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Devele-Com an ISP for developing nations.


Starting a Networking/ISP/telecom business has been a dream of mine for a while. Being the internet, networking, computer security nerd that i am i think the ultimate in life satisfaction is to provide cost effective and secure internet solutions to individuals and businesses. The catch is i want to be able to provide these services in developing countries. The first installations of Devele-Com, ideally will be in South Africa and Brazil. I’m still doing research about the climate of the market in both of these places and just getting there will prove to be both a challenge and huge opportunity.

Why South Africa and/or Brazil?

These countries are part of the G20 Countries, Brazil is currently the 6th largest economy in the world and is exhibiting growth faster than most developed countries.  Both countries’ economic positions are showing extraordinary resilience to the world-wide slowing of economic growth way ahead of the European Union. Brazil is at the forefront of growth (along with Mexico) in Latin America. Many local Brazilian companies are now turning into multinationals by way of growth and providing agricultural and manufacturing opportunities to the world.  In 2010 conomies like China and India outpace Brazil in pure GDP percentage points with 10.3% and 8.6% respectively to Brazils 7.5%. I think the technology sector of Brazil has not been fully tapped, the Brazilian government has implemented a national broadband plan this will bring internet access to millions of people and i believe that bringing access in the form of fiber optic cable, switches, servers, cell phone towers, devices and solutions will only foster business and international opportunity. Although GDP growth for 2011 was less than half of 2010 at 3.5% the South American behemoth is still showing more promise than most european countries and currency stability than many other latin american countries.

There is also a lot of opportunity to provide some kind of wi-fi or wi-max option for people to be able to opt into in their home cities. There is a movement happening in the US of municipality provided broadband access and Brazil is currently and quickly implementing a national broadband plan to accomodate the 2014 World Cup and 2016 Olympics. Municipality based access challenges the established providers (Verizon, ATT, Comcast etc here in the States) to provide higher speeds and quality of service at lower prices. They obviously do not like this kind of competition and have been lobbying very very hard to prevent it. Check out this map to see which states have been legislating against municipal broadband. The municipal broadband model could work very well using some kind of medium wave technology like Wimax and having subscribers register the MAC address of their device and pay money to subscribe to the service. This would work especially well in areas like India and South Africa where the cell phone is the dominant device for accessing the internet. Tablet computing (with cellular data) will undoubtably take off in these countries where covering large distances with cell phone towers is more cost effective than laying many kilometers of cable and people already are invested in smaller devices rather than laptops and desktop computers.

Whats your plan Offie, Mr. Smart Guy? 

Big talk about laying fiber optic cable in foreign countries is sexy, but less realistic in the early years of this project. The main focus and scope of this particular project is to provide network solutions for individuals and small to medium sized businesses as well as server space and help desk service for subscribers. I would like to provide affordable entrepreneurial infrastructure for people interested in starting their own businesses and even business training if i can partner with the right non-profit.

My plan has 3 tiers

1. Municipal Broadband

2. Business Infrastructure

3. Green energy/self sustainability

South Africa and Western Africa is especially ripe for the Business Infrastructure tier. Helping individuals and small teams of people start their businesses by renting them adequate and functional; space with reliable access to power, telecommunications, a computer or tablet, the time and space to network and make connections and acquire accounts. Our goal is to enable mutually beneficial trade with countries who will benefit from receiving great products and services while developing mations benefit by receiving fair prices for their good and services paid to them in a relatively strong currency.

Green energy and self sustainability is kind of self explanatory. We are looking to utilize every kind of Renewable and green energy to provide reliable electricity for our facilities and if possible to be able to provide this service to neighbors and possibly help set-up other businesses and homes with green energy solutions. But we have to get our solution up and running first.

Next Steps

My next steps are to first visit both Brazil and learn portuguese as well as visiting South Africa, spending time in these places, finding suitable locations that are in need of this kind of development and where my dollars will go the farthest. Finding some second and third tier cities that are exceptionally livable and affordable (with good surfing). I am applying for a teaching fellowship in South Africa next summer and while i’m there i’ll be on the group, hopefully in Capetown scoping the Technology scene and making contacts. I’m constantly looking for more information about what is happening in these countries in the telecom, networking and economic arenas. My ultimate goal is to have a business in a foreign country and get paid in american dollars (or euros) and to afford and comfortable lifestyle with plenty of time to do the things i love like cycling, surfing and traveling.

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