Internet dream becomes a Nepal reality

A Nepali teacher has finally turned his dream into reality by connecting his remote mountain community to the internet.

In 2001 Mahabir Pun wrote to the BBC World Service’s technology programme, then known as ‘Go Dig’. He wanted to connect his village to the internet after the local high school received four used computers as a gift from students in Australia. However, the lack of a phone line in the village made an internet connection almost impossible.

The only viable option was a satellite connection but the cost of this was beyond his means.

Several people also came forward to offer their help voluntarily and suggested wireless networking.

The idea was successfully tested between two villages in Nepal and as a result, Mr Pun was able to turn his vision of a networked Nepal into reality.

“We had to actually smuggle all the wireless equipment from America and Europe and build the network illegally.” There is now a telemedicine project, Voice over IP (VoIP) phone calls, internet terminals and places where people can trade goods from live yaks to handicrafts. “We are using the wireless network for health, providing telemedicine services to the remote villages,” said Mr Pun.

A delightful tale. And I recognize the antenna from the system we had to use to receive anything more than terrestrial TV when my wife and I first settled into La Cieneguilla. It worked well.

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