Telecomunicaciones Indígenas Comunitarias A.C. — a nonprofit telcoms company operated by and for indigenous groups in Chiapas, Guerrero, Oaxaca, Puebla, and Veracruz — has received a license to operate cellular services in at least 356 municipalities. It’s the first time the Mexican telcoms regulator has given a operations license to an indigenous social group. TIC is the sequel to a network created by Rhizomatica, who installed internet-based telephony in remote communities serviced only by expensive payphones, lowering the cost of calls by as much as 98%.
Kurtis Heimerl enables entrepreneurs to build their own wireless networks. A postdoctoral student at the University of California at Berkeley, Heimerl packed a Linux computer, a 900 MHz power amplifier, and a 2G cellular-network antenna into a microwave-size box called Endaga CCN1. It costs a relatively modest sum of $6,000 and is simple to set up: Plug in power and Internet, mount the unit to a tree or pole, and voilà: connection. Endaga can connect up to 1,000 people within a six-mile radius.
This is one of those fun things that as a geek mom, I had to share. I also think it’s a cool project to do if you have the parts. This is the sort of thing I would’ve loved to have done as a kid. (I do want to get my hands on a Raspberry Pi at some point!) Watch the video in the article. It’s not practical, but it’s still pretty cool.
Even without the Compute Module, software engineer and Raspberry Pi enthusiast Dave Hunt made a lot of headway with his own Raspberry Pi-based cellphone. By sandwiching together a Raspberry Pi Model B, TFT touch screen, a lithium polymer battery, and GSM module, Dave has cobbled together a portable GSM phone that can place calls with a headset.
“It’s more of a proof of concept to see what could be done with a relatively small form factor with off-the-shelf (cheap) components,” Dave says. “I don’t expect everyone to be rushing out to build this one, but I had great fun in doing it, as it builds quite nicely on my previous projects.” The total cost of the PiPhone project? Just $158, no contract required! See it in action below: