Stephen Song of The Shuttleworth Foundation jopined us to discuss The Village Telco Project, an effort to use OSS VoIP hardware and software to supply network & voice services to rural parts of Africa.
The project involves hardware designed by Australia’s David Rowe and manufactured by in China by ATCOM. It runs an embedded Asterisk distribution.
Village Telco is an initiative to assemble/develop the cheapest, easiest to setup, easiest to manage, scalable, Open Source, standards-based, wireless local do-it-yourself telephone company toolkit in the world. The goal of the project is to render local telephony in developing countries to be so cheap as to be virtually free. Thanks to advances in Open Source telephony software and the dramatic decrease in the cost of wireless broadband technology, we think this is entirely possible.
The project consists of three principle elements
Simplified Billing System for Selling Pay-as-you-go Voice Services
This element will make a contribution to the excellent A2Billing Open Source project. Work on this project will result in a guided installation wizard for people with limited technical skills and a simple administration and billing interface for business managers.
Mesh Potato – A low-cost wireless mesh device you can plug a regular phone into
Easy-to-use GIS-based Mesh Management Interface
This is described in the Mesh Potato project page. In a nutshell, the Village Telco needs an affordable device to connect customers to the meshed WiFi network. The Mesh Potato will dramatically reduce the cost of a Village Telco startup
We are partnering with the CSIR-supported Afrimesh project which is developing a fast, easy-to-use, low-overhead management dashboard which enables mesh network operators to create and sustain a resilient communications network with a minimum of fuss.
Part 1: [audio:http://media.blubrry.com/winelover/recordings.talkshoe.com/TC-22622/TS-285270.mp3|titles=Village Telco Project – Steve Song]
Part 2: [audio:http://media.blubrry.com/winelover/recordings.talkshoe.com/TC-22622/TS-289673.mp3|titles=Part 2 Nov 6 2009]