Bringing technology to the masses is the mission of First Mile Solutions, an Indian Wi-Fi outfit whose services include a fleet of buses and motorcycles that serve as mobile hotspots for hard-to-reach communities in the country’s hinterlands.
First Mile is part of a wider effort called the United Villages project, which serves rural residents in Cambodia, Paraguay, and Rwanda as well. Each community has one computer, which gets its Web access from the bus or motorcycle that brings Wi-Fi capability to the out-of-reach.
When the vehicle rolls into town, the town computer’s Internet connection roars to life and a suite of news-related pages are updated. Depending on the network, a village’s computer can be updated up to six times a day, which is more than enough to keep up on the latest goings-on in the world of cricket, Bollywood, and international politics.
Users can also request specific information not normally covered—for a fee, of course. The information is logged in the database of the bus or motorcycle, which gets the updated information on its return trip to the network center. The user gets his or her information fix when the vehicle returns later in the day.