Foundation Projects

Dili Village Telco (award)

Rowetel and Fongtil

ISIF Asia celebrated the innovative ICT solutions contributing to social development in the Asia Pacific region with the launch of the Award in 2011.

The awards program received 46 nominations across the 4 categories from 17 economies in the Asia Pacific. Each winner received a cash prize of AUD 7,500 to support the continuation of the project or the organization conducting the activities and a travel grant for a project representative to participate at the 6th Internet Governance Forum (Nairobi, Kenya - 27-30 September 2011).

The project

Dili is the largest city in Timor Leste, one of the poorest countries in Asia. Mobile and fixed phone service is available but unaffordable for the average Timorese.

This project has built a Village Telco mesh network in Dili, which provides a low cost local telephony service. A Village Telco is built from low cost, rugged Wi-Fi telephony devices (the Mesh Potato). Each Mesh Potato provides a single telephone landline to the end user, and is connected to other Mesh Potatoes via a mesh Wi-Fi network.

The project is a collaboration between Rowetel (an Australian IT company) and FONGTIL (a Timorese NGO). Rowetel trained FONGTIL personnel, who proceeded to install Mesh Potatoes in Dili and two other regional sites. The end users love the free phone call service and there is significant demand for expansion. The project is set to be expanded with FONGTIL’s own funding in 2011/2012.

The picture shows ISIF Asia founding award winners at the IGF conference in Nairobi, Kenya, in 2011.
ISIF Asia founding award winners at the awards ceremony held as part of the 2011 Internet Governance Forum in Nairobi, Kenya. Award winners received support to attend the conference in addition to the AUD 7,500 award. Left to right: Ou Virak (Cambodia), Meenakshi Guatham (India), Lemi Soarez (Timor Leste) and Emani Fakaotimanava-Lui (Niue).