Inveneo High-Speed Broadband Archives

Partnership Expands ICT Support for Ebola Fight in West Africa

  1. Posted by Inveneo on January 21, 2015 in the categories: Events, External, News, Press
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DAVOS, SwitzerlandJan. 21, 2015 /PRNewswire/ — NetHope, a consortium of 42 leading international humanitarian organizations, announced today a partnership with Facebook, the Paul G. Allen Family Foundation, Cisco, EveryLayer and Inveneo to expand their support for effective communications capabilities to combat the Ebola outbreak in West Africa and promote sustainable recovery in the region.

The joint Ebola Response Connectivity Initiative (ERCI) will deliver high-speed broadband Internet access to Ebola responders based in hundreds of Ebola treatment facilities, NGO offices, and additional logistical hubs in Sierra LeoneLiberia and Guinea. Reliable communications capacity is an essential tool for response organizations combating the outbreak, which has killed more than 8,600 people according the World Health Organization. Slow, unreliable access to the Internet remains a major challenge for coordinating the Ebola relief effort, particularly in some of the hardest hit areas that lack any form of high-speed broadband. Existing networks have also been strained by the influx of relief workers and agencies in the region, increasing demand on the already fragile infrastructure. Effective ICT capacity enables rapid access and exchange of information, real-time case management and contact tracking, outbreak mapping, community mobilization, and supply and logistics management.

“Effective communications and information sharing is simply fundamental to the work of our teams and local partners fighting this complex emergency in West Africa,” said Nigel Chapman, CEO of Plan International, a global humanitarian organization providing community-based health centers, public health information campaigns, medical and food supplies, and training for health workers in West Africa. “The ability of our teams to access and share information in real time is not simply a matter of greater efficiency — it simply saves lives.”

The ERCI expands on the participating organizations’ support for rapid-deployment communications solutions delivered to West Africa in late 2014 to meet immediate needs on the ground. That initial support for Ebola response organizations included:

  • Facebook’s donation of 100 satellite terminals to provide emergency connectivity to high-priority locations within Ebola affected countries
  • Connectivity accelerator funds provided by the Paul G. Allen Family Foundation to increase existing connectivity at 45 locations, many of which will serve as connectivity distribution sites for ERCI
  • These initial deployments have provided emergency communications capability to more than 25 NetHope member NGOs and other response organizations with more than 3,000 staff and volunteers working on the frontlines of the crisis

“As we’ve worked together in recent months to support the connectivity needs of response organizations and impacted communities, there has been a clear recognition by all involved of two central facts: the scope of the challenge is enormous and communications capacity is essential for virtually every Ebola response related intervention,” said NetHope CEO Lauren Woodman. “This unique collaboration among global leaders in technology, philanthropy and the NGO sector harnesses their combined commitment, innovation and expertise to meet the immense challenges in both the short and long term.”

The joint initiative will significantly expand the scope and sustainability of the communications capacity, supporting thousands of response workers and ultimately millions of individuals through:

  • Deployment and operation of additional infrastructure and equipment in the impacted countries through support from Facebook and the Paul G. Allen Family Foundation. This will be based on the priority needs of NetHope NGO members and other response organizations with a focus on shared services with local partners and long-term benefit for local communities.
  • Data analysis on connectivity in the impacted countries, conducted by Facebook’s Data Science Team. This includes working closely with NetHope and mobile network operators to map locations that have the geographic need for Internet connectivity and the technological capability to provide it.
  • On-site hotspot equipment and financial support from Cisco Meraki, that enables responders to connect laptops, phones and tablets to improve all communications related to the relief effort.
  • The broadband solution, architected by EveryLayer and deployed by Inveneo and its certified partners, is based on a combination of extending satellite technology and strengthening existing service provider networks with carrier-grade Wi-Fi technology. The network can be deployed at a lower cost and on a faster time horizon than traditional mobile networks.
  • Partnerships with local mobile network operators and improvements to local infrastructure will ensure that communities have access to long-term, low-cost connectivity beyond the short-term Ebola relief effort.

“The Internet can be an enabler for basic needs like healthcare, and we are seeing that firsthand with Ebola response efforts,” said Chris Weasler, Facebook’s Director of Global Connectivity. “The communications capacity that we are implementing with this extraordinary partnership is one step in supporting the work that the doctors, nurses and health professionals have bravely led in West Africa. We believe that ERCI can deliver critical tools, talent and resources to help those on the front lines access and send lifesaving information and stay in touch with their families and friends at home. By providing courageous medical professionals with the right support, we hope to encourage others to follow their path and fight the spread of this disease.”

“From the early stages of this crisis we recognized the need for connectivity and data collection in containing and ultimately stopping Ebola,” said Gabrielle Fitzgerald, Ebola Program Lead for the Paul G. Allen Family Foundation. “Working together we can build an infrastructure that will have an immediate impact as well as long-term effect to help the countries recover once this crisis is over.”

