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Re: [school-discuss] GSM modems

Doug wrote:

I can't say which if any of these links and devices will be most useful to you (if any). I'm sure this advice is already obvious to you, but I'll say it just in case. When you identify the units you think will be best for your use, contact the companies who manufacture the devices directly (not through any distributor). Tell them just what your intended use is and explain the financial situation to them. You might find them willing to donate the equipment for some charitable consideration on their taxes or for the good publicity they can get from the donation. If you do decide to pursue this line of inquiry, please keep me informed!

Doug Loss

Thanks for all the links Doug! When I talk to them, the big question in my mind is how much will the monthly service cost and how limited will it be (max MB per month, e.g., not just data rate; you can really stack up the bill if you use too many MB over cellular). They might donate the initial equipment and maybe some number of months free data service, but that charge has to be carefully monitored. The solar powered WiFi daisy chain on the other hand may sound expensive (additional cost per village of $200 for the antennas and WiFi equipment) but the cell phone modems are similar in price, and you have to pay every month thereafter. I'm thinking if we start with a village that is near the University of Malawi, we could tie into their network and start the daisy chain that way. Might even be electricity in the first couple of villages, lowering the cost to $1000 per village but we still might need the solar cell for backup if power is unreliable. Our main contact there is in a specific remote village however, so the cell phone approach could still be the method of choice for the pilot.


Daniel Howard
President and CEO
Georgia Open Source Education Foundation