Village Telco Explained In Video

Even though I live in a developed place like Houston TX I simply cannot help be be drawn to the principles of The Village Telco. A combination of open source software and open source hardware bringing basic, reliable communication services to an under-served population without interference from incumbent telcos or government bureaucracies. What’s not to like?

Recently some folks have been seeking to sharpen the image and message of the project, to make the idea it presents easier to spread. To aid in getting the word out they developed a new logo, a new website and finally a nice short one-minute video that sums it all up in a really easy-to-understand way.

I’ve worked in video production and broadcasting all of my adult life. IMHO, this is an outstanding piece of work. It communicates the message and potential of the project very effectively. It makes me wish that my college-age niece was still living two doors down just so that I could use a couple of mesh potatoes to graft her onto our phone service.

Great work! Great project. Don’t you need a couple of mesh potatoes?

New Village Telco VoIP-wear From Cafe Press

In this life you’re going to need some clothing. It’s a simple fact. Since shopping malls are actually a form of torture why not buy your clothing online? While you’re at it you can support one of the most interesting and innovative open source telephone projects on the planet; The Village Telco.

Yes, The Village Telco recently opened a storefront at Cafe Press. You can buy a variety of t-shirts, mugs, tote bags, caps…even baby and dog apparel…all emblazoned with very cool new Village Telco logo.

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A VUC Special Edition Featuring Australia’s David Rowe

Friday September 17th we will have a second, special edition VUC call at a special time. Our guest for this hour will be David Rowe of Rowetel.

David’s accomplishments in telecom are many and varied. He’s the man behind the open source hardware that is the ATCOM IP0x range of embedded Asterisk appliances. He’s one of the architects of the “Mesh Potato” hardware at the core of the Village Telco Project (Steve Song, VUC Nov 2009) His efforts in the realm of software include the Open Source Line Echo Canceller (OSLEC) and a wholly new open source, low-bitrate voice codec (Codec2.)

David is just returning from a trip to Extreme Com 2010 in Northern India. He’s recently posted some very interesting notes on his personal blog.

Since David resides in Adelaide, Australia this call will be at a special time which has yet to be confirmed. It will most likely be at 7am Adelaide time,  which is 5:30pm US EDT, 2:30pm PDT, 10:30pm London, and 11:30pm in Paris.

David Rowe On Royalty Free Codecs

What with the gathering storm that is wideband telephony there’s a lot of rumbling about codecs going on at the moment. Such discussions usually include at least a couple of open source proponents wondering why Speex is not more widespread. It’s a very good question.

Speex most commonly shows up in soft phones. That’s nice, but soft phones have limited appeal. Most people prefer hardware of some kind. That’s where Speex implementations are few and far between. This is kind of the opposite of the situation that I found with G.722. In that case I found that hardware support was good and growing, but support for it in soft phones was lacking.

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Village Telco Imagines A Phone Mesh

Open source software is a really wonderful idea. And if you like that then open source hardware should prove to be attractive as well. The folks at the Village Telco Project in South Africa have recently posted an interesting bit about assembling a mesh network for telephony, based upon David Rowe’s Mesh Potatoe hardware.

This is very interesting stuff. I get a big kick out of anything that goes into concerns where the commercial telcos just can’t be bothered. As a topic area, that’s actually a surprisingly large amount of ground, despite their beloved USF slush fund.