Year 2013-2014

Wireless in Unlicensed Band

Year: 2013-2014

Funded By: The Ford Foundation

Supporting Partner: Internet Society (ISOC)

The ‘Wireless in Unlicensed Band in Guna’ project, a joint initiative of Ford Foundation & Digital Empowerment Foundation (DEF) established the wireless network which is centrally located in Guna district of Madhya Pradesh, where there is a very large population of schedule tribes belonging to Bheel and Sahariya tribal communities. The project primarily aimed at making access to Internet feasible for the remote living population expecting that access will provide rights, opportunity and empowerment. The network established 130 nodes. Through this network, the project connected wide range of users from schools to small enterprises, gaming zones, bank branch offices, kiosks, college students, institutions, internet kiosks, shop owners and many individuals.

The project also recommended on having block-level ISP provider that can be managed, operated and sustained by community itself. Wireless in Unlicensed Band – Guna project provided internet connectivity to more than 100 users. The network connected wide range of users from SBI Kiosk, Toll Bridge, Petrol Pump, institutions, schools, nursing schools, cyber cafes; shop owners to individuals. The project has not only empowered local communities how to use internet connectivity in their daily activities but also trained local youth on setting up and managing the network. In the last two years, the project has shown an immense potential that it can be work as an independent entity like a social enterprise model having a sustainable approach.

Impact

The project opened up possibilities at many levels of the ecosystems of

  1. Internet Service Provision (ISP), and how it has limitations in connecting people living at the last mile;
  2. Spectrum, and how unlicensed spectrum could be used to benefit the communities across the country, especially in remote, hilly, and backward areas;
  3. Entrepreneurship, and how small-scale business with sustainability can offer Rural Internet Services to rural households, Panchayats (also known as village council), grassroots NGOs, and people in backward districts of India;
  4. Rural digital contents and services, and how such services could be delivered on the doorsteps of the people;
  5. Local governance, and how governance at the Panchayats (also known as village council), village and block level could achieve greater responsibility, accountability, and impact;

Target location: Guna, Madhya Pradesh

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