“Every day, we see people face seemingly overwhelming issues. Working with partners, using our expertise and technology, we can help respond to critical human needs. We do this through Cisco’s employees and our technology; bringing people together to tackle global challenges faster,” said Tae Yoo, Senior Vice President, Corporate Affairs. “By providing the resources, the technology and the experience to address the connectivity demands of the first responders, aid organizations and governments, we hope to multiply the positive impact of connecting the experts who are working tirelessly toward a breakthrough in the fight against the spread of this disease.”

“High-speed, reliable Internet access is a key lever to stopping the spread of Ebola,” said Mark Summer, CEO and Co-founder of EveryLayer. “An additional benefit to ERCI’s approach is that once we’ve won the fight against Ebola, the broadband infrastructure and partnerships will stay in place and continue to deliver high-speed Internet to local businesses and customers, which will help communities thrive for years to come.”

“ICT is an important tool in combating Ebola. Inveneo is excited to build out key communication infrastructure to support needed ICT tools. We are leveraging our local partners in country to assure locally trained personnel support the effort and to provide long-term sustainability,” said Bruce Baikie, Executive Director of Inveneo.

About the ERCI Partners 

About Facebook
Founded in 2004, Facebook’s mission is to give people the power to share and make the world more open and connected. People use Facebook to stay connected with friends and family, to discover what’s going on in the world, and to share and express what matters to them.

About The Paul G. Allen Family Foundation
Launched by Microsoft co-founder and philanthropist Paul G. Allen and Jo Lynn Allen in 1988, the Allen family’s philanthropy is dedicated to transforming lives and strengthening communities by fostering innovation, creating knowledge and promoting social progress. Since inception, the Foundation has awarded over $446 million to more than 1,400 nonprofit groups to support and advance their critical charitable endeavors in the Pacific Northwest and beyond. The Foundation’s funding programs nurture the arts, engage children in learning, address the needs of vulnerable populations, advance scientific and technological discoveries, and provide economic relief amid the downturn. For more information, go to www.pgafamilyfoundation.org.

About Cisco
Cisco (NASDAQ: CSCO) is the worldwide leader in IT that helps companies seize the opportunities of tomorrow by proving that amazing things can happen when you connect the previously unconnected. For ongoing news, please go to http://thenetwork.cisco.com.

About EveryLayer
EveryLayer (formerly Volo Broadband) enables broadband service providers (ISPs and Mobile Network Operators) in emerging markets to provide radically lower cost high-speed services in weeks, not months. EveryLayer’s cloud-based ISP network and service automation platform simplifies how providers design and manage fixed wireless networks, set up and provision services, and serve and bill customers. EveryLayer’s expert team provides technical and commercial design blueprints and training, enabling service providers to gain skills to rapidly deploy lower cost fixed wireless networks and broadband services using carrier grade last-mile WiFi networking technologies. EveryLayer is the partner for service providers who are ready to deliver better, faster, cheaper broadband everywhere.

About Inveneo
Inveneo is a non-profit social enterprise that delivers the tools of technology – sustainable computing and broadband – to those who need it most in the developing world, to transform lives through better education, healthcare, economic opportunities, and faster relief. Inveneo is leveraging more than 10 years of experience of successfully introducing technology and expanding connectivity to underserved areas of Sub-Saharan Africa to implement this project.

About NetHope
Founded in 2001, NetHope is a consortium of 42 leading international humanitarian organizations providing emergency relief, human development and conservation programs in more than 180 countries. Through member collaboration and by facilitating public-private partnerships with major technology companies, NetHope enables members to leverage their technology investments to better serve their end beneficiaries.

 

SOURCE NetHope

RELATED LINKS
http://www.nethope.org

Inveneo Enhancing Educational Offerings and Spinning Off a Broadband Startup

  1. Posted by Aaron Mason on September 12, 2013 in the categories: News, Uncategorized
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Model-classroom-teaching-using-ICT-in-Malawi_5493178855_o

Delivering sustainable computing and wireless connectivity is at the heart of Inveneo’s mission. Our belief is that technology can fundamentally transform the way a community engages with the world and pursues economic opportunities. Our commitment to this belief has brought us through designing and manufacturing sustainable hardware, serving rural organizations and building partnerships with local ICT entrepreneurs. The results have spanned from placing solar powered computer labs in thousands of schools to deploying large-scale broadband networks for healthcare, economic development and relief.

Earlier this year we revisited our strategy and began to make a few significant changes. We moved away from building and selling our own equipment to focused on identifying and sharing the best equipment and software solutions for education and connectivity. Now, nine months later, we’re using what we’ve learned to make a few more changes to our model, intensifying our focus on technology and connectivity for education and spinning part of our broadband connectivity team off into an independent venture.

Sharpening our Focus on Education

Education is going through a technological revolution on a global scale. With equipment costs plummeting, low-power device options multiplying, and with content and online education availability increasing rapidly, the potential for vibrant, sustainable models for technology in underserved schools is finally emerging.

At Inveneo we believe that this shift in the development landscape makes education the single most important place for our technology and expertise to focus. With recent large-scale education projects in Haiti, Tanzania, Uganda, and smaller projects in many more countries, we’re focusing on how to scale rollouts of computing and tablets to maximize sustainability and development impact with education partner experts. Our education technology solutions encompass all of the things we do best – low power computing, power systems, robust networks, management software and very importantly local partners to design, deploy and support the systems. We’re making education top priority moving forward. Our local partnerships are fundamental to Inveneo’s vision and approach, and we look forward to continuing our work with you, our partners, on implementation, support and maintenance, and business development.

