Sripath Roy Koganti
I am Sripath Roy Koganti, General Secretary of Swecha AP based out of Andhra Pradesh, India, working as Assistant Professor at KL University, Andhra Pradesh. The name Swecha is Telugu Language Translation of the word “Freedom”. Swecha AP, a Not-For-Profit which works on Bridging the digital divide, Free Software advocacy. We are vibrant community of Free software users, students, academicians and software professionals/developers. We work with a motto of “Technology for Society” thorugh Free Software Development Model. Our objectives are Knowledge Commons, Social Impact and Equitable Tech.
In the digital era of knowledge systems and governance, there are still many villages that don’t have any phone network, no internet and no digital footprints of any type. We have hundreds of such villages in Andhra Pradesh, India. We made an attempt to provide them with a digital radio, library, and calling facility and media center with the help of freedombox. The youth in the villages own this set up and form a community around this to sustain this successfully. The story we want to share is how we hacked the freedombox to create the use cases that impacted the public domain and how we are planning to spread this across the state.
Despite commendable progress in technology, significant gaps persist, particularly in rural areas where access to the internet remains limited. This talk will share our experience in setting up community networks in rural India with limited to zero mobile network connectivity by using Debian, Freedom Box, Free software and Network Equipment. Our initiative aims to provide internet access and essential self-hosted services for small communities for communication, data access, knowledge systems, media streaming etc. We will discuss the creation and deployment of our digital knowledge repository through Freedom Box.
By leveraging its capabilities, we have enabled various services such as village radio/broadcasting, streaming, access to books and libraries, voice calls, etc. This talk will also focus on the community aspect of it. By embracing the principles of decentralization, we have established a robust and reliable network infrastructure that serves the unique needs of each community and fostered a sense of ownership and collaboration among the community members, enabling them to actively participate in building and maintaining their network infrastructure and have full control of the services and content suiting to the needs of their community. To provide real-world examples of the impact of our work, we will present a few case studies.
Our audience could be anyone who wishes to leverage Free Software for Social Impact, enabling communities, working to bridge the digital divide, looking forward to establish knowledge commons, a person who wishes to see how Free Software can impact lives of the commons. It could be a Debian contributor who would get to know about the impact their contributions are having in the real world, or an enthusiast who is looking for ideas.