The developing world is leapfrogging us again! First they skipped the land-line step, opting for inexpensive and less infrastructure-dependent mobile phones, now it looks like they’re eschewing cables completely and opting for distributed sources of electricity.
Motorola has created a pilot project in Nambia that will power cell towers using solar and wind energy. This, the first project of it’s kind, could be the start of a system that would bring global communications to small and rural communities.
This independence from the electric grid could become a significant empowering force for rural communities across the world. While we don’t have technical details on the project (kilowatts generated, battery backup systems, etc,) we have confidence in Motorola’s ability to create this kind of distributed power and communications network. The question is, can they make it financially viable.