Matt Johnson, Spencer Sevilla

Author Archives: Matt Johnson, Spencer Sevilla

Building a Community LTE Network in Bokondini, Indonesia

As part of our work in the University of Washington’s Information and Communications Technology for Development (ICTD) Lab, we recently spent four weeks in Bokondini, a village in the Papuan Highlands. During our time in Bokondini, we helped some community members extend Internet access throughout the village via a community LTE network, using a technology stack that we call CoLTE (for Community LTE).

The Area and Background

Bokondini is a small village (population ~1,500) in the Baliem Valley, a mountainous region located in the highlands of Indonesian Papua. The Papuan Highlands are a famously rugged, remote, and hard-to-cover area, and many inhabitants of the region live without any form of telecommunications whatsoever. Infrastructure in Bokondini is a remarkably ad-hoc process; for example, electricity comes from a small set of solar panels and a micro hydro generator, and tends to shut off between the hours of 9pm and 6am.

Bokondini’s current relationship to the Internet revolves primarily around the local school. The community pays for a small (1Mbps) satellite Internet connection that terminates at the local elementary school, where it’s used to provide WiFi coverage to teachers on the school campus. Coverage is extended to a few other houses in Continue reading