Friday, 30 March 2007


I've come across this sort of thing before but the BBC has an interesting article about 'bus-net' whereby people access the web via an offline reader and content, plus outgoing emails etc are transferred via a cache on the bus. It's essentially a way of getting round one othe major aspects of communications in the third world - the old style fixed line telephone network isn't pervasive, but as a mobile phone infrastructure is simpler to build - masts, base stations and microwave links back to where ever fibre stretches to. (On reflection one of the problems with the three regions theory of phone use is just that - access is by mobile phone in much of the third world because that's all there is, and the use of mobile services in preference to internet is an artefact of this. Provide additional infrastructure (mesh networks for example ) and the dynamics change ...)

One possibility/enhancement would be to use something like the old Fidonet achitecture with low cost slow dialup links to get back to the mother host and grab required wep pages from the master cache with wget and do a simple mail exchange. Not totally copper free but possibly slightly more dynamic than a pure bus-net solution

What is also interesting in the BBC article is the reference to lack of content in local languages and how that's holding up adoption

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