Spinning Off Broadband

Another key decision is to spin out a new entity focused on accelerating access to broadband in emerging markets. Almost two years ago Inveneo launched our Broadband for Good (BB4G) initiative to determine how to drive critically needed broadband access by deploying cutting-edge broadband technology and new partner delivery models in developing countries. The BB4G initiative allowed Inveneo to explore the needs of countries, carriers and governments around the world and to deliver high quality, cost effective network models with local partners. This includes our Haiti network used by two major telecoms and covering a quarter of the country, as well as networks serving three education programs across the West Bank of Palestine and connecting islands and schools in the South Pacific. However one thing we’ve learned is that broadband, in a not-for-profit setting, is best suited for project-specific implementations. Inveneo will continue to deliver broadband projects for education.

However, the more we understood the vast need for broadband in the countries where we work, the more we realized that deploying project-based broadband networks, while highly impactful, would not deliver broadband at the same speed as a for-profit model.

Introducing Volo

Inveneo is proud to introduce Volo, Inveneo’s first spin-off, which will center its efforts on broadband services for emerging markets.

Volo’s goal is to deliver broadband in emerging markets around the world. Using our experiences during BB4G, the new Volo team will be working to provide connectivity using cutting-edge technology and a network of partners. Mark Summer and Kristin Peterson will head the new Volo team, however they will continue to serve on the Inveneo board and support our efforts.

What this Means for Inveneo and You

Refocusing our efforts and modifying our team will of course have an impact on Inveneo, as we are an exceptionally close-knit organization. There have been a few additional staffing changes, including the announcement of Bruce Baikie as Inveneo’s new Executive Director.

We want to make sure that you understand that while we’re excited to make our internal changes, these changes will not affect our current projects. We’re excited to have the opportunity to use technology to serve the communities we work in, and we aim to continue this as we push forward. We believe that this new focus will help us grow even faster, allowing us to help even more communities around the world.

We hope that as part of the Inveneo family you’re as excited as we are about these changes. Thank you for all the support you’ve given us over the past eight years, and we look forward to eight more!

Yours,

The Inveneo Team

For questions please contact either our partner manager FJ Cava at fj@inveneo.org or executive director Bruce Baikie at bruce@inveneo.org.

Connecting Schools in Micronesia Using Long-Distance WiFi

  1. Posted by Inveneo on May 8, 2013 in the categories: News
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Mevaly Tokyo, 10, and Lima Souneng, 16, at the UFO school on Fefan. Photo: Prairie Summer/Inveneo
Mevaly Tokyo, 10, and Lima Souneng, 16, at the UFO school on Fefan. Photo: Prairie Summer/Inveneo

The tropical islands of Chuuk, part of the Federated States of Micronesia, remain largely disconnected from the Internet. More than an hour flight from Guam and over 3,400 miles (5,400 km) from Hawaii, most of the islands in Chuuk are isolated in a way that is hard to envision. While the main island of Weno (pronounced Wena) has a population of almost 14,000 and basic Internet access, most of the surrounding islands have only 350 to 4,000 people per island, limited cell phone service and are accessible only by boat. Students on the islands may have seen people use computers and the Internet on television but most of them have never actually touched one or been online.

“A few [students], maybe 1%, have ever used computers, but most have not seen them,” one teacher on the island of Eot said.

“We often work in areas with limited internet access, but the environment in Chuuk poses very unique challenges to improving connectivity,” said Andris Bjornson, Inveneo’s CTO. “I’ve rarely seen anything like it.”

In late March Bjornson travelled with Bruce Baikie and Prairie Summer to Chuuk to conduct a site survey and local partner training as part of phase two of the Pacific Islands Schools, Connectivity, Education, and Solar (PISCES) Project. PISCES is a multi-stakeholder initiative to demonstrate how low cost wireless networking and solar-powered computing infrastructure can be scaled to serve educational professionals and students across the Federated States of Micronesia (FSM) and similar remote island settings. PISCES I, the first phase of the project, was implemented in 2012 and demonstrated that alternative, low-cost wireless networking and solar-powered computing infrastructure offer reliable and affordable computing and connectivity options for many remote and off-grid schools.

The goal of this second phase (PISCES II) is to identify, connect and equip at least three schools on these remote islands, strengthen the local ICT capacity and increase digital literacy among teachers.

K-8 School on Tsis, which has 87 kids, 5 teachers and no computers or internet access. Photo: Prairie Summer/Inveneo
K-8 School on Tsis, which has 87 kids, 5 teachers and no computers or internet access. Photo: Prairie Summer/Inveneo

For this project Inveneo’s team focused in on building the capacity of our local partner iSolutions and members of the local telecom to conduct site surveys, design wireless networks and install long-distance wireless links. Dr. Laura Hosman from Inveneo partner Illinois Institute of Technology (IIT) was also present, following up on the 6 low-power, ruggedized computers that were deployed in PISCES I on the island of Udot and assessing lessons learned during the first phase. Dr. Hosman also gathered data to inform the design of trainings for teachers on computer skills and the deployment of additional computers in the new locations.

