Nepali villagers build a wireless network from spare parts, facilitating better education, farmers' swaps and intervillage cooperation:
"Since late summer, an 802.11b wireless network has enabled a group of rural villages to send and receive POP mail and use a Web cam to teach high school classes over the villages' intranet. No roads span the distances between these villages, but now farmers looking to discuss trades can hold Net meetings rather than spending two days hiking across mountain terrain.
"The inspiration for this project is Mahabir Pun, a native Nepali determined to bring better education and technology to his fellow villagers. ...[S]hortly after the village got electricity in 1998, [he] set up its first high school computer lab. The lab's old Pentium systems were assembled from donated parts and ran Windows 95 or 98. But with no phone line, the villagers could not access the Internet.
"In mid-August, Pun and a team of volunteers began the three-week process of constructing the wireless network connecting five villages that have populations of from 500 to 1,000..."