The Geekcorps CanTV

November 10, 2006

Geekcorps CanTV Project

In November, 2006 Geekcorps did a CanTV pilot in Bourem Inaly, a small village on the Niger river about 35KM from Tombouctou in northern Mali. Our hope was to pilot a new technology we had developed to see if it could be used to generate revenue for the community radio station we had been working with there.

The following is from an earlier post, I had posted originally on the Geekcorps website summarizing the project.

In the village of Bourem Inaly, Mali there are over 120 television sets powered by 12-volt car batteries, but there is almost nothing to watch. With its CanTV project, Geekcorps has helped the local radio station stream video content to the local community over WiFi. The radio station, which rents these units out, benefits from a new monthly revenue stream while the villagers benefit with an improved source of news and entertainment.

One goal of the CanTV project is to make it possible to build the CanTV receivers or TV cantennas (antennas built with cans) using locally using locally available parts, with the exception of the $25 audio/video receiver currently imported from Canada. Also, the TV cantennas have been designed so that a local technician can quickly learn how to install them without special tools. The radio station already has access to television broadcasts via satellite, and a TV over WiFi transmitter installed in August 2005 by Moussa Keita of Geekcorps.

Recently, Geekcorps successfully installed CanTV’s in fifteen different households (213 people) across Bourem Inaly. As a result, the radio station earns roughly $45 dollars a month or (22,500 CFA) on the rentals of the CanTV’s which goes a long way in helping to ensure the radio’s own financial sustainability. The radio station’s goal now is to reinvest its profits to purchase an additional CanTV each month so more of the local community can benefit from their new service offering.

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