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Village Base Station (Community Cellular Networks)

Technology Philippines

Today over one billion people worldwide live beyond the reach of cellular networks. Many live in sparsely populated rural regions, with weak power infrastructure; making it prohibitively expensive for most telecommunication companies to invest.

To address this challenge, researchers supported by the Development Impact Lab (DIL) at UC Berkeley have developed the Community Cellular Network (CCN), formerly known as the Village Base Station. The CCN is a complete “network-in-a-box”, enabling local communities to both own and operate their own cellular systems. The network is designed for the world’s most remote communities and can be deployed by people with limited technical skills. At its core the technology is a village base station, or cell phone tower. Each CCN is costs less than 1/10th the price of traditional cellular equipment, and its low power consumption enables it run solely on solar or micro-hydro power. The network can provide kilometers of coverage to local communities.

The engineering team has adapted the core technology (radio antenna, admin interface) to the Philippine context. Most recently, the team developed a Tagalog survey instrument through extensive focus groups and piloting, and as of mid-September 2016, 1,500 households have been surveyed.

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