I came upon a wonderful story about a worldwide effort to bring internet access to people across the globe, despite hurdles such as no connectivity, no phone service and no electricity.
SolarNetOne is a collaborative effort spanning several continents, organizations, and technical disciplines. The goal of the effort is to develop a feasible, sustainable solution to bring the internet to places that have no connectivity, no phone service and no electricity.
Developed by Florida based GNUveau, the system is a solar-powered Internet “hub” (running Ubuntu GNU/Linux). The terminals includes access to web browsing, email, voip, office, multimedia, software development and web development tools as well as 15,000 other applications. Wifi coverage spans a 2-mile radius, with no fuel costs, no polluting emissions and a long lifespan of up to 20 years with proper maintenance. The entire system, in fact, operates on about the same amount of power as a 100-watt light bulb, GNUveau says.
Scott Johnson, founder of GNUveau:
With experts in open source software, photo-voltaic electricity, internet infrastructure, and true internet pioneers on the SolarNetOne team, we have endeavored to design and implement systems capable of bridging the digital divide under the most difficult of conditions, and in the most open method available.
On the wiki, you can see the system running in Katsina State University in Nigeria right now, providing wireless connectivity and “Internet Cafe” like services to hundreds of people.