Kabersemaan is an approach to empower the BOP (Base of the Pyramid) in Indonesia, by providing them with an affordable and reliable method of modern domestic and international communication. (project completed in March 2008)
In today's world, it's becoming increasingly difficult to carry out business without using established methods of communication. It is especially difficult in Indonesia since the population is spread out over many different islands.
Who are the other 90%?
Indonesia has a satellite communication infrastructure in place (LAPAN), but it is expensive to use. Currently, there are call centers in place, where villagers can visit in order to satisfy their communication needs. The USO (Universal Service Obligation) Program makes satellite communication accessible to 72,000 villages, but 43,000 are still left unserved.
The digital divide:
Penetration of mobile and telephone lines reaches only 10.45% of population due to geographical issues and an uneven spread of population.
The infrastructure above ground is susceptible to natural disaster degradation and existing public call centers are difficult to maintain for the government.
"Not only can we serve the poor, but we can also extract the fortune at the bottom of the pyramid."
In the proposed system, multi-national companies (MNCs) micro-finance the equipment and train the local women who in turn, will become distributors. As distributors, the women supply network connectivity to other local citizens.
This model makes the woman a change agent for the villagers. The MNCs pay commission for the client in addition to paying her to train others in self-help groups.
As the network grows, more people become connected, locally and long-distance. The micro-finance system gives the woman a sense of ownership, which is an incentive for her to stay up to date on maintenance.