Connecting The Last Billion

There are still 2-3 billion inhabitants on the globe that are waiting for the right to communicate and share information. In a rural remote landscape without roads, electrical grid, telecom engineering skills and money this still remains a challange. There are several problems to solve, where economy is in the forefront. How to design a service that may attract revenues in the order of 2-3 dollars per month? The operational expenditures OPEX has to be carefully treated in order to deliver services and energy at this low income levels. On top of this, another “forgotten” problem is very much present. It is not spectrum availability, bits per Hertz, peak bit rates,latency or choice betwenn GSM, UMTS, WiMax, WiFi or LTE. In parts of the unconnected world, Africa, Latin America and Asia theft or sabotage of base station sites causes large operational costs. A solar panel can be used as a dinner table, metal parts can be sold to the scrap yard, parts of the site can be used to pratice shooting on etc.

There are ways to minimize theft or sabotage related costs, charging stations at the site to attract precense of friendly users, precense, light beam and siren alarms, a guard at every site, heavy fences and so on. Still the problem is there. The ultimate solution is of course to connect everyone, people are not expected to destroy something you are using and have good benefit from. Meanwhile this is really a more or less forgotten research topic. How to avoid high costs from theft and sabotage of a wireless infrastructure; high altitude platforms, adhoc systems, integration of telecom systems into existing protected property such as homes and vehicles, miniaturisation, avoiding attractive materials?

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