|October 18, 2001
Presenter: Lynne Gallagher and Rebecca Mayer
Chair: Robert Schware, Senior Informatics Specialist, CITPO
Lynne Gallagher of Telecom Telematique Inc. and Rebecca Mayer of Wiya Solutions, Inc. Lynne and Rebecca discussed solutions for women who live in rural areas without access to basic ICT networks. Without this access, women in rural areas cannot share in the education, income-generation, health and other benefits that can come through the use of ICTs, such as those that women in urban areas are beginning to use. National programs and policies to deploy communications to rural areas and provide affordable access are required. Technologies now exist to provide access with increased effectiveness and flexibility, while the costs are decreasing. Networks that reach deep into rural areas use new wireless technologies to connect clusters of sites. Software and hardware platforms, applications and content are being developed.
This seminar explored new approaches to technology, regulatory, and business solutions. One approach presented is Tel@Bureau, a network of small rural telecenters with wireless connectivity and solar power, frequently owned and operated by women. A "telecenter in a box" delivers ICTs to communities to support small business, education, health, agriculture, government services, and personal communications. Networks are engineered to fit the distances, topography, populations, available infrastructure, and regulatory constraints.
Lynne Gallagher is an international telecom consultant on emerging markets and developing country ICTs, on telecom policy and regulation, and wireless technologies. She is a consultant to the U.N. agency INSTRAW and the European Union and a member of the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) task forces on gender, Internet infrastructure, rural access technologies, and policy and regulation. She has worked with Sprint International, Hatfield Associates, and LearnLink. Lynne holds an MBA and an M.S. in Telecommunications.
Rebecca Mayer of Wiya Solutions, Inc. described the open source software platform designed to meet the needs of rural and peri-urban areas. Rebecca recently staffed the ITU Focus Group on rural access technologies. She is developing a Wiya Platform using the open source model and software specifically for rural and peri-urban areas in developing countries.