1. The work of extending the network of Myagdi network to 10 more villages is completed. International Telecommunication Union had provided equipment for this phase. The expansion was completed in January 2008. Mr. Wisit Atipayakoon from ITU visited the sites of Myagdi in May 2008. We are providing training to the villagers now.
2. Telemedicine between Kathmandu Model Hospital and Dolakha Hospital has been initiated and we are testing it now. We are also looking for support to buy high resolutionvideo conferencing cameras for telemedicine. We are also expanding the telemedicine services from the hospital to two clinics in Makawanpur soon.
3. With NREN (Nepal Research and Education Network), our project helped Keio University of Japan and Sagarmatha National Park to build a wireless network in Mount Everest region from Imja Lake to Namche Bazar in April, 2008. They are using the network for monitoring Imja lake from Japan. Imja lake is a glacial lake and is conssidered as one of the potentially dangerous lakes. The lake is growing rapidly because of the global warming. You can look at the real time pictures and climate information of Imja Lake, Namche Bazar and its vicinity at http://fsds.dc.affrc.go.jp/data4/Himalayan/ if you like. Imja Lake is very close to Mount Everest. This project is in the research phase now.
4. With the $50,000 support from World Bank that is coming through Nepal Telecom Authority of Nepal Governmrnt, we are working on connecting 19 more schools of Rasuwa, Nuwakot, Gorakha, Kaski, Tanahun, Myagdi, Parbat and baglung districts. They are providing wireless equipment and networking gears from the money. They are not providing any cash. This is the fouth phase of the project and it is going to be implemented by the end of 2008.
At present villagers are using the network for communication purposes since the network is the only means of communication available. People from the villages working abroad are using e-mails to communicate with their families in the villages. The students and teachers are using their web mail accounts under nepalwireless.net. Some people are also using free web mail accounts such as Yahoo or hotmail or others. We are using the network for communication through bulletin board as well, where the local people can put local news, local advertisement, announcement and urgent messages. We are also using the network for local e-commerce where villagers can put their local products such as cows, buffaloes, goat, chicken etc, for sale. You can visit the site at look at the local site (Internal Homepage) at http://www.nepalwireless.com.np.
Students from high schools are using the network to write e-mails to each other and to their pen-pals abroad. In the past, the students used to send letters to their pen-pals through "snail mail" which used to take months. Now they can communicate within a matter of minutes no matter where they are located. Also, the teachers and students are getting access to some educational materials that we have put in the intranet.
Paudwar and Nangi villages are using the network to run their income producing projects smoothly. They have been running Yak farming and Camping Grounds on joint venture basis way up from the villages (at 12,000 ft) for several years. Now the management committee of the projects are using the network to communicate with each other through NetMeeting or email in order to take appropriate decision for the projects. Moreover, we have given laptops to the camping ground and Yak farming staff. The management committee and the staff communicate regularly with each other to run the projects smoothly.
Nangi school has also started a cross-breeding program between yaks and cows near the Relay Station 1 mountain at an elevation of 11,000 ft. There is a person working on that project. It has been easier for the person taking care of the yak and cows to communicate with the villages and other yak herders through his laptop.
We would like to make use of the network for the benefit of the people living in the rural areas of Nepal. So far we have made the following progresses.
1. Progress on Educational Plans: Nepal Wireless Networking Project is working with Open Learning Exchange (OLE), an NGO based in the US and Kathmandu as a partner to develop educational interactive contents for the school children. The contents are based on the government curriculum from grade one through ten. We have already started pilot test of the contents produced by OLE - NEPAL of English and Math of grade two and six from April 2008. Please visit the http://www.olenepal.org for more information.
One of our main goals is to use the network for live teleteaching by one teacher from one high school to the students of several other high schools. The live distance teaching installation and testing has been completed using Axis 210 cameras, however, the video quality for the tele teaching is not good enough. We are seeking for technical assistance for launching the distance education program. If they succeed in this endeavor, it will help to fill the acute shortage of qualified teachers in the rural areas.
2. Progress on Tele-medicine Plans: We have set up tele-medicine program between Nangi village, Ramche village and Tikot village. The health worker of Nangi, Ramche and Tikot village are communicating with a medical doctor in Pokhara for medical assistance. It is working well. Our idea is to have the doctors in Om Hospital of Pokhara communicate with the patients in the village clinic directly through video-conferencing in order to treat the patient. The village health workers on village side assist the communication between the doctor and the patient and provide the medicine prescribed by the doctor. Our next program is to start the same program in more villages. Similar telemedicine program has been launched from Kathmandu Model Hospital to Dolakha General Hospital.We are working on expanding the services to more rural clinics of Makawanpur district.
3. Progress on E-commerce Plans: For the e-commerce site, the students of Gandaki Software Engineering College, Pokhara Nepal developed a software and they launched the e-commerce software in December, 2007. They went to the villages and taught villagers how to use the application. So far we have provided just one training program for the villagers. We are planning to run more training programs for the villagers in 2008.
4. Progress on Establishment of Communication Centers in the Villages: All of the 22 villages that we have networked did not have telephone. We have now successfully connected the Wi-fi network to PSTN line in Pokhara using Wi-fi to PSTN adaptor. The adaptor we are using for this purpose is Sipura. This type of communication is purely VoIP and currently it is illegal to use it in Nepal. We have set up a a network server in Pokhara that facilitates network management and provides a number of services to network users. The server computer is a large Pentium IV system with dual hard disks. The system runs a Fedora Core 6 Linux distribution with additional third party software and is configured for maximum redundancy to guard against failure.
Right now 15 out of 22 villages in the network are connected to PSTN telephone of Nepal Telecom through the WiFi network. Nepal Telecom has provided 4 -telephone lines. Also the villagers can make VoIP call to each other using soft phone or hard phone. To make the telephone call easier, each village has been provided four-digit extension number such as 1000, 2000, 3000, 4000, 4500, 5000 etc. Moreover, people from anywhere in the world can make VoIP call to reach these villages. The call goes through the Internet and it is free. For this to work one needs an extension number and one needs to install the soft phone software in computer or one needs to have a VoIP hard phone set. The only constraint to make VoIP telephone call to the villages from abroad using the extension number is that they don't have enough Internet bandwidth from the ISP. Right now we have only 128 kbps connection. Skype, Yahoo Voice Chatting works in the morning or evening because not many people use Internet during that time amd Internet bandwidth available.
5. Network Expansion: The work for the expansion of the network to nine more villages completed in January 2008. International Telecommunication Union provided equipment for the expansion of the network. These villages are Bega, Lekhgaun, Swanta, Gharamdi, Bandok, Chhomorong, Landruk, and Ghandruk.
6. Credit Card Transaction Service: In May 2008, we started Visa and Master card transaction service in Ghore pani for testing. This is going to be a virtual ATM machine. The Mother's Group of Ghorepani and thamel.com are working together to run this program. This program will be a good source of income in future. We are planning to set up similar service in other touris towns such as Ghandruk, Chhomorong, Tatopani, Shikha and others that are in the famous Annapurna Trekking Route.
In this way we can extend the network to larger areas of Nepal step by step, making the name Nepalwireless.net a reality.