Macedonia becomes a wireless country

The U.S. may have no national initiative to deploy broadband at home but it is succeeding in bringing broadband to the tiny eastern European country of Macedonia. A $3.9 million project of the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) claims to have made Macedonia the first wireless country in the world.The U.S. may have no national initiative to deploy broadband at home but it is succeeding in bringing broadband to the tiny eastern European country of Macedonia. A $3.9 million project of the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) claims to have made Macedonia the first wireless country in the world.

According to a report of Macedonian Radio and Television, the agency’s Macedonia Connects project (MK Connects) is bringing free broadband Internet access to about 550 schools and has made access available to residents and businesses at affordable rates. USAID support for the free service runs out at the end of this year. It is now up to the local government to find ways to continue the service to schools and to support the country’s e-government initiatives..

The MRT report includes a fascinating observation from US Ambassador Gillian Milovanovic–“Macedonia Connects has revolutionized life in Macedonia by creating competition that has drastically reduced the price of Internet access.”

I’m tempted to observe that has been the goal of the muni wireless movement at home and yet the U.S. government has been singularly unwilling to get behind it. However, the MRT report is sketchy on essentials that are needed to understand the true scope and success of the Macedonian network:

For instance: How many miles does the network cover? Across what kind of terrain (friends of mine in Macedonia report it’s quite mountainous and many regions are remote)? Is the coverage border-to-border or is it being delivered through hot spots? What is the quality of indoor coverage and how is it being achieved?

If any readers are close to the project and have additional details, please fill us in in the comments section below.

Click here to read the MRT story.

Comments

  1. I am the person who led this USAID funded activity which started in June, 2004 and will end its subsidy at the end of the year.

    The network covers 9530 square miles and used the school system as the anchor tenant (460 schools and 95 addition locations). This is a Motorola Canopy backbone extending throughout 95% of the country.

    There are a couple of articles on this website about Macedonia Connects but further information can be found at http://www.mkconnects.org or by searching for articles (Macedonia Connects and Macedonia Wireless)on Google.