Remote Vietnamese village gets Internet access via WiMax

Sumner Lemon
PC World
Friday, September 21, 2007; 8:19 AM

WiMax and a satellite connection are bringing broadband Internet access to a remote Vietnamese village, part of a collaboration between the public and private sector to narrow the digital divide in rural Vietnam.

Ta Van, a small village located in Vietnam's northern Lao Cai province, has a wireless network that uses Wi-Fi and WiMax, a wide-area networking technology that offers high bandwidth. This wireless network is connected to the Internet over a link to Shin Corp.'s IPSTAR satellite that offers 2M bits per second (bps) of bandwidth on the downlink connection and a 512K bps uplink.

The Ta Van project is part of an initiative by Intel Corp., Vietnam Data Communication Co. (VDC), and the U.S. Agency for International Development. The partners chose Ta Van as the second site because its mountainous location makes a fixed-line connection impractical, Intel said.

The three partners are using WiMax to offer Internet access to remote areas, part of a project to develop an "Internet in a box" application that can be rolled out quickly and cheaply. The first site in Vietnam to host such a network was in Lao Cai, the provincial capital, where 19 sites are connected to a WiMax network that uses a satellite link for Internet access.

Inside Ta Van, a single Airspan Networks Inc. WiMax base station provides connectivity to 11 locations, including the post office, a healthcare clinic, a school and local guest houses, where owners can offer Internet access to visitors in exchange for a fee.

Vietnam's economy is booming as foreign investment and trade rises in the company.The Vietnamese government aims to make sure rural areas are not left behind by technology advances, and wants to see Internet access expanded in these regions.

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