Friday, September 29, 2023

We remember when the indigenous community of Oaxaca created its own mobile phone network

The history of mobile telephony Mexico It has its ups and downs. But perhaps never one as peculiar as it was seen almost a decade ago in the community of Villa de Talea Castro.

In the first tests of 5G networks in Mexico began formally and just one year later was formally announced the start of operations in the country of this service by the operator América Móvil, better known as Telcel.

However, the scenario was radically different in Mexico almost a decade ago, back in 2013, when the country had serious deficiencies in the stability of its services.

The 3G network was the most widespread standard, but this connection has always been distinguished in the country by its instability and relative slowness for the supposed speed standard.

To such a scenario, it was necessary to add the factor that there were some areas of the country where there simply was not the slightest signal of cellular network coverage. It was in this context that an extraordinary case arose.

The story of the indigenous community in Oaxaca that created its own mobile phone network

In August 2013 the official website of the National Council to Prevent Discrimination (CONAPRED) He launched an official statement where he detailed the details of a curious case in the indigenous community of Villa de Talea Castro in the Sierra Norte de Oaxaca.

A town made up practically of indigenous people of Zapotec origin who live by growing coffee. Many of them with relatives outside the community or their own.

What triggered the need to communicate with their loved ones, asking national operators to settle in the area to provide mobile phone service.

We review a peculiar episode in the history of telecommunications in Mexico: when a community in Oaxaca created its own cellular network.

However, everything was denied to them because they did not consider it a profitable business. The mobile company required a market of 10,000 potential users and the community barely had a little over 2,500 inhabitants.

In addition to other gifts that were impossible, such as the installation of kilometers of electrical wiring and the adaptation of a road for an antenna installation site.

Faced with such a scenario and the refusal, the community organized itself and decided to create its own operator, the Talea Cellular Network (RCT)which used low-cost GSM equipment, free software and Volp (Voice over IP) technology for calls as the core of its operations.

At that time, mobile internet was an increasingly daily reality in cities, but the minimum they needed was to be able to make phone calls.

The local operator then created an unlimited local telephony package, where users only paid MXN $15 pesos to use the service with calls that should not last more than five minutes, since they only had 11 lines.

In 2018 the Secretariat of Communications and Transportation (SCT) began with the work to install a satellite telephone system with internet in the marginalized areas of Oaxaca, strengthening this community project.


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