Two mobiles registered a openbts base station

bullet1 Low cost open GSM base station for developing countries

Published: 24 Aug 2009

What did you do during your summer holidays? I was building my own GSM network!

I have been waiting almost 20 years to make this phone call!. Back in the 90's when I started my engineering studies and discovered GNU/Linux, dreamed with a system that could do what I have right now on my table :). The first attempt was in 2001 when I was completing my PhD at KTH in Sweden. During those years a group of researchers in the Laboratory started to explore the possibility of replacing as much of the GSM architecture (BSC, MSC) for open source software. Although we had a commercial GSM container with plenty of noisy equipment, the project got stuck trying to find documentation for the GSM internal interfaces.

In December 2008, I attended a conference about Mobile Service in Developing Regions. I was very surprised not to see anyone addressing the need of opening the GSM infrastructure (hardware and software). Christmas period was a good time for new projects so I decided to get in touch with the openbts project and try to build their base station. Assembling all the necessary hardware took a bit of time! David Burguess from openbts has been really helpful with hardware purchases!.

Yes! It does work, and that first phone call felt like a different one :D. The base station uses a piece of hardware known as USRP. The USRP is a radio communication system where components that have typically been implemented in hardware are now implemented using software in a PC.

We are looking for sponsors for a deployment in a developing region! Interested? Drop us a line!

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Swahili Firefox Language Pack Add-on!

bullet1 Swahili Language is now a Firefox add-on!

Published: 10 Jul 2009

After several months of hard work, the Swahili Language Pack for Firefox 3.5 is finally available online! The software is the result of the community effort of the Tanzanian Linux user Group (tzLUG). The software is available to download at:

If you want to install the add-on follow these steps:

  • Download the latest Firefox 3.5.* from here.
  • After installing the Firefox English version for your operative system, install the Swahili add-on available here .
  • Finally, you need to enable the Swahili locale. Install the following add-on Locale Switcher and enable Swahili by selecting it from the Tools - Language Menu

In a hurry? If you want to find both components quickly we have prepared a add-on collection here

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Presenting the Fantsuam

bullet1 Local knowledge, local materials, local skills, local language, global network!

Published: 29 Apr 2009

During the UNESCO's workshop in Dhaka, we got the chance to give a presentation about some of the challenges and lessons learned in our work in Africa and Latin America. Using ICT in/for education is not only about bringing computers or Internet to the students in rural areas. Connectivity without a clear strategy and a sustainability plan is good for pilots but not to guarantee any replication.

When introducing ICT in education, there are many other aspects that needs to be taken into consideration: training methodology and curricula, access to reliable energy, localization of tools and content, added value services as voice,...

The reality of Bangladesh is overwhelming, the numbers talk: 1,000 people per square kilometer (20 in Sweden), women literacy rate 22% (99.8% in Cuba), >87.000 primary level institutions, 145 million people...

The ICT National Policy is a good piece of work that includes the promotion and use of cost-effective, open source and open architecture solutions and the promotion of Bangla language.

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Mr. Nurul Islam Nahid,
Minister of Education

bullet1 ICT in education in Bangladesh

Published: 27 Apr 2009

As part of the BanglaOS project supported by the Spanish Cooperation Agency, IT46 is attending a Capacity Building Workshop on Using ICT in Education and formulating the ICT master plan for Bangladesh.

PRESSRELEASE: Nation moves one step towards digital Bangladesh - ICT in education in master plan soon

Bangladesh is moving one step ahead in making digital Bangladesh – master plan for ICT in education is going to be prepared soon. The government, stakeholders and development partners began a journey of formulating the ICT in Education Master Plan of Bangladesh through the first step- the Capacity Building Workshop on Using the ICT in Education Toolkit for Policymakers, Planners and Practitioners, started on 27th and will finish on 30 April 2009.

ডিজিট্যাল বাংলাদেশের পথে আরেক ধাপ শীঘ্রই তৈরি হচ্ছে শিক্ষায় তথ্যপ্রযুক্তি ব্যবহারের কর্মপরিকল্পনা বর্তমান সরকারের বহুল প্রতিশ্রুত ডিজিট্যাল বাংলাদেশেরে পক্ষে আরেকধাপ এগুলো বাংলাদেশ। শিক্ষাক্ষেত্রে তথ্যপ্রযুক্তির ব্যবহারের কর্মপরিকল্পনা তৈরি করতে যাচ্ছে সরকার। এ লক্ষ্যে শুরু হয়েছে চারদিন ব্যাপী প্রশিক্ষণ কর্মশালা – ঢাকাস্থ ব্যানবেইস কার্যালয়ে। ইউনেস্কো, ইউএনডিপি এবং স্পেনের উন্নয়ন সংস্থার সহযোগিতায় আয়োজিত এই কর্মশালায় অংশ নিচ্ছেন ৩০ জনেরও বেশি সরকারী ও বেসরকারী সংস্থার নীতিনির্ধারক ও পরিকল্পনাবিদ এতে অংশ নিচ্ছেন। শিক্ষায় তথ্যপ্রযুক্তি ব্যবহারের জন্য সক্ষমতা বাড়াতে এবং পরবর্তীতে বাংলাদেশের জন্য একটি কর্মপরিকল্পনা প্রণয়নে কাজ করার জন্য সক্ষমতা বৃদ্ধিই এই কর্মশালার উদ্দ্যেশ। বর্তমান সরকার গত জানুয়ারিতে ক্ষমতায় আসার সময় একটি প্রতিশ্রুতি ছিল তথ্যপ্রযুক্তিতে দেশের ব্যাপক জনগোষ্ঠীকে প্রশিক্ষিত করে বাংলাদেশকে ডিজিট্যাল বাংলাদেশ হিসেবে গড়ে তোলা। বর্তমান সরকার ইতোমধ্যে আগের শিক্ষানীতিসমূহ পর্যালোচনার ভিত্তিতে দ্রুততম সময়ের মধ্যে নূতন একটি শিক্ষানীতি প্রণয়নের কাজে হাত দিয়েছে। শিক্ষায় তথ্যপ্রযুক্তিকে সমন্বয়ের এই সময়োপযোগী উদ্যোগ শিক্ষাকে একুশশতকের উপযোগী করে তুলবে নি:সন্দেহে।

