Friday, November 2, 2012

Bangladesh spread Internet connection one bike at a time

"JHARABARSHA, Bangladesh (AP) — Amina Begum had never seen a computer until a few years ago, but now she's on Skype regularly with her husband. A woman on a bicycle brings the Internet to her.
Dozens of "Info Ladies" bike into remote Bangladeshi villages with laptops and Internet connections, helping tens of thousands of people — especially women — get everything from government services to chats with distant loved ones. It's a vital service in a country where only 5 million of 152 million people have Internet access.
The Info Ladies project, created in 2008 by local development group D.Net and other community organizations, is modeled after a program that helped make cellphones widespread in Bangladesh. It intends to enlist thousands more workers in the next few years with startup funds from the South Asian country's central bank and expatriates working around the world.
D.Net recruits the women and trains them for three months to use a computer, the Internet, a printer and a camera. It arranges bank loans for the women to buy bicycles and equipment."

I read about the cell phone ladies previously. Hardly anyone in Bangladesh had a cell phone, so women were trained how to use and maintain one, then they set up shop in a viillage and charged a small fee for people to come use the phone.  It was very successful, though now there are millions of cell phones in Bangladesh so their service is less needed. This new Internet service will no doubt go the same way, providing Internet access to remote areas until they can get hooked in themselves.

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