Chuuk Lagoon with pins showing survey locations. The pieced-together nature of Google’s area maps highlights the remote nature of the islands.
Chuuk Lagoon with pins showing survey locations. The pieced-together nature of Google’s area maps highlights the remote nature of the islands.

With the ambitious goal of conducting site survey training, six site surveys on six islands and installing one point-to-point link, the week was packed and the team was at the mercy of the weather. The heat, humidity, heavy rainfall (almost 200 inches per year) and unique challenges of making long-distance wireless links work over water make this equatorial island nation a difficult environment. Most of the smaller islands have no electricity and the vegetation is thick.

Operations began with Bjornson conducting a full day of training with three iSolutions staff and two members of FSM Telecom followed by guided site surveys. These guided surveys allowed trainees to test their new skills while gathering valuable data necessary to design the wireless links.

The training started with an in-depth session on the connection between tower equipment and a computer lab. Classroom time was balanced by hands-on training and exercises with the team conducting test surveys at various locations on Weno. In addition to learning many of the standard survey tools (including GPS and compass basics), the team also tested Inveneo’s new Smartphone-based Android application for conducting site surveys. The group of workshop participants from both iSolutions and Telcom FSM are the first worldwide to use this new tool, integrating survey-specific GPS, camera, and note-taking capabilities into one convenient handheld device. Previously an engineer needed to bring an individual compass, GPS unit, camera, paper and pencil to collect all of the data. These Google-donated Android phones use a combination of services including Formhub and odkcollect to make site surveys faster and more accurate.

Bjornson leads the classroom portion of our local partner training program. Photo: Prairie Summer / Inveneo
Bjornson leads the classroom portion of our local partner training program. Photo: Laura Hosman

Bjornson training local engineers to perform site surveys. Photos: Prairie Summer / Inveneo
Bjornson training local engineers to perform site surveys. Photos: Laura Hosman

With the training complete the team headed out to the surrounding islands to begin the site surveys. Heavy rain poured during the first three days, but not enough to stop the team from boating out to surveying the first three islands. When the rains let up the sun emerged giving the Inveneo team the opportunity to experience the full spectrum of weather challenges. From torrential rains to blazing sun, each day added to the understanding of what networks need to endure to function in Chuuk. Site visits to Romanum, Udot and Eot islands were completed via boat in one day despite constant rainfall. The islands of Fefan, Tsis and Tonoas were surveyed on the following day.

Left: Andris Bjornson and Bruce Balkie from Inveneo, Dr. Laura Hosman from IIT, and the trainees from iSolutions and FSM Telecom boarding the boat on Udot. Photo: Prairie Summer/Inveneo Right: Andris and TR from local partner iSolutions conducting a site survey on Romanum. Photo: Prairie Summer/Inveneo
Left: Bjornson, Balkie, Dr. Laura Hosman from IIT and the trainees from iSolutions and FSM Telecom boarding the boat on Udot. Photo: Prairie Summer/Inveneo Right: Bjornson and TR from local partner iSolutions conducting a site survey on Romanum. Photo: Prairie Summer/Inveneo

Left: Site sketch in Andris’ notebook of Romanum. Photo: Andris Bjornson / Inveneo Right: GR from iSolutions taking measurements at Romanum. Photo: Prairie Summer / Inveneo
Left: Site sketch in Bjornson’s notebook of Romanum. Photo: Andris Bjornson / Inveneo Right: GR from iSolutions taking measurements at Romanum. Photo: Prairie Summer / Inveneo

Bruce Baike surveys a potential computer lab site at Romanum School. Photo: Laura Hosman
Baikie surveys a potential computer lab site at Romanum School. Photo: Laura Hosman

Bjornson, Summer and Baike discover a few of the different ways that getting around in Micronesia can be a wet affair. Photos: Laura Hosman
Bjornson, Summer and Baikie discover a few of the different ways that getting around in Micronesia can be a wet affair. Photos: Laura Hosman

While each school and site has unique assets and challenges, all six of the locations surveyed are viable potential link locations. Many of the schools are conveniently located on the edge of the islands, clear of the dense vegetation that covers most of the islands, and even at the schools farther inland feasible locations were identified. This is exciting news for the PISCES team and the schools who will benefit from the link when it’s established.

“What we are doing now is we are trying to improve our students’ performance, and it would be good to search what other schools are doing…on the curriculum and find ways to improve our teaching,” Nancy Seymour, principal and 1st-2nd grade teacher on Eot said. Her school does not have enough books and resources and she believes having Internet access could make all the difference – providing her and the other teachers a source for new lesson plans and ideas and introducing the students to new and foreign things.

Nancy Seymour, principal and 1st-2nd grade teacher on Eot. Photo: Prairie Summer/Inveneo
Nancy Seymour, principal and 1st-2nd grade teacher on Eot. Photo: Prairie Summer/Inveneo

At every school the team visited there was a keen interest in connectivity and a universal belief that technology would make an impact on the quality of education. In addition to the academic potential, every single student and teacher indicated that they had family living either on other islands or abroad, and there was a great deal of excitement around the potential for communication with loved ones.

