Monday, May 15, 2006

connecting the next 2 billion people

this weekend at barcamp(mumbai) was my own personal tipping point
in wanting to start puting something into action reguarding using
the internet to revitalize rural communities around india.

I've talked to a number of super bright people who also want to
do things in this area, so I figured it was time to push towards
defining a plan of action and working capital once thats established.

below are some thoughts that have been circulating in my head.
I'd love any help towards taking this in the direction of a concrete
plan we could execute and finance. I'd also appreciate any links
people could share of similar projects in existence or being planned




i'd like to use the internet to bring jobs,
education, communication and general
vitality into rural areas.

my sense is that to do this we need to
define what services can be provided more
cheaply & effectively to these regions via the
internet than via other means.

one big area is media & education.
if we assume that via some low cost networking
solution we can deliver rich videos and other media,
then we can produce or distribute training or entertainment
out thru this channel. the content might even be relayed to
people via the local cable operator or local fm radio transmitter.

another big area is jobs. if we can make people aware of the
jobs that are available either BPO style working via the internet,
or by providing internet services to their local communities, AND
we can provide them the training (and potentially the financing)
to help execute this. thats a big win.

there are a variety of other services we may be able to provide
microcredit, e-government, email & voicemail, ....

I am interested in defining a systematic plan for how to role
this out. This will include setting up a local media center where
we produce a great deal of training and news type video materials,
as well as a program for how we actually train people and deploy
them into different villages to work on getting connectivity established,
facilitateing local training, producing some local media, and maybe
conducting commerce on behalf of the local communities.

a goal I would like to meet is to submit a proposal to newventuresindia
by june 30 so they will consider us for financing and mentoring in their
2006 round.

using the internet to deliver jobs and training to rural communities around
the world is cool enough that i believe we just need to come up with a
plausible plan for how to go about it to get the financial and political support
we need.

links -
new ventures india - application guidelines

high bandwidth high latency internet


swamps said...

my first thought would be to have some sort of community bullitin board like craigslist. a site that everyone knew about that they could go to as a single point for the services they need.

i mean craigslist has gotten me so many useful things: my car, my house, jobs. training options could be offered on it as well.

just a thought...

Michael Meiser said...

Howdy Freeman, Stumbled upon your blog from a photo Mike H of posted to his flickr page. I was suprised and pleased to see that someone is broaching the issue of using media like vlogging to cross the digital divide. There's a couple people including Rawlson (sp?) who's working on a thing called the Nata Village Vlog, and Andy Carvin. I hope I'll here more from you and more talk about this issue via podcast, video blog, photocasting and good old fashion blogging.