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Mexican Village Creates Its Own Mobile Phone Service 110

Posted by Soulskill
from the NSA-surveillance-team-on-their-way dept.
Dave_Minsky writes "The small indigenous village of Villa Talea de Castro (pop. 2,500) in the state of Oaxaca is showing the world that it doesn't have to rely on major cellular telecommunications providers for service. With the help from indigenous groups, civil organizations and universities, village residents put up an antenna on a rooftop, installed radio and computer equipment, and created its own micro provider called Red Celular de Talea. Service costs only 15 pesos ($1.2) per month and a few pennies per minute to make calls to the United States. However, there is one catch: calls are limited to a maximum of five minutes to prevent saturation of lines."
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Mexican Village Creates Its Own Mobile Phone Service

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  • While I have no doubt that TFA describes a fine public service built by those of the highest integrity, I must confess that my first thought was quite the opposite [npr.org], given recent history [wired.com].

    • by gstoddart (321705) on Friday August 30, 2013 @03:58PM (#44719621) Homepage

      While I have no doubt that TFA describes a fine public service built by those of the highest integrity, I must confess that my first thought was quite the opposite, given recent history.

      It is just as unfair to assume everyone in Mexico is involved in the drug cartels as it is to assume everyone in America is a spy for the NSA and supports what they do.

      • by pipatron (966506)
        Remember that the NSA is a tax-founded government agency, thus it's much more likely to assume that indeed everyone in America (I take it that you mean the United States version of America?) support what they do. At least most people voted for it, considering both parties are equally eager to keep NSA running.
        • Remember that the NSA is a tax-founded government agency, thus it's much more likely to assume that indeed everyone in America (I take it that you mean the United States version of America?) support what they do. At least most people voted for it, considering both parties are equally eager to keep NSA running.

          You don't honestly believe that Americans have granular control over what our tax dollars are spent on, do you?

          • by Noughmad (1044096)

            The Americans, living in a constitutional democracy, have almost total control over the government. It's just very difficult to exercise this control, and most people just don't care.

        • by Anonymous Coward

          Everything said there speaks to the fact that it wasn't something expressly desired. If you wanted to move out of the US you face lots of challenges. Cost of the move, immigration restrictions in destination, language barriers in destination, cost of living might be higher in destination, climate may not be comfortable(I would move to Canada if it were warmer). There are lots of places I'd move if it weren't for the fact that Americans are hated in so many places.

          Or simply a desire to live where you cons

          • by thaylin (555395) on Friday August 30, 2013 @04:28PM (#44719881)

            (I would move to Canada if it were warmer). .

            Just give it a few years..

            • by Genda (560240)

              Ahhhhh, the tropical beaches of Vancouver... sorry, getting a frosty Moose-Head, delivered by a tanned Canuck cabana boy just makes my head hurt, Ayyy?

              • by mcgrew (92797) *

                Have you ever HAD a Moosehead? It's like Dos Equis but less drinkable. I'm sure Canada has some fine beers, but Moosehead isn't one of them. Canadians, what do you guys drink up there?

              • by doccus (2020662)
                Well, yes, quite. We never get snow anymore. Last winter, on the day it hit zero degrees, nobody noticed because it warmed up right away. This year spring started in the middle of January.. and, for all intents and purposes, summer started on valentine's day.Our weather is becoming like northern California used to be..
        • by h4rr4r (612664)

          We refer to the USA as America. Deal with it, the whole world even calls us Americans.

          • by Anonymous Coward

            Hey gringo, how do you know what we call you? Do you speak-a ma language? No you fucking don't.

          • by Jmc23 (2353706)
            That's funny. There's lots of things USians are called in other countries, most of them have to do with the type of Only-we-matter attitude you so nicely exhibited.
            • by h4rr4r (612664)

              I never hear that in the countries I visit.
              Just variations on American, like Amerikaner

              • by Jmc23 (2353706)
                ah, not very good at hearing sarcasm or denigration in speech either, eh?

                Ever think that Amerikaner would be a reference to the US's hypocritical bipolar disorder? I mean, you do know what an Amerikaner is right?

                • by geekoid (135745)

                  Noun[edit]
                  amerikaner c (singular definite amerikaneren, plural indefinite amerikanere)
                  a person from USA
                  (rare) a person from the Americas
                  ice cream cone with a chocolate-coated marshmallow treat and jam

              • ...Any other country in America?
                I mean, any country that actually has a name?

