What Does Digital Village need to Succeed?
Digital Village is a community initiative. That means that the support of the broad spectrum of community and institutional role players is required to make it work.
From local government side, what is required is the free use of high points for wireless network repeater stations (“pole rights”). This may also include the use of tall buildings for relay antennas (“roof rights”), especially in urban areas.
There is also the need for influential members of society to help open up bottle necks, speed up slow and cumbersome institutional decision-making and generally help open up high sites for the network.
Furthermore, donor funding is required. There are many organizations that offer donor funding to projects of this kind. Such sources of funding range from relatively small to relatively big as in the case of the Digital Village project in Kenya that was funded by the World Bank.
In all cases, leaders in government and industry have connections and influence that can both open up sources of funding and speed up the availability.
Not only is funding and influences required to open up sources of funding, but it is also required to open up next generation solutions for providing bandwidth for the network.
Bandwidth continues to be an expensive and restrictive commodity that has greatly held back social and economical upliftment in the Garden Route and South African in general.
There are, however, government institutions that can provide large amounts of bandwidth either for free or at very low cost. Furthermore, there are new solutions for obtaining bandwidth via satellite delivery, for instance, that will be hugely beneficial to the Digital Villages of the future, provided that this is made possible. And for this to happen, the high profile involvement of government and business leaders will be essential.
In the meanwhile, the ongoing support of technical services for the project is ensured by the continued participation and delivery of services by the local IT community.