The World Summit for Information … via Satellite
The following are a selection of some of the projects – both planned and operational – that were on display either at the WSIS exhibition or conference and that involve the use of satellite communications. As such, they demonstrated to the tens of thousands of delegates the essential role to be played by the satellite industry in bridging the digital divide:
Cambodian Education: In Cambodia, methods of transportation are doubling as ways of harnessing wireless technologies. Bernard Krisher, chairman of Japan Relief for Cambodia, exhibited a motorcycle with a rear-mounted box that is equipped to send e-mail messages to schools. An antenna on the top of the box and a Wi-Fi wireless communication system inside enable e-mails to be relayed to schools in 13 remote Cambodian villages via satellite dishes. These villages have no water, electricity or phones and are far from health centers, but they now have e-mail. The schools are equipped with solar panels to run a computer for six hours, with an e-mail link via a motorcycle delivery system. Every morning, five Honda motorcycles leave the hub in the provincial capital of Banlung, where a satellite dish, donated by Shin Satellite, links the provincial hospital and a special skills school to the Internet for telemedicine and computer training. The bike riders begin the day by collecting e-mails from the hub’s dish, which takes just a few seconds. Then, as they pass each school and one health center, they transmit the messages. At the end of the day, they return to the hub to transmit all the collected e-mail to the Internet for any point on the globe.
Peruvian Internet: USAID featured bi-directional satellite earth stations with solar panels and deep-cycle batteries that are used to provide Internet access in the rural areas of Churubamba, Huanuco Province, in Peru.
Chinese Elderly Care: Zhang Zhixin, vice president of the China National Committee on Aging, reported in a WSIS contribution that satellites are being used in Shanghai to support a network that provides Internet and other communications to the elderly. Included in the services are long-distance education and training.
Global Video Distribution: The European Broadcasting Union organized the use of the World Electronic Media Forum for distribution of live and rebroadcast WSIS video to universities and governmental institutions via Eutelsat, Nilesat, SES Astra, CFI Satellite, Globecast, SES Americom, AsiaSat and Intelsat.
Thai Distance Learning: The Distance Learning Foundation, established in commemoration of the Thai king’s golden jubilee, successfully deployed a satellite network linking 3,000 schools.
Global Distance Learning Initiative: A three-year agreement was announced by the ITU and Inmarsat involving the provision of rural distance-learning services based on its regional BGAN service. “The Inmarsat service, already a proven success in e-learning projects in the Middle East, will enable a quantum leap for educational communications in developing communities,” said Hamadoun Toure, director of the ITU’s Telecommunications Development Bureau.
Mozambique ICT: Access Lda, a Maputo-based ICT joint venture, plans to roll out a project involving the establishment of a satellite-based educational, health-delivery and “agro-economy” system.
Moroccan Education: A Telenor-owned Moroccan company, together with One Touch Systems’ interactive broadband systems, have recently begun to deploy a distance learning network for schools.
Ukrainian Connectivity: UNDP Ukraine plans to upgrade a network of public Internet access points and the network at the Ukrainian National Research and Education Network, potentially using satellites. Infocom, Ukrtelecom, LuckyNet and Global Ukraine are already using satellites to provide services.
Francophone African Tele-Medicine: Hospitaux Universitaires de Geneve plans to launch the RAFT Project, a network for tele-medicine and education in rural French-speaking Africa.
Indian e-Centers: The Department of Information Technology for the government of Kerala has launched the Akshaya Project, which envisions the use of satellites and other ICT systems for a network of tele-centers.
African Schools: The New Partnership for Africa’s Development (NEPAD) plans to launch a 500,000-site satellite-based network to link all African schools.