Socio-economic aspects of voice-over-IP technology in rural SA
Tucker, William David
Siya, Masbulele Jay
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This paper describes work in progress towards developing a business case and preliminary design for an 802.11-based mesh network in the remote rural community of Mankosi in the Eastern Cape province of South Africa. Aside from the technical challenges to building the network to be sustainable in the long term, this network needs to generate some revenue. Hence, there needs to be a business model that has revenue generation potential. This study will explore the economical and social aspects of voice over Internet- Protocol as a service for this community. After talking to the village leaders, we learned that there is a demand for telecommunication services and that most of them were interested only in telephony service. Very few villagers were interested in or had any knowledge about the Internet. We also learned that most of their cellular phone calls are local within the Mankosi community. This allows us to deploy an experimental local telephony service; a perfect opportunity for a low-cost and lowcosting inverse mesh infrastructure that can easily be connected to breakout and Internet services in the future.