Multimedia: Bringing access to unconnected communities
Equal Access has piloted 100 multimedia sites in Nepal since the last two years. These sites use the multimedia capability of the satellite system to bring digital content to remote areas, without the need to rely on an Internet connection, and at no cost to the communities themselves. We would like to expand this program to include many other sites and, in particular, schools and rural clinics.
Outreach: Building programs around innovative content
Where an investment has already been made in producing valuable content, we can increase the value of this investment by designing and implementing an outreach program providing innovative training, tools for discussions and enhanced learning – thereby maximizing the effectiveness of the broadcast content.
Solar: Bring electricity with information
Recognizing that many of the communities we serve do not have any access to electricity, we provide solar power to some of our outreach sites. The solar systems provided can range from simple solar panels to power receivers, to permanent solar installations that include lighting and electrical power for other purposes. We would very much like to expand the coverage of solar systems at our sites, or to offer use of receivers and the satellite information systems to rural communities who have been provided with solar or other alternative energy systems as part of donor supported programs.
Digital Satellite Broadcasting
Equal Access uses the Digital Satellite Radio infrastructure to directly reach participating communities in rural Nepal. Digital Satellite Radio (DSR) has many advantages as a tool to provide education to underserved rural communities:
The satellite provides a crystal clear signal across a huge geographic area, providing equal service to rural and urban areas (a single beam of the satellite covers all of India, Nepal, Bangladesh, Pakistan, Afghanistan and Sri Lanka),
The equipment required to receive the signal is relatively cheap and manufactured in the region (by BPL, Bangalore, India), requires little power supply (we use a mix of solar and battery power at rural sites) and strongly resembles a regular radio allowing communities to quickly understand and operate the system,
The DSR Receivers are simple to use and we have found that only a basic technical training is required for communities to use the systems,
The satellite system primarily carries audio content, a medium for education that builds on the established oral traditions of rural communities and which overcomes illiteracy, and,
As the receivers are also digital, they can be connected to a computer and used to download any form of data/multimedia such as WebPages, a written syllabus or an electronic text book at up to 64 kbps.