Growing Port au Prince’s Internet Network

In the past few days, Inveneo’s team in Haiti has achieved remarkable results. In the midst of the Port au Prince chaos, they’ve been able to deploy long-distance WiFi links between several NetHope member organizations, bringing high-speed Internet access – critical communication capacity – to relief agencies making a difference in Haitian lives.

Mark Summer and Andris Bjornson deployed connectivity to five sites for Save the Children, Catholic Relief Services, Concern Worldwide, and CARE.

Long-distance WiFi links to relief


Direct, Immediate, Impact

Save the Children’s main office is a large site, bustling with activity – at least 200 people working in the compound, cars constantly coming and going, all focused on Haiti relief efforts.

With many local and international staff, almost all on computers, they were maxing out their current link and in desperate need for more bandwidth and a more stable connection. The new link deployed by Inveneo has improved the network significantly, making their efforts more efficient and effective.

Catholic Relief Services also had an influx of staff since the earthquake in order to provide relief work. They now have more then 100 users on their network, were completely tapping out their previous bandwidth, and their network was becoming unstable. Their new, stable Internet access gives them faster, better connectivity with staff, organizations, and resources.

With our previous connection to Concern Worldwide, we were then able to reach a second Save the Children location – it’s only a 400 meter WiFi link but there were trees in the way for other angles. Inveneo deployed a WiFi link to Save and their emergency response team of 25 people quickly jumped on the new bandwidth. Once we have increased Internet bandwidth, they will add more people to this network link, expanding their impact.

Amidst Destruction, Life Rebounding

Driving more around recently, we saw a lot of the earthquake destruction up close. In some places we saw a whole hillside with small houses completely destroyed. Opposite of the Catholic Relief Services compound, a brand new multistory building that was still under construction completely crumbled, a three story concrete spiral staircase sticking lopsided out of the rubble.

Yet there are signs of efforts to return to normal life in Port-au-Prince. The local garbage pickup service seems to be running again, at least in some capacity. Some shops are starting to open. According to a Haitian aid worker, there was very little traffic in the days after the quake. Now, most obviously, cars are back on the streets. Unfortunately, this means traffic is often a complete snarl.

In front of the NGO compounds, you see crowds of Haitians standing with their credentials in envelopes hoping for a chance to interview for a job. People are eager to find real work. At Save the Children we were assigned a helper – a young Haitian by the name of Peedra. He told me he just got employed last week, he used to work at a Cybercafe and was eager to help and learn – opportunity can sometimes arise out of unfortunate circumstances.

Help Expand Our Impact

Thanks to NetHope, the EKTA FoundationAruba Networks, the Orr Foundation, and Steve and Andrea Okay, we have support for our initial deployment.

We are making an appeal for donations to cover the quickly escalating costs associated with our expanding Haiti relief efforts. We want to reach more organizations with broadband Internet access, and when appropriate, build out local capacity of Haitian ICT companies.

Please consider donating to Inveneo using PayPal or Google Checkout below. Inveneo is a US-based 501(c)3 non-profit charitable organization. If you are a US resident, your donation may be tax deductible.

All donations through January 31, 2010 will be used only for Haiti relief efforts, including the project to get connectivity to the major NGOs in Haiti.



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  1. Posted by Inveneo on January 27, 2010 in the categories: News, Relief
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