            • by pspahn (1175617)

              First of all, USians, or the other variation, USAians, are terms I have never heard spoken anywhere. In fact, the only place I've ever even seen this term is here on /. I can't even begin to try and prounounce it, as it is likely said with a foreign accent which I am unaccustomed to. I'm thinking something such as "OOh-shuns" might be correct.

              Second, GP simply mentioned the fact that those who hail from the United States of America, are often simply called Americans. Nowhere did he/she display any sort of

        • By "support" do you mean "pay for"? If so then all Americans "support" the NSA spying. Well, half of us anyway, but that's another discussion.

          If you meant "condone" then no, it's ridiculous to declare that "everyone in America" is in favor of those programs, even if you argue that we all voted for representatives who voted for them. First, no we didn't. Second, the more onerous details of the NSA programs weren't made available even to those representatives. Even the legislators who wrote the law on which t

        • by murdocj (543661)

          Given that the NSA is violating the law, that's like saying that everyone in the USA supports car theft. It doesn't follow.

      • by shokk (187512)

        Or unfair to assume that this phone service is really nothing more than two cups connected by a string, which everyone stands in line for their 5 minutes, primarily to receive a ransom call about or pay a ransom for their relatives kidnapped by a cartel.

  • by Qazimov (225653) <doug@digit[ ]park.net ['als' in gap]> on Friday August 30, 2013 @03:55PM (#44719601) Homepage
    Is it bad that I would pay extra to have this 5min rule on voice calls?
    • They have a small, experimental tower, and users can saturate it quickly. Limiting each call to 5 minutes means that even on a saturated situation, everybody can use the system. You get dropped and enter the queue, and you can be sure that you can get access again later. If there's no such rule, some users could talk 4 hours straight and deny access to every other user. Here in Brazil we have dropped calls every few minutes and almost everybody accepts this as normal, so I guess the Mexican folks can handle
      • by gstoddart (321705) on Friday August 30, 2013 @04:06PM (#44719695) Homepage

        I don't think the GP is saying it's a bad idea, he's saying he'd pay for that as a feature.

        "Hi Mom, everything is OK, yes, that's a fascinating story about Aunt Myrtle ... Oh, gee, look at the time ... gottago, kthanksbye".

        Slightly more on topic, I should think some phone service would be far better than no phone service. Many of us take this kind of stuff for granted, but that's far from true for much of the world.

        • I don't think the GP is saying it's a bad idea, he's saying he'd pay for that as a feature.

          "Hi Mom, everything is OK, yes, that's a fascinating story about Aunt Myrtle ... Oh, gee, look at the time ... gottago, kthanksbye".

          So a technological fix for his lack of discipline / ability to simply stop someone and politely say that he/she has to go? I understand that (most) people want to be polite and don't want to blow someone off, but unlike (e)mail, a phone call (or IM) is an intrusion on the receivers immediate time and the caller should be aware of that - that's why I prefer email and don't have an IM client installed. (My wife always had a problem disconnecting herself from a rambling phone caller. On the other hand, when

          • Pardon me, but there's an investigator from Scotland Yard at the door asking for you - he would like to ask a few questions regarding the disappearance of your sense of humor...

            • Pardon me, but there's an investigator from Scotland Yard at the door asking for you - he would like to ask a few questions regarding the disappearance of your sense of humor...

              No I got the joke, but from personal experience with people I know (like my wife), it's actually a problem for some people to be able to stop someone who's yammering on and say, "look, I gotta go." My time is important to me and certainly more important to me than yours :-)

    • by AliasMarlowe (1042386) on Friday August 30, 2013 @04:09PM (#44719735) Journal
      A whole bunch of my extended family should move there... Maybe make the call limit 3 minutes or less.
  • by DeBaas (470886) on Friday August 30, 2013 @04:06PM (#44719693) Homepage

    However, there is one catch: calls are limited to a maximum of five minutes to prevent saturation of lines."

    Every married man knows this is not a catch but a feature

    • They need to have a family plan where it's limited to 2 minutes for the kids....

      • Actually, this got me thinking... I can imagine someone doing the 2-sim dance with some custom firmware; after 4:59, the phones automatically establish an alternate connection and drop the previous one, for "uninterrupted" voice communication....

  • Question (Score:2, Insightful)

    by PPH (736903)

    Where did they get the frequency allocation? If it was here in the USA, all available channels would have been put out for bid by the FCC and snapped up by the incumbents. Running a system on "their" channels would be frowned upon.

    • Where did they get the frequency allocation? If it was here in the USA, all available channels would have been put out for bid by the FCC and snapped up by the incumbents. Running a system on "their" channels would be frowned upon.

