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BYTESFORALL: Jan 22, 2001

January 23, 2001: This message was distributed by Papyrus News. Feel free to forward this message to others, preferably with this introduction. For info on Papyrus News, including how to (un)subscribe or access archives, see <>.

Date: Mon, 22 Jan 2001 16:20:57 +0530
From: Frederick Noronha <>
Subject: BYTESFORALL: Jan 22, 2001 issue

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_/ b . y . t . e . s . f . o . r . a . l . l. issue dated 22 Jan 2001
_/ u n s u b s c r i p t i o n info at the end of the message
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BYTES FOR ALL web site ( has been designated by the Library as one of the top Web sites for social entrepreneurs, and has been entered into the collection at ( is an initiative of Ashoka - Innovators for the Public and is the leading Web site that focuses on the rapidly growing world of social entrepreneurship. Its mission is to provide inspiration, resources, and opportunities for those interested in social change throughout the world. Congrats to Partha Sarkar <> who is the person primarily working on creating and updating the web site.

LOW-COST RADIO NETWORKS, DATA THRU THE PC: Atul Asthana <> is looking to provide low cost radio networks for villages to exchange data thru PCs. He writes: "The prime objective is to improve quality of life and empower villagers to take control of their fate. This requires extending PC based networks to villages in the local language. The connectivity is a bottleneck. POTS cannot be relied upon. I guess the best alternative is V/UHF radio based ip network. The requisite hardware and software (for communication) needs to be located."
Asthana says the idea is to provide a communication terminal (PC) with information retrieval and uploading apps running, so that a villager can findout rates in local 'mandi' (market) , post complaints to an official or the village doctor can refer to some medical expertise or get some governmental info. This requires a single terminal in a village (to start with), operating in local lingo (rather script) and manned by a person who is literate and can operate the terminal. The bandwidth requirements are max 10kbps (at present), and he's looking at the use of old discarded PCs operating Linux and connecting thru (presently POTS) a radio network. Low-cost of operation, infrastructure and good reliability would be critical factors. "I'll need your help in any aspect viz. hardware, connectivity, end application, user education (and requirement of villagers). I've gone thru the WLL, packet radio, GSM etc. tech/cost analysis and none of these seem to be fit, they are either overkill on cost or technology (read complexity) or not suitable for web based/IP networks (full duplex connectivity)," writes Asthana.
PROF ASHOK JHUNJHUNWALA, OF IIT-MADRAS <> responded to say that the technology they've been working on -- CorDECT WLL -- is "a very cost-effctive solution if you want one or two telephones in every village in a taluk (sub-district). It provides telephone and Internet simultaneously. We are installing it for small businesses."
ARUN MEHTA <> IN DELHI SUGGESTED THAT in a low-density rural environment, where there are no phones, you have to look for wireless connectivity. The only frequency band (in India) for which it is relatively easy to get a license within a few months is the 2.4 GHz. Equipment is available for the purpose, but that isn't yet cheap..." Dr Mehta also suggested that satellite broadcasting could work out "fairly inexpensive" if a large number of villages all wanted this. But the problem of the "return path" still remained, and for this wireless is a "viable possibility".

CHINA WEB USERS TOP 22.5 MILLION, BUT GROWTH SLOWS: China says more than 22.5 million of its 1.3 billion people are now on the Internet, but industry watchers said on growth cooled over the last six months because the keenest users like students and young urbanites were already signed up. Future growth prospects remained bright, however, thanks partly to a recent drop in telephone fees. The cuts will help make Internet use mainstream by attracting low-income families, analysts said. China's number of Web surfers more than doubled in 2000 to 22.5 million from 8.9 million, the China Internet Network Information Center (CNNIC) said.