With the site surveys completed, the next focus was to establish a long distance wireless link from the main island of Weno to the school on Udot. This link, temporarily established during PISCES I, needed to be moved to a more permanent location and the team had received permission from FSM Telecom to place the link on the telecom’s existing tower.

This new position, higher on the island, allows for a stronger connection and will be the point that all six of the surveyed islands will link to when the project is completed. To install this long-distance link half of the team went to the tower on Weno and the other half to the site on Udot, coordinating via radios and cell phones. First the Udot team installed a small link on the side of the school. On Weno, the team put together a small dish, then mounted it on the tower and pointed it toward Udot. The positioning is critical and must be painstakingly adjusted to the most accurate position possible. Access to the tower was provided by FSM Telecom, which has a strong relationship with iSolutions. Inveneo has found through past experience that strong collaboration with the local telecommunications provider can be a powerful tool in creating sustainable projects.

Mangoki Shirai assembles dish for the long-distance link from Weno to Udot, then climbs the FSM Telecom tower on Weno to install the link. Photos: Prairie Summer/Inveneo
Mangoki Shirai assembles dish for the long-distance link from Weno to Udot, then climbs the FSM Telecom tower on Weno to install the link. Photos: Prairie Summer/Inveneo

View of Udot from the base of the tower on Weno. Photo: Prairie Summer/Inveneo
View of Udot from the base of the tower on Weno. Photo: Prairie Summer/Inveneo

Left: Team putting together the dish on Udot for the link to Weno. Photo: Laura Hosman/IIT Right: Installing the link on top of the school on Udot. Photo: Laura Hosman/IIT
Left: Team putting together the dish on Udot for the link to Weno. Photo: Laura Hosman/IIT Right: Installing the link on top of the school on Udot. Photo: Laura Hosman/IIT

The team on Udot then adjusted the link on their end and the connection was established! Both the FSM Telecom and iSolutions teams did an incredible job.

With the training completed and the first link established, and data gathered for five additional sites to be linked as soon as the funding is secured, PISCES II has the potential to provide unprecedented levels of connectivity and access to schools and communities throughout Chuuk. The project has also gained support and interest from the FSM Department of Education.

In addition to improving the educational resources and access to information, every single student, teacher and administrator the team met on this trip said they have family on other islands or in other countries. With this long-distance wireless network in place they will all have new ways to communicate with their loved ones in other places, and that may be the best motivation to learn of all.

If additional support for this project can be secured, the Inveneo team plans to return and install links to the remaining five sites in the summer of 2013.

Left:  View of the tower on Weno from the boat. Photo: Prairie Summer/Inveneo Right: View of the boat on Tsis. Photo: Prairie Summer/Inveneo
Left: View of the tower on Weno from the boat. Photo: Prairie Summer/Inveneo Right: View of the boat on Tsis. Photo: Prairie Summer/Inveneo

The PISCES Project has received funding support from Google, the Pacific Telecommunications Council, and the Internet Society. PISCES Project partners include: Inveneo, the University of Guam, Illinois Institute of Technology (IIT), Pacific Resources for Education and Learning (PREL) Organization, Green WiFi, iSolutions, the International Centre for Theoretical Physics, the University of California, Berkeley’s TIER research group, FSM Department of Education, FSM DTC&I.

Broadband for Good Program 2012 Midyear Update

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

How Better Connectivity Can Help Dadaab, the World’s Largest Refugee Camp

  1. Posted by Inveneo on June 6, 2012 in the categories: News, Projects, Relief
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The worst drought and famine in more than 60 years have threatened the livelihood of 9.5 million people in the Horn of Africa since early 2011. Refugees from Somalia continue to arrive in Kenya by the tens of thousands, making the Dadaab complex now the world’s largest refugee camp ever with almost 500,000 counted and perhaps as many as 100,000 more unregistered.

UNHCR (the UN High Commission for Refugees) is the lead agency responding to this crisis, and many major humanitarian agencies including Care, Save the Children and the International Rescue Committee are operating in Dadaab providing critical services such as food distribution, housing, sanitation and medical relief. The teams are stretched to their limits. To make matters even more difficult Al Shabaab, the Somali-based terrorist group, recently escalated its activities in and around the camps, making the operations more dangerous for the refugees and the agencies providing vital assistance.

How Better Connectivity Can Help

In the fall of 2011, Inveneo was invited by NetHope, a consortium of 34 member Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs), and the USAID Global Broadband and Innovations Program to identify opportunities to bring better, more reliable Internet and interagency communications to the many humanitarian agencies working in the region. Inveneo and NetHope mobilized teams to travel to arid northeast Kenya, to assess the situation in detail, and to determine what could be accomplished.

