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Towards Sustainable Broadband Communication in Under-served Areas: A Case Study from Tanzania
KTH, School of Information and Communication Technology (ICT), Communication: Services and Infrastucture, Telecommunication Systems Laboratory, TSLab.
2011 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

The problem discussed in this thesis is how to establish sustainable broadband markets in under-served areas. The purpose is to improve people’s living conditions by promoting efficient service delivery in education, health, and governance and alleviating poverty. Due to the high-perceived risks, the market forces have failed to bring ICT in these areas. The business community is reluctant to take on the supplier role.

Earlier efforts through development partners have been focusing on connecting under-served areas to the global Internet via telecentres. However, most implementations could not operate beyond the initial funding for various reasons, especially the lack of understanding of the local needs where most technical solutions were imported from the developed world, not optimized to work under local conditions.

We propose the creation of community or municipal owned “broadband islands”, defined as high speed communication broadband networks that do not depend on external connections for their operations. Using an Action Research participatory approach, we are emphasizing multi-stakeholder partnerships, and engaging the local community to contribute infrastructure, technical solutions and leadership. Our proposal is validated through the design and deployment of two pilot sites in rural areas of Tanzania. Our original contributions include 1) An overall model on how to establish and sustain broadband markets in under-served areas, making it scalable and reproducible. 2) technical innovations, especially the design and implementation of a low cost, low power-consuming, and robust router with integrated power management. 3) Organizational innovations by establishing institutional mechanisms at a local level in public-private-community partnership. 4) Innovative funding mechanisms by identifying partners who can pay on behalf of the end users and cut down costs through resource sharing schemes.

The government of Tanzania has shown interest to use the pilot sites as models for extending the national backbone into other municipal. Also, discussions are underway to organize similar pilots in East Africa.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Stockholm: KTH Royal Institute of Technology , 2011. , xiv, 49 p.
Series
Trita-ICT-ECS AVH, ISSN 1653-6363 ; 11:11
National Category
Telecommunications
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:kth:diva-49085ISBN: 978-91-7501-154-7 (print)OAI: oai:DiVA.org:kth-49085DiVA: diva2:459238
Public defence
2011-12-09, Sal/Hall E, KTH-Forum, Isafjordsgatan 39, Kista, 13:00 (English)
Opponent
Supervisors
Note
QC 20111125Available from: 2011-11-25 Created: 2011-11-25 Last updated: 2011-11-25Bibliographically approved
List of papers
1. Interconnection of broadband islands in developing regions
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Interconnection of broadband islands in developing regions
2007 (English)In: 2007 3rd International Conference On Testbeds And Research Infrastructure For The Development Of Networks And Communities, 2007, 49-54 p.Conference paper, Published paper (Refereed)
Abstract [en]

We present research on how to establish sustainable broadband markets in rural areas of developing regions. Due to an increasing political awareness of the importance of ICT for development, many such regions are now being networked. Since they have little legacy to consider, there are opportunities to leapfrog and stimulate solutions tailored to future needs and public good. The specific properties of the network topologies discussed are due to the piecemeal deployment of optical fiber creating broadband islands to be connected via whatever narrowband links available. The quality of service in such networks of interconnected broadband islands can be optimized by making the broadband islands self-sustained and managing the narrowband links by clever use of bandwidth management schemes, buffering, caching, etc., tailored to the needs of the specific services and applications. Our strategy assumes an open access regulatory regime allowing sharing of communication resources, opening up for innovative business models and new value chains. It calls for new technical solutions, also considering power consumption and cost . Our research includes experimental validation, currently focusing on two pilots in rural Tanzania, having one of the most open regulatory frameworks in Sub-Saharan Africa. The paper discusses a network design and outlines experiments underway in the pilots.