RESOURCES ON INTERNET IN AFRICA: Geoffrey Williams <> says that probably the best resource on internet in Africa is Mike Jensen's work at

PHONE-TO-PHONE, VIA THE NET: INTER-FONE, U.S.A. has announced the launch of their latest phone-to-phone communication system. The Inter-Fone (IF-T-130) card uses state-of-the-art technology to send and receive voice signals over any TCP/IP Protocol connection on Dial up, DSL, Broadband, Cable connection for Internet, Intranet, LAN, Lease line or V-SAT connection. This lowers the long distance calling cost, since all the calls are made at normal local telephone billing. URL:

ONLINE COURSE, ICTs FOR THE THIRD WORLD: Dr Barbara Fillip <> is developing this course, and a tentative syllabus is posted at (click "online Course) Barbara Fillip, is a researcher/consultant at Arlington, VA.

THE NET IN INDIA, LUXURY FOR A FEW: With a high poverty level and unequal income distribution, web access in India is limited to the privileged few that can afford it. Internet use in India currently stands at 0.4 percent of the adult population, or 1.8 million people. Although the online population is expected to grow, the highly unequal distribution of income in India means that only a small proportion of the population can be considered potential Internet users. One obstacle facing the growth of India's online population is the country's poor telecoms infrastructure. At 2.2 lines per 100 citizens, telephone penetration in India is extremely low. Many of the lines that do exist are not of a high enough quality to support adequate Internet connection speeds. [SOURCE:]

INDIA- INTERNET USAGE DOUBLES: CT Mahabharat writes that Internet reach in India has doubled in the last six months. From a total subscriber base of 1,022,754 in March, the number of Internet subscribers shot up to 2,045,509 in September.

KNOWNET OFFERS UPDATES relating to ICTs and knowledge networking. The KnowNet initiative centers around using and propagating ICT models for creating an open system for recognising, valuing, enriching and sharing of local knowledge, in parallel with human capacity building efforts. This will lead to a two-way process of people accessing information and knowledge for development and also information and knowledge finding its way to the probable users.
Some resources have already been developed and hosted on the website at under the KnowNet Initiative namely KnowNet Weaver - a tool kit for creation of interactive websites and TechKnowNet - an email administered /on-line training course for web development for layperson. Both these resources are free and are being put to use through the help of remote KnowNet volunteers, says Vikas Nath <>

Equal Access (or, = access) is a digital satellite broadcasting service dedicated to serving the news, education, health and development needs of poor communities within the developing world. It will work closely with on-the-ground development organizations to create communications campaigns and educational programmes. = access will provide multiple high-quality digital radio networks and additional multimedia services. It will support the delivery of these services to rural and urban poor communities through the donation of community-based receivers, computers and solar power systems. Contact Kimberly Weichel <> SOURCE: The Drum Beat Jan 15, 2001

EDUCATIONAL VIDEOS FROM INDIA: This is an Indian governmental initiative to disseminate educational material produced by four apex Indian organisations: National Council of Educational Research and Training (NCERT), National Open School (NOS), Indira Gandhi National Open University (IGNOU) and the Consortium for Educational Communication (CEC). E-mail: URL

PAKISTAN PLAN TO INSTALL WIRELESS LOCAL LOOP: TeleCard Ltd., has entered into a joint venture with Pakistan Telecommunication Ltd., to set up and install a wireless local loop costing $126 million. TeleCard and PTCL plan to install 125,000 wireless card payphones by the year 2004. The wireless local loop (WLL) network will provide services to urban, semi-urban and rural areas. It will utilise state of the art of wireless technology, which offers numerous benefits including higher network capacity, scalability, wide area coverage, exceptional voice quality and high- speed data communication capabilities. [Info through mailing list/Irfan Khan] ml?Telecommunications