On the ground in Dadaab, it was clear from the United Nations (UN) and NGO community that bringing incremental, reliable and affordable Internet access would lead to better overall communications, coordination and security thereby increasing the staff capacity to deliver critical and life-sustaining food, housing, sanitation and medical care. Inveneo, working with Cisco’s TacOps could install and configure a local high-speed network, the Dadaab organizations could immediately begin to collaborate and share information more effectively. An existing UNHCR-led network initiative for smaller NGOs and community centers needed to be reviewed substantively to ensure that any new networking designs would be compatible, complimentary and synergistic.

NetHope, Inveneo and TacOps obtained commitments from Cisco to donate equipment, and from USAID and UNHCR to provide funding. It was determined that there were two major areas where Inveneo could bring technical and strategic expertise to make a real difference.

  1. First, we initiated and led a strategic business and engineering partnership with Orange, a local Kenyan mobile and landline telecommunications service provider, to extend new data services into the Dadaab compound using our long-distance WiFi solutions. NetHope aggregated the demand for the new service among the Dadaab aid community, and we secured agreement from Orange to a preferred pricing arrangement as well as to adequate initial and ongoing capacity. Orange is making their highly reliable Internet connectivity available by providing backhaul from their existing Dadaab tower to international fiber networks. We designed a detailed, local distribution network and training plan to enable Orange and prequalified Dadaab IT staff to quickly grasp, support and connect to the Inveneo-designed access solutions.
  2. Second, Inveneo and TacOps would co-design a high-speed network to connect the Dadaab agencies locally and to enable bandwidth-intensive, intra-agency collaboration technologies like file sharing, video conferencing designed by Cisco and voice over IP telephony applications. This collaboration network, DadaabNET, would also provide a Cisco router-based failover configuration to switch agency traffic to a 4-Mbps, UNHCR-provided satellite system in the event of primary connection failure. This effort involved IP addressing and configuration support from both Cisco and Inveneo as well as consultative engineering support from UNHCR and the Dadaab Aid Agency IT staff.

Status and Results

Inveneo’s work was successfully completed in March 2012. During the week of March 12, we trained in-country technical teams from Orange, from the Dadaab-based NGO technical staff, and from our local Inveneo Certified ICT Partner Setright. Orange hosted the classroom training session in Nairobi that provided hands-on instruction on long distance WiFi. We offered our custom practical curriculum in both network design and installation. Then the training moved outside to physically install equipment on buildings and way up on an Orange telecommunications tower. Inveneo has a strong partnership with Petzl to share safe climbing at height techniques in developing countries with communications workers. The trainings were held in Nairobi because a risk assessment determined Dadaab too insecure at that time.

During the week of March 19, Inveneo, NetHope, Setright and Cisco’s local gold partner Dimension Data teams traveled to Dadaab. Monday and Tuesday, our team worked side-by-side with the newly trained NGO, Orange and Setright teams in Dadaab, giving them the guidance and confidence to successfully complete the Orange and UNHCR tower installations.

The Orange tower is the hub for the access network and the UNHCR tower is the hub for DadaabNET. Dimension Data was also busy meeting with IT staff at the installation sites: consulting with Cisco-led TacOps engineers, training local staff and completing the initial router configurations.

As part of the training and skills building plan, we left Dadaab late Tuesday afternoon to cover training the Orange Network Operations Center in Nairobi. While away, the six newly trained agency staff were charged with the installation of Customer Premise Equipment for both the access and DadaabNET networks. The team includes staff from UNHCR, World Food Program, Norwegian Refugee Counsel, Care, Oxfam and Kenya Red Cross so it was truly an interagency support group. The expectation was that four or five sites could be installed, and then reviewed and verified after our return. On Thursday in Dadaab, we found our expectations were far exceeded.

The DadaabNET team installed 19 radios at ten agency locations. For two days, we verified the work and fine-tuned the implementations. Future installs and troubleshooting can now be completed by the local IT team with our team positioned to provide remote support for existing and ongoing humanitarian agency installations. The DadaabNET team has taken full ownership of the networks.

All future troubleshooting, support and installations will be managed frontline by the local DadaabNET interagency team. By the same count, Dimension Data, working with Cisco TacOps successfully implemented and tested routing at all ten newly installed locations and ensured a good hand-off to the DadaabNET team.

The initial bandwidth contracted was fully installed. Orange is on track to add triple the amount available to keep pace with demand and to meet new service order expectations.

This connectivity is already enabling the humanitarian agencies to function better, to communicate between agencies, and to support overall operations. They also have plans to move more costly VSAT systems to failover mode. 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.

As a result of this project, Inveneo, Cisco, NetHope and Orange will also continue to grow their partnerships and collaborations so that there will be ever increasing opportunities to extend broadband across rural Kenya and beyond.

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.

How Better Connectivity Can Help Dadaab, the World's Largest Refugee Camp

  1. Posted by sguser on June 6, 2012 in the categories: News, Projects, Relief
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The worst drought and famine in more than 60 years have threatened the livelihood of 9.5 million people in the Horn of Africa since early 2011. Refugees from Somalia continue to arrive in Kenya by the tens of thousands, making the Dadaab complex now the world’s largest refugee camp ever with almost 500,000 counted and perhaps as many as 100,000 more unregistered.