Keyword
component, broadband communication, Internet Exchange Points, fiber optics, pilot
National Category
Telecommunications
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:kth:diva-40790 (URN)000255661600006 ()2-s2.0-84886529595 (Scopus ID)978-1-4244-0738-5 (ISBN)
Conference
3rd International Conference on Testbeds and Research Infrastructure for the Development of Networks and Communities Location: Lake Buena Vista, FL Date: MAY 21-23, 2007
Note
QC 20110922Available from: 2011-09-22 Created: 2011-09-20 Last updated: 2011-11-25Bibliographically approved
2. Serengeti Broadband
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Serengeti Broadband
2008 (English)In: The 2nd ACM SIGCOMM Workshop on Networked Systems for De-veloping Regions, New York, NY, USA: ACM , 2008Conference paper, Published paper (Refereed)
Abstract [en]

This paper presents a broadband island defined by a fibre-opticcommunication network between Bunda and Serengeti, two ruraldistricts in the Mara region in northern Tanzania. The purpose ofthe network is to facilitate creation and sharing of information atgovernment institutions. The network is also expected to createjobs and entrepreneurial activities in these under-served areas.

The network is comprised of an optical fibre backbone and wireless local area networks operating in license-free spectrum asaccess networks. The fibre is currently terminated at three locations. VLAN-capable Ethernet switches with long rangeoptical transceivers provide backbone transmission as well as fibre access. To minimize costs, routers and servers in the networkare all based on standard PC hardware and Free Open Sourcesoftware. The infrastructure is operated under an Open Accessregime, other ways of resource sharing like virtualization at thelink; network and application layers are explored.

Although the broadband island defined by the fibre has anarrowband VSAT connection to the Internet, the focus on theservices provided in the network is local, focusing on e-government, education, healthcare and support to local entrepreneurs.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
New York, NY, USA: ACM, 2008
Keyword
Documentation, Design, Economics, Experimentation.
National Category
Telecommunications
Research subject
SRA - ICT
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:kth:diva-48393 (URN)10.1145/1397705.1397716 (DOI)2-s2.0-70249093279 (Scopus ID)978-1-60558-180-4 (ISBN)
Conference
2nd ACM SIGCOMM Workshop on Networked Systems for De-veloping Regions
Note
QC 20111118Available from: 2011-11-18 Created: 2011-11-18 Last updated: 2011-11-25Bibliographically approved
3. Analysis of the Serengeti Broadband Network
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Analysis of the Serengeti Broadband Network
2011 (English)Report (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

Internet access is intermittent and very expensive in remoteareas in the developing world. The access is still mainly pro-vided via satellite links to other continents and, although thetransition to terrestrial networks has started, it will taketime to reach the under-served areas. To understand thelocal needs and traffic patterns in rural areas, we have an-alyzed Internet web traffic logs captured over a year froma municipal network deployed in remote areas in Tanzania.The web traffic logs analysis was complemented by user sur-veys on their actual usage.Our analysis reveals that popularity of social networkingand news websites increases over time.We have noticed manyother contents such as advertisements which we consider notrelevant to developing regions but consume the little band-width they have. Based on the insights gained from theanalysis, we have provided recommendations on how to op-timize the little bandwidth available. Further, we have de-ployed some of the recommendations in the current system.

Publisher
8 p.
Series
Trita-ICT-ECS AVH, ISSN 1653-6363 ; 1653-7238
National Category
Communication Systems
Research subject
SRA - ICT
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:kth:diva-41500 (URN)978-91-7501-088-5 (ISBN)
Note
QC 20111003Available from: 2011-10-03 Created: 2011-09-28 Last updated: 2011-11-25Bibliographically approved
4. On Powering Communication Networks in Developing Regions
Open this publication in new window or tab >>On Powering Communication Networks in Developing Regions
2011 (English)In: Computers and Communications (ISCC), 2011 IEEE Symposium on, Kerkyra, Greece: IEEE , 2011, 383-390 p.Conference paper, Published paper (Refereed)
Abstract [en]

