Broadband for Good Program 2012 Midyear Update

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Inveneo’s Broadband for Good™ Initiative was formally launched in January 2012 with the goal of accelerating access – high quality broadband access of 1 Mbs or more – to those who need it most in underserved or rural areas across emerging markets and the developing world. Our goals for Broadband for Good are:

  • Launch a 3-year initiative to catalyze rural broadband delivery models;
  • Build an expert team that will codify Inveneo’s lessons learned in deploying broadband ecosystems into a framework that can be applied to create context appropriate models in a variety of regions that can be successfully demonstrated and scaled;
  • Build an advisory board of experts and a collaborative alliance of organizations that have complementary goals and that can help drive progress on a regional or global scale;
  • Identify and invest in demonstration network administration and monitoring systems that can accelerate rural service delivery by allowing easier and lower cost system integration;
  • Implement an array of demonstration projects with a range of delivery models with partners in East Africa and other underserved areas including South America and the Caribbean.

It’s with great excitement that we share BB4G’s significant momentum in the updates below:

Building the Team

We have engaged a team of seasoned professionals, who collectively represent years of hands-on experience delivering technical solutions in low-resource environments and working in the international telecommunications, high tech and international development industries.

Advisory Panel

In addition to the core expert team, BB4G is developing an Advisory Panel composed of individuals/experts, whose skills, relationships and experience can be leveraged to further BB4G goals. The goal is to launch the board in September.

Outreach and Engagement in Broadband Initiatives

BB4G team members have already begun reaching out to existing and nascent broadband initiatives, engaging in conversations and new initiatives at both the national and global levels. From this effort, it has become clear that understanding of the potential of broadband for development is at a peak, with many global organizations actively engaged in developing broadband strategies and seeking implementation models which can prove viable/fundable.

Inveneo has also identified a targeted set of community events over the next few months that are driving broadband dialogue and deployments. These include:

Framework and Process Development

A core component of the Broadband for Good initiative is to deliver a comprehensive framework for project deployments so that our experience can become a practice, repeatable by Inveneo and our partners and ultimately the telecommunications community at large.

Depending upon the specifics of the potential project, the Rural Broadband Framework methodology and BB4G modeling tool will produce a plan with components relevant to that country and region, including (for example) identification of anchor tenants, telecom policy approaches, open access and shared asset options, technical solution sets, network administration and monitoring systems plug-ins, local entrepreneur identification and training processes, business models and sales marketing templates. We are developing the replicable framework for use in our demonstration projects later this year and with a plan to release to the community at large in 2013.

Committed and Current Demonstration Projects

The launch of the Broadband for Good initiative has enabled Inveneo to reach out within the development and telecoms community to identify opportunities to demonstrate a wide range of broadband projects around the world. Each of the demonstration projects below has similar characteristics: the lack of dependable and affordable access, pre-identified anchor tenants to subscribe to and benefit from the broadband, use of low-cost technology to deliver more cost effective designs, and the participation of local carriers.

  • Dadaab Connect, Kenya: Inveneo and partners NetHope and USAID identified opportunities to bring better, more reliable Internet and interagency communications to the many humanitarian agencies working in the Dadaab, Kenya region. By working with Cisco’s TacOps we installed and configured a local high-speed which has already enabled the humanitarian agencies to function better, to communicate among themselves and to support overall operations. As the new network architecture is tried and proven to be more reliable and cost effective, it will be extended to the general population via sustainable outreach community centers that support learning, resettlement and economic empowerment. The Dadaab Connect project is funded by Inveneo’s Broadband for Good Program, Cisco, Microsoft, NetHope, Craig Newmark, the Orr Family Foundation, UNHCR, and USAID’s Global Broadband Innovations Program.
  • Internet Now!, Northern Uganda: In partnership with Oxfam Novib, Arid Lands Information Network and Samasource, Inveneo is launching an ambitious large-scale WiFi network across northern Uganda. The project will establish a MicroTelco (micro-telecommunications company) with 100 “service & employment” location centers across the region. Internet Now! has been funded through a prestigious competition hosted by the Dutch Postcode Lottery with Oxfam Novib as the project lead.

New Demonstration Projects

We are currently exploring demonstration projects with many partners in East Africa, the Caribbean, South America and Oceania. These potential projects include a range of broadband demonstrations:

  • Localized rural broadband projects for organizations (healthcare, education, libraries)
  • Backhaul projects that would affect access and lower costs for an entire country
  • Regional projects that would demonstrate the entire eco-system model

Technology

As part of the program’s toolkit, BB4G intends to facilitate development of both network management and customer provisioning software to support our NGO/enterprise and individual client broadband services. These will be part of a suite of cloud-based operational support systems (OSS) and business support systems (BSS) services, including:

  • Support for multiple carriers/resellers on the same network with privacy management, separate accounting and reporting;
  • Product ordering, both pre-paid and post-paid, supporting scratch card and SMS purchases, invoicing and detailed billing.
  • Bandwidth shaping on an individual session or user basis
  • Network congestion management;
  • Customized splash web pages to tailor for carrier selected or access point location.

The BB4G team will call upon its telecoms expertise in order to design truly innovative tools for the initiative. We are actively engaging in dialogues with many organizations – about needs, and potential tools for open source and shared low cost OSS/BSS infrastructure.

Continued Program Development

Inveneo’s goal is to deliver the Broadband for Good initiative as a three-year program with an estimated budget of $5 Million. At the completion of the program, the goal is to have three viable demonstration projects – but we anticipate having many more – and the tools and framework to bring these and many more to regional and national scale.

To date, Inveneo has received nearly half of the total budget from generous supporters that include Google, Cisco, the Orr Foundation and Craig Newmark. (Thank you!)

We aim to build support for the core and demonstration project program through engaging new organizations that are committed to accelerating social and economic impact through technology. We are seeking additional support from foundations, corporations, bilateral and multilaterals organizations and local governments with interest in funding the core concept, technical solutions and/or country level demonstration projects.

If would want more information or would like to participate as a partner in Broadband for Good, please contact us at broadbandforgood@inveneo.org.

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  1. Posted by Inveneo on July 18, 2012 in the categories: News
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