscribers, there is a

significant difference between urban and rural areas in India. The Internet

divide between the haves and the have-nots is even wider, to some extent

because deploying a traditional communications infrastructure is often not

economically viable for either service providers or subscribers. However,

wireless technologies have much to offer in delivering cost-effective

connectivity down to the last house in a village.

    "The Internet Society is built on the belief that access to the Internet

drives innovation, opportunities for education and economic prosperity,"

commented Jon McNerney, Internet Society Chief Operating Officer. "Through

this initiative, even villages where houses do not have connecting roads can

have access to the Internet. The Internet Society approach is to create a

sustainable environment by simultaneously deploying infrastructure and

training the communities to use it."

    The initiative will deploy five wireless mesh based community networks in

rural locations across India, starting with Chanderi (Madhya Pradesh),

followed by Tura in Garo Hills (Meghalaya), Tilonia in Ajmer (Rajasthan),

Kolhapur (Maharashtra) and Tehri (Uttarakhand) over the next twelve months.

Wireless Mesh Networks are well suited for this environment as each node in

the network is configured to connect with other nearby nodes in a mesh

arrangement. This allows a higher up-time for the network as network traffic

is routed automatically around non functioning nodes. This arrangement also

allows the networks to achieve extended reach.

    Communities are empowered by means of a structured "Train the Trainer"

programme that equips participants with the information they need to design,

deploy and operate wireless networks, and to train community members in their

deployment and operation.

    "Internet connectivity is a basic need of the citizens of India," added

Mr. Jyotiraditya Scindia, Member of Parliament, Guna, Madhya Pradesh and

Minister of State, Ministry of Commerce and Industry for India when he was

informed of the developmental initiative. "The establishment of a wireless

Internet infrastructure in Chanderi is a great step forwards and I am happy

to extend all support for its sustainability as member of Parliament of the


    The Internet Society is an international organisation dedicated to

ensuring the open development, evolution and use of the Internet for the

benefit of people throughout the world. DEF works in the domain of ICT and

Digital Content enablement at the grassroots level. DEF and the Internet

Society, in association with NIXI (National Internet Exchange of India), are

also working at the Panchayat level in India to bring digital inclusion to

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the last mile governance level where citizens are directly linked with the


    About the Internet Society

    The Internet Society is a non-profit organization founded in 1992 to

provide leadership in Internet related standards, education, and policy. With

offices in Washington, D.C., and Geneva, Switzerland, it is dedicated to

ensuring the open development, evolution, and use of the Internet for the

benefit of people throughout the world. More information is available at:


    DEF website: http://www.defindia.net

    SOURCE: The Internet Society

    CONTACT: Osama Manzar of DEF



             or Anya Chambers



             or Rajnesh D. Singh


             both of The Internet Society

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