To connect with the rest of the world, the residents of the Zapotec village of Talea de Castro in Southern Mexico once endured long lines, large distances and high fees to make a phone call.
Thanks to simple radio receivers, a laptop and relatively inexpensive internet technologies, the villagers now have access to their own “mini-telecom company” that reduces fees significantly and can handle 11 cell phone calls at a time.
More than 720 residents have signed up to use the new system, which uses a small antenna to capture calls with a “generic” radio.
The system is similar to “a cell phone version of Skype.” Local calls are free and every subscriber has a distinct mobile number. Backers of this impactful improvement, such as Rhizomatica, hope this plan can bring connections to thousands of other small, isolated villages around the world, where roughly 700 million people lack affordable cell service.