Thursday, 22 October 2009

[creative-radio] Broadband in a backpack


Broadband in a backpack


In the aftermath of a disaster, any connection to the outside world can be

When telephone networks inevitably crumble, it can be days before those
affected can contact their families or relief agencies.


The pack consists of several lightweight components which combine to give
the ability to upload photos and videos, make calls and e-mail.

Mr Outmesguine says getting quick access to the internet means relief
efforts can be more targeted and efficient. People within disaster zones
can direct relief to the places and people that need it most.

As well as this, people in hostile areas can let loved ones know they are

"A new concept in disaster relief is the people who are affected getting
in touch with their relatives - especially the ones outside the area," Mr
Outmesguine told BBC World Service's Digital Planet.


Getting cheaper

Bill Brindley, head of IT consortium NetHope, says the cost of producing
the network relief kits is plummeting as they get easier to use.

"Initially the kits we put together in 2003-2004 cost close to $40,000 and
you had to send a technologist with them.

"Now we've got the whole kit, including the solar panel, down to around

The cost effective solar panel is a key improvement.

"In the initial kit, you'd have to hook it up to a big truck battery. Now
we have portable kits which have all kinds of power connections. One in
particular is a thin film solar panel that you fold out and literally
collect power during the day when the sun is out, and then recharge at

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