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Afghanistan’s DIY Internet / YOU can do it as well

March 22, 2012

FabFi is an ambitious project which is creating Internet networks for eastern Afghanistan whose main components can be built out of trash. It’s low-tech, it’s simple–and it works.

The Afghan city of Jalalabad has a high-speed Internet network whose main components are built out of trash found locally. Aid workers, mostly from the United States, are using the provincial city in Afghanistan’s far east as a pilot site for a project called FabFi.

It’s a broadband apart from the covert, subversive “Internet in a suitcase” and stealth broadband networks being sponsored by the U.S., aimed at empowering dissidents, but the goal isn’t so different: bringing high-speed online access to the world’s most remote places.

Residents can build a FabFi node out of approximately $60 worth of everyday items such as boards, wires, plastic tubs, and cans that will serve a whole community at once. While it sounds like science fiction, FabFi could have important ramifications for entire swaths of the world that lack conventional broadband.

FabFi is an open source project that maintains close ties to MIT’s Fab Lab and the university’s Center for Bits and Atoms. At the moment, FabFi products are up and running in both Jalalabad and at three sites in Kenya, which collectively operate as an Internet service provider called JoinAfrica. Inside Afghanistan, FabFi networks are used to aid local businesses and to prop up community infrastructure such as hospitals and clinics.

Three generations of a teaching family near Jalalabad, shown in 2009, discovered Wikipedia on a laptop from the One Laptop Per Child program. Their Internet access was facilitated by a FabFi network. Credit: Keith Berkoben/Fab Folk. NYT

Via Co.Exist. Click HERE for more info.

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