Re: [gaia] Basic Free Internet Access

Arzak Khan <> Sun, 06 December 2015 17:28 UTC

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From: Arzak Khan <>
To: Henning Schulzrinne <>, Arjuna Sathiaseelan <>
Date: Sun, 6 Dec 2015 17:28:28 +0000
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Subject: Re: [gaia] Basic Free Internet Access
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Hi Folks,
I am new to the list and was keen to share one of initiatives that I have started in Pakistan i.e. TOPS (Tactical Operations) directly focused on providing free internet access so humanitarian organizations, and people impacted by disasters such as earthquakes, flooding and cyclones can coordinate relief efforts and most importantly people in the area can communicate with their families without any hurdles or costs. 
You can learn more about it here
How we do Tactical Operations 
Tactical Operation team uses portable satellite communications equipment to provide voice and data communications for aid workers who rely on these tools to coordinate logistics and deliver lifesaving supplies.Providing vital ICT support (Internet, telephone, satphone, and email) to first responders and relief organizations.Establishing multiple communications centers equipped with internet, phone and radio capabilities. In addition, iPOP tactical operations team also provides free phone calls to people living in temporary camps and shelters.Establishing dedicated communication center for women enabling them to communication and reconnect them with displaced family members. 
If anyone is interested in learning more about it I would be happy to share our experiences. 
Arzak Khan | Founder & Director | Internet Policy Observatory Pakistan | web: | Tel: + 92 333 7749484 | 

Date: Sat, 5 Dec 2015 15:55:51 -0500
Subject: Re: [gaia] Basic Free Internet Access

In the US, there is in effect a (near*) nationwide Wi-Fi network, at least in urban areas, through CableWiFi. There has been discussion about "open in case of emergency" modes so that non-cable customers could access the APs. See, for example,

* not all cable companies participate
On Sat, Dec 5, 2015 at 4:01 AM, Arjuna Sathiaseelan <> wrote:
All -
With all the disasters thats been happening these days -- including the recent one at Chennai -- people are trying to get connected to the Internet. We are now talking to groups in Chennai to put up an adhoc mesh to get some connectivity etc - Power is a major problem. But those with the power are now trying to open up their own WiFi for others to share..But the biggest issue is we are all doing this after the disaster strikes and not proactively!
This makes me think, shouldnt governments create some sort of an emergency network for such events for people to communicate? So like FON, if governments can work with operators and use the existing home access points to open up during emergencies - so that people can access for FREE in proper isolation without interfering with the sharer - wouldnt this be useful? Ofcourse if there is no infrastructure or power then nothing happens or people have to use firechat/opengarden if they have already installed..
this was the idea behind the Public Access WiFi Service (PAWS) project we did here in Cambridge few years ago ( this wasnt greatly successful because we didnt target the disaster usecase -- but now thinking if such a system indeed existed - this maybe worthwhile including the syrian refugee crisis and the refugees wanting to connect and no money/credit cards/no credit rating etc..This solely is not enough - but I think this could also be an enabler especially when there are national emergencies..
So the idea is enable all WiFi access points to open up by default controlled by the operators with the governments subsidising the connectivity during national emergencies. We could probably even mesh these access points but I think we would end up needing some long range antennas.
 we could probably do some fancy things like but lets leave that for the moment..
Arjuna Sathiaseelan 
N4D Lab:


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