      Hypothetical question: If everyone in the US came together and built such a system, would there be any way to stop us? Short of putting the entire population in jail, anyway.

      • by iroll (717924)

        Hypothetically, if everyone in the US came together and smoked a blunt, would there be any way to stop us? Or didn't pay taxes? Or ate horsemeat? Or drove without a license?

        I mean, hypothetically, if everybody in the world could just come together, there'd be no more killing, pollution, discrimination, or overpopulation.

        Realistically, not everyone will come together, and of those that do, you only need to punish some fraction of them in order to deter a significant proportion of the rest. There will always

    • Where did they get the frequency allocation? If it was here in the USA, all available channels would have been put out for bid by the FCC and snapped up by the incumbents. Running a system on "their" channels would be frowned upon.

      The US doesn't care about negative publicity, plus cell companies/The FCC actually does give certain licenses for special events. See OpenBTS at Burning Man.

      This isn't the US, so the rules are different. I would love it if the US had a rule along the lines of "You have first choice to this spectrum, but if you aren't servicing the area then anyone can be granted a license for that locale. If you want to use that frequency there, then you have 6 months to set up towers."

      First come first served has disadva

      • by mcgrew (92797) *

        I would love it if the US had a rule along the lines of "You have first choice to this spectrum, but if you aren't servicing the area then anyone can be granted a license for that locale. If you want to use that frequency there, then you have 6 months to set up towers."

        I wish I had mod points. A useless +1 for you since I don't.

    • by Jmc23 (2353706)
      RTFA
    • by Jawnn (445279)

      Where did they get the frequency allocation? If it was here in the USA, all available channels would have been put out for bid by the FCC and snapped up by the incumbents. Running a system on "their" channels would be frowned upon.

      Two words for you, Junior: "pirate radio". Now get off my lawn and learn about Mexico's long and noble history of giving the finger to the FCC and other reguladores.

      • Mountains.

        This particular experience is in a small town in Oaxaca. Oaxaca is a very mountainous state, with a great cultural richness stemming precisely from its orography: It is so hard to move around Oaxaca that it went practically unconquered during the 300 years of Spanish rule.

        Of course, when you look at the network coverage maps, you will immediately recognize our country is a mess full with mountains and areas where... Lets put it nicely, where people are not in the proper economic situation to enjoy

    • by Greyfox (87712)
      I've thrown stuff together with a wireless access point, some SIP phones and a computer running asterisk. One of those would probably meet all the necessary requirements to work. Put a few of 'em around a city with call routing between the various asterisk nodes and it'd probably start to get pretty spiffy in no time. If you prefer a smart phone to the default SIP phone solution you can do that, as long as can install a SIP dialer on it.
  • Oh wait, that's not a picture of the village. Kinda weirds me out.

    • by dfsmith (960400)

      Headline: Mexican village disguises itself as Powell & Hyde in San Francisco.

      Subheadline: We discover where Rasputin gets discount CDs from.

  • However if any Canadian village tried to do the same thing then the Rogers, Bell and Telus oligopoly would mount an armed strike and blow the village off the face of the planet because only one of those three companies can provide shitty telecom services to remote Canadian villages. I bet this Mexican village is still getting better service than even many people in Canadian urban centers.

  • by houbou (1097327)
    Maybe these Mexicans will gain the reputation of a people of few words... :)
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by Jmc23 (2353706)
      No.

      Mainly because these are indigenous people, are already known for being people of few words and some might actually decide to kill you if you keep calling them mexican.

      • by geekoid (135745)

        There from Mexico, so I'm not sure what the issue with calling them Mexican.

        • by Jmc23 (2353706)
          Great! You go down to Oaxaca or Chiapas and start calling people mexican. Your ignorance of history, past and present, will be corrected quite quickly.
          • by geekoid (135745)

            Thanks that wasn't helpful at all. Since Oaxaca is in mexico, I'm still, trying to figure out what the issue is.
            Heaven forbid I don't know the intricacy of a completely different country. If there is a problem you would think they would call themselves Mexican on their website.

            https://maps.google.com/maps?q=Oaxaca&ie=UTF-8&hq=&hnear=0x85c0d84f3a0e5c51:0x44c60c433dd90bc9,Oaxaca,+Mexico&gl=us&ei=eBAhUtbiKsXHigKai4DoBQ&ved=0CKkBELYD [google.com]

            and Chiapa is a federal entity of Mexico, so again, I'm

          • Indigenous people are not offended by being called Mexican. More often than not, they will recognize themselves at least to be as Mexican as those of us living in urban areas are. Even the most vocal groups claiming for indigenous rights, recognition and differentiation recognize living in Mexico and being Mexicans — But demand a just, fitting government level more aligned to their shared culture than the Country/State/Municipality imposed from "Above"; this different organization level would not even