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Fantsuam 150 feet central tower

bullet1 Fantsuam's tower collapses during heavy rain storm

Published: 24 Apr 2009

IT46 has been working Fantsuam Foundation (Kafanchan, Nigeria) in the establishment of Zittnet, the first rural community wireless ISP in Nigeria since 2006.

Today, we received the bad news that the central communication tower from Fantsuam was taken down by a strong wind the past Tuesday 21st April around 15.15 PM.

Ochuko Oneberhie from Fantsuam reported that during a heavy rain storm, the wind bent the tower from the top. In the course of its fall one of the legs was uprooted from the ground with the foundation. Several buildings including the old network operation center, a Cisco Laboratory and a neighboring building has been seriously damaged. No human casualty or injury was involved.

This is the second biggest natural disaster that Zittnet has suffered in a few months. In August 2008, a lighting direct strike destroyed a big part of their power and wireless infrastructure. Our best energy to Fantsuam and Zittnet in this difficult time and we hope that we can mobilize the very well deserved support that you need now!.

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2004 - 2009

bullet1 We are five years old!

Published: 30 Mar 2009

We started IT46 five years ago with the aim to bring new technologies to the developing world. Making the world a better place has been an engaging activity so far and there is still lots of work to do. We had been traveling to enough dusty places to understand that the world is really broken and needs lots of patch work. Starting from the scratch does not seem an option!

Back in 2004, we were not sure how long this company was going to stay alive. We were not sure if it was going to be possible to keep our visions and still make a living. After five years of work, we are happy to say that we still love our work and specially the people we have met. Our vision has not changed: knowledge transfer, technology for change

During the last weeks in the cold Sweden, we have worked in our new website. Rearranging the site has been a task that took more time than expected, it has been a bit of house and mental cleaning (rounding corners and organizing material)... trying to merge together the 2GB of content that we have produced in five years has not been a simple task! The site contains 6000 files and 640 pdf documents!

In this new release of the website you can find an integrated training curricula under Our Work » Knowledge Transfer. There, you can find over 700+ pages of content in seven thematic areas licensed under Creative Commons. Copy them and let us know!

We have also compiled some of our software in an unified SVN server and integrated our news section under one single RSS

If you want to have a quick look to our work in the last years, check the About us » Reference Projects section or our About us » Annual Reports. The search option in the website should help you find all the content. You can search using our selected keywords and the search engine will provide you also a simple link that you can share with others or add to your website. Give it a try!

We hope to be around for another five years! Until then, copy, adapt and improve. Gracias, Tack, Asante, Thanks!

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Community One North Conference, 2009

bullet1 Umoja Project in CommunityONE North Conference

Published: 17 Mar 2009

The 15th of April, IT46 will present the Umoja Project in Sun's Community One North Conference, Oslo, Norway. The Umoja Project aims to create a longer term community of developers and users of open source software in Swahili language. The presentation will address the technical and social challenges of building open source communities in developing regions.

During the last five years IT46 has worked in several localization initiatives that includes the very first release of in Swahili (2005) or the inclusion of several African locales in Unicode standards.

The Umoja Project @ CommunityOne is the result of the collaboration of the Tanzanian LUG (tzLUG), FreeCode and SUN Microsystems.

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Umoja Firefox 3.1

bullet1 Firefox in Swahili - A community effort (II)

Published: 3 Mar 2009

A few months ago, IT46 joined a community effort to build Firefox 3.1 in Swahili language. The effort comes from the Tanzanian Linux User Group, a grass-root organization that wants to promote open source and software in Swahili language.

Today, we have completed the first full build of the software that contains 93% of the total strings. Screenshoots of the software are available here. There is still some work pending regarding acceleration keys and reviewing the glossary for consistency among translators, but the software should be ready for public testing in less than one month.

Congrats to Paul, Jonathan M, Bibiana, Eric, Sebastian, Emanuel, Aziz and Jonathan N. for the good work!

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Shiretoko in Swahili

bullet1 Firefox in Swahili - A community effort

Published: 14 Feb 2009

IT46 has joined a community effort to build Firefox 3.x in Swahili language. The initiative comes from the Tanzanian Linux User Group, a grass-root organization that wants to promote open source and software in Swahili language. A dozen volunteers from the tzLUG has completed this new localization of the software. The effort aims to create a longer term community of developers and users of open source software in Swahili language.

A language pack for Firefox 3.1 (Shiretoko) is now ready for Quality Assurance and internal builds available for testing.

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Wireless in Ouagadougou

bullet1 Wireless Academic Network in Burkina Faso

Published: 13 Feb 2009

IT46 will design two wireless metropolitan networks for the academic networks in Ouagadougou and Bobo (Burkina Faso). The initiative is the result of a collaboration of DSV and Cygate in Sweden and three academic institutions in Burkina Faso: University of Ouagadougou the National Science and Technology Research Centre (CNRST) and the Polytechnic University of Bobo Diolasso (UPB).

The project aims to create a local academic network connecting 20 sites. The first phase of the wireless design (site survey, radio simulations and frequency selection) will be completed in February 2009

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