UNHCR (the UN High Commission for Refugees) is the lead agency responding to this crisis, and many major humanitarian agencies including Care, Save the Children and the International Rescue Committee are operating in Dadaab providing critical services such as food distribution, housing, sanitation and medical relief. The teams are stretched to their limits. To make matters even more difficult Al Shabaab, the Somali-based terrorist group, recently escalated its activities in and around the camps, making the operations more dangerous for the refugees and the agencies providing vital assistance.

How Better Connectivity Can Help

In the fall of 2011, Inveneo was invited by NetHope, a consortium of 34 member Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs), and the USAID Global Broadband and Innovations Program to identify opportunities to bring better, more reliable Internet and interagency communications to the many humanitarian agencies working in the region. Inveneo and NetHope mobilized teams to travel to arid northeast Kenya, to assess the situation in detail, and to determine what could be accomplished.

On the ground in Dadaab, it was clear from the United Nations (UN) and NGO community that bringing incremental, reliable and affordable Internet access would lead to better overall communications, coordination and security thereby increasing the staff capacity to deliver critical and life-sustaining food, housing, sanitation and medical care. Inveneo, working with Cisco’s TacOps could install and configure a local high-speed network, the Dadaab organizations could immediately begin to collaborate and share information more effectively. An existing UNHCR-led network initiative for smaller NGOs and community centers needed to be reviewed substantively to ensure that any new networking designs would be compatible, complimentary and synergistic.

NetHope, Inveneo and TacOps obtained commitments from Cisco to donate equipment, and from USAID and UNHCR to provide funding. It was determined that there were two major areas where Inveneo could bring technical and strategic expertise to make a real difference.

  1. First, we initiated and led a strategic business and engineering partnership with Orange, a local Kenyan mobile and landline telecommunications service provider, to extend new data services into the Dadaab compound using our long-distance WiFi solutions. NetHope aggregated the demand for the new service among the Dadaab aid community, and we secured agreement from Orange to a preferred pricing arrangement as well as to adequate initial and ongoing capacity. Orange is making their highly reliable Internet connectivity available by providing backhaul from their existing Dadaab tower to international fiber networks. We designed a detailed, local distribution network and training plan to enable Orange and prequalified Dadaab IT staff to quickly grasp, support and connect to the Inveneo-designed access solutions.
  2. Second, Inveneo and TacOps would co-design a high-speed network to connect the Dadaab agencies locally and to enable bandwidth-intensive, intra-agency collaboration technologies like file sharing, video conferencing designed by Cisco and voice over IP telephony applications. This collaboration network, DadaabNET, would also provide a Cisco router-based failover configuration to switch agency traffic to a 4-Mbps, UNHCR-provided satellite system in the event of primary connection failure. This effort involved IP addressing and configuration support from both Cisco and Inveneo as well as consultative engineering support from UNHCR and the Dadaab Aid Agency IT staff.

Status and Results

Inveneo’s work was successfully completed in March 2012. During the week of March 12, we trained in-country technical teams from Orange, from the Dadaab-based NGO technical staff, and from our local Inveneo Certified ICT Partner Setright. Orange hosted the classroom training session in Nairobi that provided hands-on instruction on long distance WiFi. We offered our custom practical curriculum in both network design and installation. Then the training moved outside to physically install equipment on buildings and way up on an Orange telecommunications tower. Inveneo has a strong partnership with Petzl to share safe climbing at height techniques in developing countries with communications workers. The trainings were held in Nairobi because a risk assessment determined Dadaab too insecure at that time.

During the week of March 19, Inveneo, NetHope, Setright and Cisco’s local gold partner Dimension Data teams traveled to Dadaab. Monday and Tuesday, our team worked side-by-side with the newly trained NGO, Orange and Setright teams in Dadaab, giving them the guidance and confidence to successfully complete the Orange and UNHCR tower installations.

The Orange tower is the hub for the access network and the UNHCR tower is the hub for DadaabNET. Dimension Data was also busy meeting with IT staff at the installation sites: consulting with Cisco-led TacOps engineers, training local staff and completing the initial router configurations.

As part of the training and skills building plan, we left Dadaab late Tuesday afternoon to cover training the Orange Network Operations Center in Nairobi. While away, the six newly trained agency staff were charged with the installation of Customer Premise Equipment for both the access and DadaabNET networks. The team includes staff from UNHCR, World Food Program, Norwegian Refugee Counsel, Care, Oxfam and Kenya Red Cross so it was truly an interagency support group. The expectation was that four or five sites could be installed, and then reviewed and verified after our return. On Thursday in Dadaab, we found our expectations were far exceeded.

The DadaabNET team installed 19 radios at ten agency locations. For two days, we verified the work and fine-tuned the implementations. Future installs and troubleshooting can now be completed by the local IT team with our team positioned to provide remote support for existing and ongoing humanitarian agency installations. The DadaabNET team has taken full ownership of the networks.

All future troubleshooting, support and installations will be managed frontline by the local DadaabNET interagency team. By the same count, Dimension Data, working with Cisco TacOps successfully implemented and tested routing at all ten newly installed locations and ensured a good hand-off to the DadaabNET team.

