Mahabir Pun: Thank you very much for invit­ing me to speak, and I would like to thank you all for induct­ing me in the Hall of Fame. I did not invent an impor­tant thing. I am not an inno­va­tor. The only thing I did is you know, in ear­ly 2000, when WiFi was just com­ing I used a sim­ple indoor router to make a long-range wire­less link, a forty-kilometer link, to bring Internet in my home vil­lage. That was the start.

I did not know at that time much about the tech­nol­o­gy itself. I could not have done every­thing with­out the help of these under­grad­u­ate uni­ver­si­ty stu­dents from America and Europe. It was a time when it was ille­gal. The gov­ern­ment had banned to use all kind of wire­less equip­ment, and to bring it into the coun­try because of the fight­ing going on there.

So, those uni­ver­si­ty stu­dents, under­grad­u­ate stu­dents, they helped me to smug­gle every­thing, all these small indoor routers to the coun­try. And they helped me build. I worked as a team leader for them, but with­out their help I could not have done that. We used a small indoor router and built our own anten­na, dif­fer­ent type of anten­nas, and became able to build the long range wire­less link. And it was very sur­prise to most of these telecom­mu­ni­ca­tion engi­neers, pro­fes­sion­als, because they’d heard that it would not work. But that worked.

So I would like to thank those friends from the ear­ly days also. I worked for four years, from 2002 to 2006, build­ing a wire­less net­work in the remote areas. And most of these areas, they don’t have any roads and they don’t have any tele­phones, no elec­tric­i­ty. I worked ille­gal­ly. We built the net­work ille­gal­ly and brought the Internet there and they intro­duced into the schools and the com­mu­ni­ties.

So in 2006, I went to the mem­ber of par­lia­ment and I gave them a pre­sen­ta­tion telling them what we did to bring Internet in the remote areas. And I told them how it is use­ful for the peo­ple in the remote areas as well. And I asked them to legal­ize it. So, with­in a week they legal­ized the net­work, and they deli­censed the 2.4 and the 5.8 giga­hertz fre­quen­cies. So it’s legal now.

So we are using to 2.4 and 5.8 giga­hertz to build wire­less net­works in the remote vil­lages where no com­mer­cial providers are going. Because it is not finan­cial­ly fea­si­ble for the com­mer­cial providers to go in the remote and pro­vide Internet ser­vice and bring the ben­e­fit of the tech­nol­o­gy for the rur­al peo­ple. There fore I’m doing [it], and I hope that this work will help me to con­vince the gov­ern­ment to do more to intro­duce the tech­nol­o­gy in the area, for the ben­e­fit espe­cial­ly for the peo­ple who are at the bot­tom of the pyra­mid.

So I am not only advo­cat­ing with the gov­ern­ment for open and the free Internet. I am advo­cat­ing with the gov­ern­ment to make the Internet avail­able freely also. Because the peo­ple sim­ply can­not afford to have it. So for that, what I am advo­cat­ing with the gov­ern­ment is to use the Universal Obligation Fund to pro­vide free Internet for the peo­ple in the rur­al areas end bring the ben­e­fit of the tech­nol­o­gy there. Thank you very much.


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