When and how did we start?
We had started the Nepal
Wireless Networking Project as a pilot project from a small and
remote area of Nepal with the help of foreign supporters and
volunteers. We did several testing in 2002 to find out if it
is possible to connect the villages to the nearest ISP in Pokhara. The test was successful. That time we did not know at all how useful a wireless network can be for the rural people. We did not even thought that we would be able to build wireless networks in different parts of Nepal.
The villages are wirelessly networked and
connected to an ISP WorldLink,
which is approx. 22 air miles (~34 km) away from Relay Station 1, in a
city called Pokhara. Wlink is one of the sponsors of the broadband
Internet connection to the villages in Myagdi district Nepal.
In September 2003, we had
connected five villages of Myagdi district. In 2004, we became able to connect 7 villages. In 2006 we connected 6 more villages. Now we have
connected altogether 22 villages of Myagdi, Kaski and Parbat district. We helped to build a similar wireless network in Makawanpur district connecting 7 villages, and in Palpa district connecting 4 villages.
Who owns, runs and maintains
The Myagdi network of Nepal Wireless
Networking Project is now owned and run by Himanchal Higher Secondary School,
Nangi Village, Nepal. This is the school that Mahabir Pun had helped villagers to start after coming back from the USA, which is also the hub of several income producing projects including wireless networking project. However, Nepal Wireless Networking Project is an ambitious project and
we want to go far beyond what we have done now by inviting people and
communities that are interested to replicate such projects in other
parts of Nepal. We are also knocking at the doors of Nepal Government and asking them to replicate the network across Nepal. We have now
signed MoUs with several institutions and organizations to expand the
network in other parts of Nepal and to make the wireless network as much
beneficial as possible for rural population. On the long run, this project will be a national project and it will be developed in public and private partnership business model.
Who is our target?
The taget of this
project are the people living in isolated villages of Himalayan region of Nepal where there
is almost no chance of getting the modern means of communication in near
future. We are introducing the information technology to villagers, most
of whom had never seen computers until a few years ago. Most of the
villagers still have no idea as what the uses of the computers are. For
the villagers, a computer is no more than a "mysterious box". Moreover,
they have no idea what Internet is.
What is our
Our initial goal is
to introduce the "mysterious box" to the remote villages and show its
real uses to the villagers. It is only after the villagers see what a
computer does will they be motivated to learn about it and use it by
themselves step by step. Each step they will take will be a step forward
to bring the digitally divided countries closer. We believe that this is
the right way to go.
What were the biggest
challenges and problems that we had to face?
Technically, we were running the network illegally
because we had not gotten license that the government of Nepal
then required. Also it was almost impossible to import Wi-fi equipment from abroad. We had smuggled all the wireless equipment from Singapore and the US. Therefore the biggest challenges
until September 2006 for
this project was to find ways to work in the absence of flexible
Moreover it was very risky to our lives to bring the equipment and build the network during the time of peak political conflict in Nepal. We might have been killed or tortured either by the government or by the Maoist armies if there had gone something wrong. Luckily, we survived.
There were obviously some
technical problems also that incurred. However, we became able to solve
the technical problems.
After the restoration of
democracy in Nepal in April 2006, the political situation is getting
better in Nepal. Therefore we don't have as much risk now as it was
before to set up Wi-fi network. Wi-fi technology (2.4 GHz and 5.8 GHz)
has been de-licensed since Setpember 2006, and it has been easier to
import and set up wireless network. Our team members along with the
people working in the wireless networking field had to lobby hard to
de-license the Wi-fi bands.
What are we lobbying for now?
Nepal Wireless Networking
Project along with individuals and organization working in the field of
wireless networking had lobbied for opening up of VOIP and provision for rural
and community ISPs in Nepal. For the last two years, team leader Mahabir Pun has spent more time
in Kathmandu making presentation to lawmakers and officials of the
importance of these things for rural communications. The team leader
gave presentations to member of parliaments, political leaders and
government officials telling how Wi-fi technology can be very useful for
the people living in the remote areas. As a result the government has
brought a new law on Rural and Community ISPs within Nepal reducing the
license fee to about USD3 for using VSAT in the rural areas and
starting a rural ISP.
Originally the license fee was almost USD 5,000. The government has also
opened up PC to PC and IP to IP VoIP in September 2007. We also lobbied for about a month with Nepal Telecom Authority of Nepal to make Nepal Telecom share its copper and fiber infrastructure with private ISPs. Now Nepal Telecom Authority has brought a law requiring Nepal Telecom to share it copper and fiber infrastructure.
What can you see in
In this website, we
are trying to explain how the idea came about, what we tried, what we
have done so far, what we are doing with it, what our future plans are,
and how we can work together. If you like the idea, you are welcomed to
be a part of this campaign.
Who is the sponsor of
Jonni Lehtiranta from Finland is the
sponsor of this website. He is helping to create and maintain this
website from his own server. He visited Nangi village, Nepal in 2002 and
2004 and stayed a total of more than two months. Jonni was back to Nangi
in Sptember 2007 for three weeks. Jonni also brought a sauna stove from Finland and installed in Nangi village, which the villagers like very much.