The initial bandwidth contracted was fully installed. Orange is on track to add triple the amount available to keep pace with demand and to meet new service order expectations.

This connectivity is already enabling the humanitarian agencies to function better, to communicate between agencies, and to support overall operations. They also have plans to move more costly VSAT systems to failover mode. 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.

As a result of this project, Inveneo, Cisco, NetHope and Orange will also continue to grow their partnerships and collaborations so that there will be ever increasing opportunities to extend broadband across rural Kenya and beyond.

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.

Congratulations to Al Bireh Youth Foundation

  1. Posted by Inveneo on November 11, 2011 in the categories: Education, News, Projects
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Congratulations to Al Bireh Youth Foundation – one of 30 youth centers now connected with high-speed broadband! The club members can now get access to the internet, hold multi-club video and voice conferences, upload HD videos or other content to their shared central server, or create their own web content in Arabic or English.

Inveneo is excited to announce that the Al Bireh Youth Foundation’s Development Resouce Center (YDRC) is now part of the the YDRC Virtual Private Network (VPN), a modern, high bandwidth virtual private network deployed to 30 youth clubs in the West Bank through a project implemented by RUWWAD, Inveneo, and BCI.

Ruwwad is a Palestinian Youth Empowerment program led by the Education Development Center, Inc (EDC) and funded by USAID. Inveneo worked with RUWWAD to design the network based on the Youth Club’s needs. BCI is the Palestinian networking firm selected to build and operate the network and to train the YDRC’s IT staff to manage the network themselves.

This project is the first of a series of projects where Inveneo is working to deliver high speed broadband to youth centers and schools across the West Bank. Our involvement in this effort began over two years ago when Cisco’s Corporate Social Responsibility team invited Inveneo to assess how best to deliver faster and more cost-effective broadband to under-served areas in the West Bank. Cisco is continuing support for Inveneo’s work across the West Bank.

Pictured above is Omar Dahman, one of the IT administrators of the RUWWAD VPN: the high band-width private network that will soon link together all the youth clubs in the West Bank together. Omar is plugging in the short patch cable that brings the 30+ computers online at the Ramallah Al Bireh Youth Development Resource Center (YDRC) with at what is, for them, blazingly fast speed.

The eyes of the watching staff and club members went wide when an Internet speed test measured actual speeds much faster than the 10 Mbps dedicated, symmetric connection the clubs will ultimately share. This high speed access is now available among all the clubs and can also be accessed wirelessly throughout the YDRC in the media labs, business incubators, training rooms, and “robot room” equipped with tools like LEGO® Mindstorms robotics kits.

Omar and all of our teams are excited to connect West Bank youth at a very important time for the Middle East.

Our Significant Progress in Building Haiti Back Better

  1. Posted by Inveneo on September 14, 2011 in the categories: Economic Development, News
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Inveneo is committed to bringing real economic and education opportunities to Haiti in 2011 through the Haiti Rural Broadband Initiative and related efforts. HRBI is a collaborative program involving Haitian Internet Service Providers (ISPs), Haitian IT entrepreneurs and the many organizations – NGOs and otherwise – that will benefit from access to reliable and affordable broadband Internet. Since its formal launch in January 2011, HRBI continues to make progress in all key program areas.

Our network buildout and infrastructure has rolled out to three rural service areas, Artibonite, Léogâne and Central Plateau, including an 82 km link, our longest yet, and 89 new radios, covering 12 of 22 target communes across the country. This backbone is now fed by three Haitian Internet service providers; Access Haiti, Multilink, and Voila, and is connecting organizations across Haiti already.

The BATI Program has trained 27 BATI entrepreneurs in three provinces, with 39 more in the pipeline, and brought on two new Inveneo Certified ICT Partners (ICIPs), Haiti Telecom Group (HTG) and Transversal. The Haiti Connected Schools (HCS) program completed site surveys at 30 schools with 10 schools identified as the first recipients of ICT interventions, and French content was identified for teachers and students.

We are proud to announce that the Clinton Bush Haiti Fund has invested an additional $259,000 into HCS for solar power (panels, batteries, peripheral equipment) and installation from local power experts for the schools. This is a great vote of confidence in our program and our approach.

Connecting Technical and Vocational Educational Training (TVET) Centers, Palestinian West Bank

  1. Posted by Inveneo on May 31, 2011 in the categories: Education, News
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CraigConnects and Inveneo teamed up to bring true broadband network connectivity to schools across the Palestinian West Bank. The Palestinian educational system has two tracks for grades 11 and 12: academic and vocational. The vocational, under the Ministry of Higher Education, manages Technical, Vocational, Educational and Training secondary schools (TVETs) in every region of the Palestinian territory. Inveneo selected the 12 TVETs located in the West Bank and surveyed the locations’ existing connectivity and physical site limitations, as well as each school’s individual needs. The survey revealed that the physical size of the facilities, curricula and number of students and faculty varies significantly from site to site, but all schools share a strong need for inter-campus collaboration and reliable broadband Internet access. In fact, virtually all the schools’ existing Internet connections were almost useless most of the time. All locations needed improved connectivity and the ability to communicate better with other similar schools.