The work behind this paper aims at demonstrat-ing innovative solutions for the establishment of sustainablecommunity broadband networks in areas where there is de-mand but no supply of broadband services. One of the majorchallenges turns out to be reliable power supply. To overcomethis challenge, we explore how to decrease the demand forpower as well as the feasibility of using alternative powersources, such as solar and wind, and alternative power storagetechnologies, such as batteries and ultra-capacitors.In this paper, we present data collected over 2 months fromthe Serengeti community network in rural Tanzania to discussthe quality of the existing power-grid and the feasibility ofusing solar and wind energy as alternative energy sources.The network backbone is based on 1Gbps Ethernet links overdark fibre while end-user connections are currently based onWiFi links.Our measurements regarding the quality of the power-gridshow up to 21 power-outages in one single day, with an averageof 2 outages per day. Some of the outages are due to plannedrationing schemes caused by insufficient power generationwhile some outages are due to poor wiring or installations.Our measurements and analysis of the feasibility of usingalternative power sources indicate wind speeds on the average2m/s and a persistent high-level insolation, making solar energythe prime candidate as an alternative source of electricity. Therelatively high cost of solar panels has to be mitigated byincreased energy efficiency of the network elements. We alsopropose power management to be included in the networkmanagement system to maximize the availability of the net-work services and decrease operational costs due to damagednetwork elements.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Kerkyra, Greece: IEEE, 2011
Series
IEEE Symposium on Computers and Communications ISCC, ISSN 1530-1346
Keyword
Green networking; alternative energies; develop- ing regions; remote areas
National Category
Telecommunications
Research subject
SRA - ICT; SRA - Energy
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:kth:diva-48394 (URN)10.1109/ISCC.2011.5983868 (DOI)000298614900069 ()2-s2.0-80052766849 (Scopus ID)978-1-4577-0680-6 (ISBN)978-1-4577-0678-3 (ISBN)
Conference
IEEE Symposium on Computers and Communications (ISCC)
Funder
StandUp
Note
QC 20111118Available from: 2011-11-23 Created: 2011-11-18 Last updated: 2012-04-03Bibliographically approved
5. On the design of inclusive ubiquitous access
Open this publication in new window or tab >>On the design of inclusive ubiquitous access
2011 (English)In: ICUFN 2011 - 3rd International Conference on Ubiquitous and Future Networks, Dalian, China: IEEE , 2011, 346-352 p.Conference paper, Published paper (Refereed)
Abstract [en]

The development towards ubiquitous network access requires innovative solutions to get remote areas included, especially rural areas of developing regions. The challenges include robustness of network components, poor or non-existent power supply and sustainable business models. We argue that large scale user-driven community networks are becoming technically viable to deploy in areas that are short of supply of telecommunication services due to little or no commercial interest. To support this claim, we discuss the design of key network elements and careful power management based on alternative energy sources and storage. We also provide a status report from ongoing field-tests regarding provisioning of broadband network services in Serengeti, Tanzania, and outline briefly our strategy to achieve sustainability. On the technical side, we first discuss an affordable, high-performance, low-effect router based on open source software and standard off-the-shelf hardware offering both copper and fibre links. Our design is capable of forwarding more than 700kpps at 22.3W. The power consumption is considerably less than all alternatives in our comparison. Then we discuss power management and the use of batteries and super-capacitors as backup and storage solutions.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Dalian, China: IEEE, 2011
Keyword
low effect router, developing regions
National Category
Telecommunications
Research subject
SRA - ICT
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:kth:diva-48397 (URN)10.1109/ICUFN.2011.5949189 (DOI)2-s2.0-79961153585 (Scopus ID)978-1-4577-1176-3 (ISBN)
Conference
3rd International Conference on Ubiquitous and Future Networks, ICUFN 2011; Dalian; 15 June 2011 through 17 June 2011
Note
QC 20111122Available from: 2011-11-18 Created: 2011-11-18 Last updated: 2011-11-25Bibliographically approved
6. Challenges in Sustaining Municipal Broadband Networks in the Developing World
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Challenges in Sustaining Municipal Broadband Networks in the Developing World
2011 (English)In: E-TECHNOLOGIES AND NETWORKS FOR DEVELOPMENT, Verlag Berlin Heidelberg: Springer , 2011, Vol. 171, 26-40 p.Conference paper, Published paper (Refereed)
Abstract [en]