PERMISSION FOR SATELLITES FOR RURAL COMMUNICATIONS: Gary Garriott <> informs that the US Federal Communications Commission has authorized VITA to operate two low orbiting satellites that constitute the VITAsat 'virtual constellation.' In late November 2000 the FCC granted VITA Special Temporary Authority to operate the HealthSat-2 satellite and a transponder on the UoSAT-12 satellite, which VITA calls VITAsat-1R and VITAsat-2. Both satellites will be used in an innovative system to provide communications services to isolated rural areas of Third World countries. The temporary authority allows VITA, in coordination with its partners Wavix (, SatelLife, (, and Surrey Satellite Technology, Ltd. ( to begin operations after nearly a decade of development, experimentation, and demonstration. VITAsat will deliver sustainable, low-cost communications and information services for humanitarian purposes to remote communities having no access to line-based or wireless telephone service. VITAsat's targeted information content and services are designed specifically to meet the needs of small businesses, local NGOs (non-governmental organizations), educators, health workers, researchers, administrators, agricultural extensionists, natural resources managers and other relief and development workers. The system uses simple, reliable, store-and-forward email messages relayed to the Internet via the orbiting satellites and gateway stations. Advanced compression technology and software that allows access to web pages using email make the vast information resources of the web available via VITAsat anywhere in the world.

SOFTWARE FOR THE DISABLED: Prema Prabakar <> writes from a non-profit organisation working for the disabled. She says: "We have joined hands with Indira Ghandhi College Trichy (South India) to develop softwares for assisting disabled.The Computer Science department of the college and the principal Dr.K.Meena are assisting in this task." This was earlier announced in the journal of the Computer Society of India, a national-level body of professionals.

CELLULAR OPERATORS HEAR A RURAL BEEP: Reports in The Economic Times (Mumbai, India) reports that operators across India are seeing more than 50 per cent of all incremental growth in cellular business coming from small towns and rural areas. Says the report: "And we are not talking about the now legendary mobile-toting rich farmers atop tractors. The cellular has reached the man on the cycle, the fisherman and the village sarpanch in not so prosperous villages and towns."

PAKISTAN -- UNDP PROJECT TO BOOST I.T. EDUCATION: Nadeem Hameed <> reports that UNDP resident representative Onder Yucer has presented a feasibility report for the Virtual Information Technology University / South Institute of Information Technology (VITSU/SIIT). Prepared by the UNDP for the Government of Pakistan, the report provides a basis, both technical and financial, to set up the VITU/SIIT at an envisaged total cost of Rs. 1.193 billion (US $21 million).
Based on the fact that there is a severe shortage of quality IT faculty in Pakistan, and a growing demand for large numbers of qualified IT graduates both within and outside Pakistan, the Virtual Information Technology University (VITU) would be expected to bring together a critical mass of experienced faculty to provide world-class education in the IT sector to a large student body. Student enrolment is expected to reach 96,000 after five years.

IT TO FIGHT POVERTY: Dr.Bhausaheb Ubale <> of the International Centre for Eradication of Poverty suggests a pilot project in District Satara in Maharashtra State. The Centre will be divided into two sections: (1) Computer lab. for training trainers, computer literacy training to students and others in villages; and also training in hardware maintainance. (2) Information and Communication /Technologies Centre and Community Resource Centre which will provide diverse information services in response to community needs: public telephone and fax, government service directories, regional employment listings, agricultural prices from brokers in several cities, posting crop and pest observations for the agricultural extension agent, electronics mail for distance education radio courses, and self-placed training, and information about appropriate technology and its applications.
At the end Dr.Ubale requested people of Indian origin settled in the West to donate their skills and expertise in every field. He added that "our efforts are not charity driven; they are designed to empower poor people. It is a fact that a large number of people in India are caught up in the poverty trap. Hence, it is particularly important for us (people from India settled in the West) to recognize that we have a moral responsibility to help those whom we have left behind and who are struggling to break the cycle of poverty".

bYtES For aLL is a voluntary, unfunded venture. CopyLeft, 2000.
bYtES For aLL volunteers team includes: Frederick in Goa, Partha in Dhaka, Zunaira in Karachi, Zubair in Islamabad, Archana in Goa, Arun-Kumar in Darmstadt, Shivkumar in Mumbai, Sangeeta in Nepal, Daryl in Chicago and Gihan in Sri Lanka. To contact them mail
TO UN / SUBSCRIBE simply send a message to with UNSUBSCRIBE BfA or SUBSCRIBE BfA as the subject line.

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Last updated: January 28, 2001 in Hot Metal Pro 6.0