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Kuppam HP i-Community » Communication Network


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Wide Area Broadband Wireless Network
In rural areas of India, there is a need for inexpensive, widely available access to online information services offered by the state and national government, as well as by commercial and non-profit organizations. There are a number of infrastructure development projects, both proposed and underway, which are beginning to increase the accessibility of internet services to rural populations.

The HP Kuppam i-Community Project is using a combination of wired and wireless networking technologies in Kuppam, Andhra Pradesh, to enable a variety of social and economic development projects through access to broadband internet service . Traditionally, deployment of network capability requires a physical installation of fiber optic or copper cable between routers located at major distribution sites and then to each end delivery point for networking service. This can be both expensive and time consuming. Fixed and mobile wireless networking technology has been used in the Kuppam i-Community Project to permit rapid and flexible deployment of network connectivity, at a modest and incremental equipment cost. Globally, there has been significant progress in making internet access available using wireless technologies such as 802.11b.

The intent of the programme has been to study the impact of broadband connectivity on socio economic development and to understand the various applications and services that can therefore be enabled. Several relevant services and applications that drive the usage of the broadband network have been deployed.

The network provide access to information services to a majority of the population by providing access to CICs, Training centres, Mobile vans, Academic institutions, NGOs and other partner organisations, Govt. offices, Health Centres, Police Stations etc., .

The set of applications that have been deployed to leverage the communication network are
• eGovernance: Yojanaalu, Public Grievance System, Land Record Management Information System
• eCommerce: eSeva, Employment Exchange
• Education: Literacy testing, Directory services pertaining to education, Education content from partners such as Azim Premji Foundation, Computer literacy
• Agriculture: Tele agriculture, Information on best practices, agriculture related facilities and current information of use to farmers, Agri services that provide easy access to agri inputs and markets
• Health: Provide access to health information, eye testing software, Tele health using video conferencing
• Entertainment: Games and other infotainment services
• Information dissemination: Directory services, Info on Govt schemes,
• Other services: Horoscope, Matrimonial services and other internet based data services
• communications services – Public Information Display, audio and video webcast and replay archive, community VoIP telephony service, voice/video chat service, Internet Radio Service

The following are the important technology learnings from this network
1. Successful deployment and understanding of the business models for providing connectivity to rural masses gained through this deployment of the network could enable replication of this in other parts of the country. Kuppam is typical of a rural community within the country and the learnings here should be replicable in other similar areas.
2. Very little of the IT equipment being used in the network implementation is sourced within India. Some opportunities may exist to develop India-sourced technologies, such as wireless network base stations, routers, community network servers, etc. Several technology innovations have been tried out for lowering the cost of the network and making it more affordable - locally made antennas from discarded cans (Cantennas), Open source Technologies for all network management, remote support, performance management functions, community portals, applications such as Community VoIP phone service, Internet radio etc have been successfully implemented.
3. Small scale commercial activities such as the Village Photographer or data entry and document scanning, or agriculture marketing and employment exchange systems will be explored, along with other IT-enabled economic development opportunities. Some of these explorations are likely to lead to replicable business activities that can be brought to other communities similar to Kuppam