Municipal or community networks seem to be a constructivefirst step in the process of establishing sustainable broadband networksin areas where the demand for broadband communication services islarger than the supply. Besides meeting the acute demand, one purposeis to stimulate the market by demonstrating connectivity feasibility, toreduce the risks involved for commercial actors. One of the keys to thesustainability and scalability of such networks is a well designed andmanaged institutional framework based on the local prerequisites.In this paper, we report on our experience from the establishment ofthe Serengeti Broadband Network in Northern Tanzania. We have beenusing a public-private partnership approach to create a not-for-profitorganization to manage and operate a network first deployed as a researchand education effort. We present and discuss our approach, comparingand contrasting to other approaches found in the literature. We concludethat success requires local ownership. Thus, the institutional frameworkshould aim at creating local commitment and leadership.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Verlag Berlin Heidelberg: Springer, 2011
Series
Communications in Computer and Information Science, ISSN 1865-0929 ; 171
Keyword
community networks, developing world, management, operational sustainability, ownership, public-private-partnerships.
National Category
Telecommunications
Research subject
SRA - ICT
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:kth:diva-48399 (URN)10.1007/978-3-642-22729-5_3 (DOI)000296263100003 ()2-s2.0-80051567449 (Scopus ID)
Conference
1st International Conference on e-Technologies and Networks for Development (ICeND 2011) Location: Inst Finance Management, Dar-es-Salam, TANZANIA
Note

QC 20111121

Available from: 2011-11-18 Created: 2011-11-18 Last updated: 2016-05-02Bibliographically approved
7. Business Model for Developing World Municipal Broadband Network - A Case Study
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Business Model for Developing World Municipal Broadband Network - A Case Study
2011 (English)In: Global Information Infrastructure Symposium (GIIS), 2011, Da Nang, Vietnam: IEEE , 2011, 1-7 p.Conference paper, Published paper (Refereed)
Abstract [en]

A viable business model is key for the financial andoperational sustainability of community broadband network. Us-ing the public-private-partnership approach, stakeholder analysisand the business model canvas tool, we demonstrate a businessmodel that can guarantee financial and operational sustainabilityof community networks in rural developing regions. The businessmodel has been validated in a local broadband communicationnetwork built in rural Tanzania.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Da Nang, Vietnam: IEEE, 2011
Keyword
Business model, Public-Private-Partnerships, Non-Governmental Organizations, Community Telecommunica- tion Networks, financial sustainability
National Category
Telecommunications
Research subject
SRA - ICT
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:kth:diva-48396 (URN)10.1109/GIIS.2011.6026715 (DOI)2-s2.0-80053627999 (Scopus ID)978-1-4577-1262-3 (ISBN)978-1-4577-1260-9 (ISBN)
Conference
Global Information Infrastructure Symposium (GIIS), 2011
Note
QC 20111118Available from: 2011-11-18 Created: 2011-11-18 Last updated: 2011-11-25Bibliographically approved
8. On Building Sustainable Broadband Networks in Rural Areas
Open this publication in new window or tab >>On Building Sustainable Broadband Networks in Rural Areas
2011 (English)In: 2011 Technical Symposium at ITU Telecom World (ITU WT11), 2011, 135-140 p.Conference paper, Published paper (Refereed)
Abstract [en]

We present research on how to build sustainablebroadband networks in rural areas of developing regions. Due toan increasing political awareness of the importance of ICT fordevelopment, many such regions are now being networked. Thespecific design considerations are due to the technical and non-technical challenges found in those areas. Our research includesa pilot implementation in rural Tanzania.

Keyword
developing regions; remote areas; infrastructure sharing; sustainability; broadband community networks;
National Category
Telecommunications
Research subject
SRA - ICT
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:kth:diva-48398 (URN)000317271900024 ()2-s2.0-84855384094 (Scopus ID)978-1-4577-1148-0 (ISBN)
Conference
ITU Technical Symposium - Telecom World 2011 (ITU WT11)
Note

QC 20111118

Available from: 2011-11-18 Created: 2011-11-18 Last updated: 2014-01-15Bibliographically approved

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  • harvard1
  • ieee
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