Yesterday I had a rather longish lunch with Daniel Aghion, Executive Director of W2i.
Wi-Fi is exploding all over the place given both its low costs and easy access to the networks. It has a lot of potential in developing contries also for this reasons, potential that fits within the context of a sound last mile solution (and not backbone as some are promoting). The technology is currently evolving and future versions are expected to support bandwidths of over 50 Mbps (from 11 Mbps today).
W2i is a for profit think tank that seeks to promote wireless technologies by creating a policy and implementation framework based on consensus to deploy the technologies. From our point of view, they also have an interest on a) Wi-Fi and Spectrum Policy/regulation; b) Wi-Fi and economic development; and c) Wi-Fi and local governments.
W2i has also approached the Un ICT Task Force motivate by Kofi’s recent challanege to the private sector on deploying Wi-Fi in poor countries.
With this in mind, W2i has prepared a proposal and has left a hard copy with us for review. They have already received request for assistance from Tunisia, Cameroon and Lebanon and are looking for partners to suport these efforts.