Rhizomatica (http://rhizomatica.org/) is a project that seeks to close the gap Telcos like to leave on the outskirts of their areas of coverage.
The current focus of activity is in Mexico’s Oaxaca province, where indigenous communities cannot get service from the large telecommunications giants. The Rhizomatica project makes inter-village communications possible. There is an indiegogo campaign to raise funds for this project.
Thanks to a variety of open-source efforts developed in the last few years, it has become technologically and economically feasible for a community or an individual to provide carrier-grade cellular service to thousands of people. Yet no one has so far applied these technologies in the real-world, much less created the needed regulatory reforms or community-appropriate business models. This project has a parallel component that is seeking to develop the legal/regulatory space and secure access to the necessary frequencies to foment the growth of community, rural and micro-telco’s.
We have already established the legal, economic and technical viability of the project and we have a number of communities and municipalities interested in investing and setting up networks. What is needed now is to consolidate the model and continue to push costs down, so that any community can replicate what we are doing and begin to take care of their own communication needs. We think what we are doing is a totally different and revolutionary approach to mobile networks – one that ensures the freedom to communicate and uses telecommunication technology as it was meant to be from the beginning: a way to help people talk to each other.
The Times of India had an article on this one recently…