            • by Jmc23 (2353706)
              No, some of us really are offended. Lots of people don't like being called the same thing as the people that took their lands, abuse them as labour, talk like potty mouths with no respect for family and society, and show no consideration for nature around them.
      • by houbou (1097327)
        But, still live in Mexico.. so, how do you call them? "Not Mexicans indigenous people from Mexico?"
        • by Jmc23 (2353706)
          Depends, mexicans have inherited the same stupidity as USians and so call the indigenous people indians (they've corrected the cognitive dissonance of having two groups of Indians by calling Indians Hindus, not sure if that's better than the stupid indian indians and american indians). So, you can be ignorant by calling them mexican, ignorant and stupid for calling them Indians, or the prefered pc term used by occupiers: aboriginals, natives, or just indigenous people. It's best to ask them, since there i
          • by houbou (1097327)
            Ah, PC.. politically correct people... the type who smile in your face and stab you in the back.. LOL.. I would rather be plain, no-nonsense and to the point and just call a spade a spade. In the end, life shouldn't be about the labels we can be identified with, but rather the actions that we do and the way we conduct ourselves.
            • by Jmc23 (2353706)
              um, calling a native an indian isn't calling a spade a spade it's just ignorant and stupid. I mean, come on, everybody found out it wasn't India centuries ago.
              • by houbou (1097327)
                I've not called anybody an indian.. I don't know what you are smoking, but stop.. if you read my threads, you don't see me calling anyone an indian. NOWHERE.
      • Who cares? You don't become a tough guy by proxy for taking their side in an issue that is absolutely nothing to do with us or them. I know some white guys who might decide to kill you for being such an annoying liberal.
        • by Jmc23 (2353706)
          um, people who care about truth and precision? I know you're a USian since you don't care about that and because you automatically turned it into US and THEM, but i'm not, I'm American, so I don't know how conservative your 'liberal' is on the world scale, but I'm pretty sure it doesn't describe me.
          • Perhaps you are not a liberal, but what you share in common with them is making implicit threats, of the form "if you don't hold X opinion, SOMEONE is going to do violence to your for it. Not me, I'm not violent, but you would still deserve it".

            You should cut that out because it's really pathetic, and also if you really thought that "might makes right", you should support the colonization of the Americas by Europeans.

            • by Jmc23 (2353706)
              Dude, I'm warning the guy, not making threats. Learn the difference, if you're looking for some examples perhaps you should start proofing your posts.
              • No, you were making threats under the guise of warning him, which is a really pathetic thing to do (and you do it again later in the thread). If someone had started a thread saying "I am going to Oaxaca, what should I call the natives" your reply would have been totally appropriate. Given that the actual post referred to Oaxacan's as Mexicans in passing, your post was stupid and irrelevant. Also, my original reply was (A) worded exactly the same as yours and (B) clearly a parody of what you wrote, althou

  • I was lucky if I could get 1 minute before I got dropped on Verizon. These lucky people get to talk for a whole 5 minutes.
  • WiFi + VoIP system design to enable local calls;
    add Internet connectivity to enable outside calling.

  • Here's an informative video of the case: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gRNisk2tsFM [youtube.com]
  • I came in to read what people thought about what Oaxaca did...instead I just found people laughing about it or about the language, geography or whatever. Meh. Let me explain, since most people either don't read TFA or don't educate themselves further. These people asked all three cellular networks to put a tower in their village, they all said no. TONS of times. So, they took the matter into their own hands. Now all three cellular networks are asking if they can help (Read: Get a piece of the pie) I am SO
  • From TFA:

    "telephone (service) providers refuse to use because it is financially unviable."

    I suspect this should translate into "not enough profitable". When shareholders want a two digit ROI figures, companies leave behind themselves any profitable project that does not result in a two-digit ROI.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    And something that has been done elsewhere in Latin America and has been shot down by the government, either due to landline State monopolies or constitutional level ownership of the radioelectric spectrum by the State. Setting up a cell and a VoIP gateway is quite easy. Governments call it "bypass" and you are fined and/or go to jail. Perhaps in this case they have special legal status or something. Otherwise this is bound nowhere.

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