WorldGSM at MWC 2011: Mobile Data for Impoverished, Isolated Villages

Since you're reading SlashGear, you almost certainly don't live in an isolated village in rural Africa. But if you do, you're almost certainly connecting to our site thanks to WorldGSM from VNL. This solar-powered mobile network hub is rugged, green and designed to be affordable in areas with an ARPU of less than $2.

WorldGSM doesn't need to be cooled and can be set up by people with virtually no technical know-how. Each unit costs roughly $20,000 and provides up to 10 Mbps of connectivity. Each base station draws less than 50 watts, meaning solar panels can keep them running "off the grid". The system is expandable too, allowing impoverished areas to broaden their coverage at a pace they can afford.

There are nearly two billion people online today, but billions more live in areas where the power grid itself is unreliable. But with data-driven cell phones and the WorldGSM, these folks finally have a practical option to get wired. Now, if only the unit on the show floor was working. A 10 Mbps connection sounds real nice, right about now.