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Community Internet and telephony for combating the digital divide in rural areas: case study in Amazon - INTEgRA


The fundamental premise of the INTEgRA project is that the poor and isolated communities in terms of basic telephony and Internet services require innovative social actions and technologies developed for the specific situation they experience. But almost all the global research budget in communication networks target users of the regions with high population density and purchasing power. Consequently, Brazil, as the rest of the world, faces immense challenges to connect rural and poor communities in regions such as the Amazon. The INTEgRA project chalenges the fact that most digital inclusion programs rely exclusively on technologies that have been and are being developed to completely opposite realities of those experienced by their target communities. INTEgRA will conduct research and develop innovative technological solutions to the problem of digital divide faced by isolated rural communities, based on access networks using open technologies and operated by the community itself. It will also investigate efficient algorithms for fiber optic transmission, aiming at contributing to the national industry. Through two already financed pilot projects, the project deliverables will be validated via their deployment in two communities that currently have no provision of any telecommunications service by commercial carriers. The research includes technologies for network video distribution with "backhauls" of limited capacity, lower cost radio base stations, applications that give autonomy to the communities in the management of their own network access and also using speech recognition and synthesis due to the high illiteracy rate in the target communities. (AU)

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