The Entrepreneurship related track of The Goa Project 2016

Arjun Venkatraman


COWMesh - Changing the Connectivity Landscape with Community Owned Communitications Infrastructure

Submitted Jan 18, 2016

To demonstrate, distinguish, discuss and dissect how community owned, peer managed, distributed infrastructure can provide a strong alternative and complement to centralized corporate and state owned telecommunication.


A Network that was 48 times faster and a 125 times cheaper than 3G…2 years ago..and is CHEAPER now!
Hackergram and Mojolab have been working on building and deploying low cost communication technology with several communities in the developing world. In this session I hope to share our experiences of setting up community owned and operated communications infrastructure and demonstrate how we envision the future of connectivity through comunity ownership and peer operation. I will be demonstrating how we can use Community Owned Wireless Mesh Networks (COWMesh) to share data costs between communities and how a regular CRT based TV can be turned into a wireless communication terminal among other things. Would like to use the session to engage with people who are indignant enough about the pathetic state of telecommunications in the country to take matters into their own hands…literally!


A desire to communicate freely
A healthy respect for peer governance
Willingness to give up technophobia
Willingness to give up notions of entitlement
Desire to have a say in the matter of large scale communication

Speaker bio

I’m the co-founder and managing trustee of The Mojolab Foundation, a research lab focussed on making technology accessible, usable and sustainable, and Hackergram a network of innovators who seek to find creative solutions to chronic problems of the world through direct, immersive experimentation.

I spent the first half of my career architecting, servicing and selling enterprise software solutions to some of the richest customers in the world, i.e. telcos and banks and the last half building and deploying technology solutions for the opposite end of the spectrum, i.e. people who earn less than a dollar a day. Having seen both sides of the technology equation, I now focus on training self driven, independently sustainable technologists and innovators who can provide quality technology services to all kinds of consumers, irrespective of the depth of their pockets.


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