Rhizomatica promotes “Mobile Communications for All” by aiming to provide cellular service to underserved and overlooked communities. It helped launch the first autonomous cellphone network in a small, Zapoteca community in Oaxaca, Mexico.
According the the Rhizomatica “About Page,”
According to the ITU, 2-3 billion people around the world lack affordable mobile telephone services that facilitate critical communications and access to information. Due to market saturation in developed countries and economic disincentive in the developing world and especially rural areas, mobile coverage proliferation is slowing dramatically worldwide. And yet most telecom regulations forbid the provision of strictly rural service, effectively killing any chance for micro-telco’s to thrive.
Currently, only very large, powerful companies have access to the mobile spectrum and the concessions to provide cellular service. But their business model and the technology that these traditional providers use have proven unable to solve the problem of connecting much of the world. We want to break this oligopoly and allow communities to become service providers as well.
Thanks to a variety of open-source efforts developed in the last few years, it has become technologically and economically feasible for a community or an individual to provide carrier-grade cellular service to thousands of people. Yet no one has so far applied these technologies in the real-world, much less created the needed regulatory reforms.
We work as a bridge between the potential users of the technology and the engineers and developers of these efforts to ensure the technology is deployed and appropriate for use in the developing world.
Our mission is to increase access to mobile telecommunications to the over 2 billion people without affordable coverage and the 700 million with none at all.
Through efforts in Mexico and Nigeria, we use new information and communication technologies, especially mobile telephony, to facilitate development and community organization in the developing world. Our approach combines regulatory reform, decentralization, community involvement, and the application of new technologies to connect people and communities to services proven to increase access to information, development and, ultimately, quality of life.
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