Exploring the Frontiers of Broadband

IMG_2277I’ve been fortunate to spend much of the last six months traveling in developing countries, learning about the progress and consequences of the extension of broadband into resource-poor environments.

I’ll be writing more on this topic in coming months, but here are a few pictures of communities I’ve visited where I’ve enjoyed conversations with locals.

Rural Nicaragua has increasing cellular coverage — if people can afford it. Notice that these homes have electricity, but no antennas signaling television. People at this economic level may own a feature phone but not a smartphone. This image is taken outside of Tipitapa.

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In rural Malawi, I would see some signs of the use of solar power, including mobile panels that villagers could move around to optimize the sun. This image is from Mulanje District, a poor region in the south of the country.

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In Soweto, South Africa, most homes have no electricity, but some connect (generally illegally) to power poles on the periphery of the settlement. This allows residents to occasionally have lights and charge cell phones.

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Most of the planet at this point is connected by feature phone, and about half the planet by smartphone — a percentage that will grow greatly in the next few years.

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