The Foundation for Integrated Education and Development (FUNEDESIN) uses a 3.5kw solar panel array to run the wireless mesh that distributes broadband internet through their extensive site in Yachana located in the Amazonian jungle. Designed and installed by Bruce Schulte, an American who has been working on wireless networking projects in Ecuador for many years, the mesh distributes broadband from a satellite link between the various sites on the river up to 5km away.
Further connecting this corner of the world, VOIP (Voice Over IP) applications like Skype run well on the network. The foundation plans to set up their own VOIP server too which would allow them to link into the cell phone network, currently only accessible from the foundation's tower. In addition, this would allow incoming and outgoing calls via terrestrial networks.
An impressive bunch benefit from the network. The Yachana High School, founded in 2005, offers a degree in Ecotourism and Sustainable Development. Being online provides an incredible educational benefit for the students and teachers in every subject and helps them to bridge the digital divide.
The Medical Clinic that FUNEDESIN, built in 1997, benefits as well. Through Tele-Medicine, medical residents who spend a year doing rural service can now conduct live consultations from this remote clinic with experts in the Metropolitano Hospital in the capital city of Quito, or anywhere in the world.
Guests who stay at the Yachana Lodge, an award winning eco-tourism destination, can stay connected during their time in the hotel. Historically, FUNEDESIN and Yachana have run an office in Quito to handle their administration, bookings, accounts and other functions. Now that there is an internet connection throughout the jungle site, all of these functions are moving from Quito to Yachana, saving money, time and travel costs. Having universal internet access lets the foundation run all of their office functions from Yachana.
Further down the river the Bio Science Field Station is run by Global Vision International. Recently a new species of frog was discovered at the GVI Bio Station. Being online allowed the centre to confirm their discovery and upload photos to the internet whereas without being online these activities would have taken weeks.
Via Jon Anderson at Locust World
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