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Mauritius Aims To Be First Wireless Nation 333

Posted by Zonk
from the coast-to-coast dept.
hattan writes "This tropical island off the east coast of Africa is best-known for its white-sand beaches, its designer clothing outlets and its spicy curries. But tiny Mauritius is about to stake a new claim to fame. By year's end, or soon afterward, it is expected to become the world's first nation with coast-to-coast wireless Internet." From the article: "An undersea broadband fiber-optic cable, completed three years ago, gives the island fast and reliable phone and Internet links with the rest of Africa and with Europe, India and Malaysia. Many of the country's 1.2 million people--a mix of French, Indian, Chinese and African descendants--are bilingual or trilingual, speaking French, English and either Chinese or Hindi. The country is democratic, peaceful and stable."
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Mauritius Aims To Be First Wireless Nation

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  • The Vatican (Score:5, Funny)

    by ari_j (90255) on Monday June 20, 2005 @12:31AM (#12860308)
    How in the hell can anyone be faster than the Vatican to reach this level? Seriously, that's a nation you could get wireless inside of an afternoon, but maybe wireless networking is a sin like sausage was at one point. I don't get it.
  • gives the island fast and reliable phone and Internet links with the rest of Africa and with Europe, India and Malaysia.

    I don't think it really counts as a reliable phone or internet link if it doesn't extend to South America, Asia, and the US.

    • "gives the island fast and reliable phone and Internet links with the rest of Africa and with Europe, India and Malaysia.

      I don't think it really counts as a reliable phone or internet link if it doesn't extend to South America, Asia, and the US."

      So, do you think I have my personal link from my computer to slashdot's server (hey, now there's an idea to get fp)? Maybe we could do, um, routing? Now there's a novel concept. We could have a bunch of telephone operators switching cables setting up calls. Oh, w
  • Ambitious Maritius (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Dancin_Santa (265275) <DancinSanta@gmail.com> on Monday June 20, 2005 @12:37AM (#12860347) Journal
    The African continent is one of those areas that is perpetually in the dark, both literally and figuratively. It appears as a large black mass in the World At Night map, and it has been a long time since it was a source of mankind-advancing knowledge (at least since the Library of Alexander in Egypt was destroyed).

    In addition, its history of being conquered and carved up by Western empires has left it nearly incapable of functioning as a cohesive continent of nationstates. Rather, it languishes in tribal warfare made all the worse by the relatively recent influx of Islam which has torn the northern countries of Chad and Sudan to shreds.

    But separated from the mainland, Maritius is amazing in its ability to remain relatively free of the strife that plagues the rest of the Dark Continent. Catering to foreign tourists who want to get away from the normal tourist hotspots, Maritius has been much more stable and forwardly progressing than its neighbors. It is really no surprise that it would be the first African nation to attempt something as ambitious as this project.

    That it is the first in the world is absolutely amazing.
    • >> It appears as a large black mass in the World At Night map

      Not that Africa hasn't gone through more than its share of troubles, but is it really a bad thing that it appears as a black mass in the World At Night map? What exactly does it prove if the US is a huge fiery glow at night? That we waste energy? It's being picked up by a satellite.

      Just like many countries without landline telephone infrastructures are moving directly to cellular service from nothing at all, perhaps one day African nati
      • It might be worth checking out the map to see the world's other efficient user of directional night lighting, North Korea. I mean, you can literally tell where the Chinese and South Korean borders are.

        It proves that the US is a nation that is busy at night, as opposed to Africa, which is not busy at any time.

        • by Diag (711760)
          It proves that the US is a nation that is busy at night, as opposed to Africa, which is not busy at any time.

          Not really. It shows that America has a lot of large urbanised areas with street lighting on all night.
      • It's indicitive of the extreme poverty. Africa is not a paradise by and large. Most African nations are extremely poor and saddled with a large amount of debt (though there is now a proposal to eliminate some of that) but a bigger problem is political opression and war.

        The European colonization of Africa still causes problems there. It's only receantly that some equality is being established. I mean you have to remember that it wasn't until the 1990s that apartheid ended in South Africa, and though it's g
    • The African continent is one of those areas that is perpetually in the dark, both literally and figuratively. It appears as a large black mass in the World At Night map

      Except for Mauritius [slashdot.org]. Coincidence? No way.
    • by burts (893432) on Monday June 20, 2005 @03:13AM (#12860956)
      Let me tell you a little bit about Mauritius. My background: I am mauritian and currently working towards a master's degree in EE in South Africa and i have /. for breakfast... The internet revolution has started here, in a sense. The price of a decent ADSL(128/64) line has dropped drastically during the last few years (abt USD 29 / month). It used to be *much* higher. Now they are introducing wireless internet soon. Things like video-on-demand, internet tv are all being planned here. These are all very nice but educating the public should also be happening hand in hand - and this area of things sucks big time. I would also like to mention that people have no idea as to what is F/OSS! There are very few businesses that use Linux here. People don't even know about FreeBSD (and i suddenly feel alone). I don't need to mention what is the favourite pirated OS in this place. i am sure you can all guess. But what is really annoying is the politics that exists in the government system. It really makes you think twice before trying to get a job here. Meritocracy is not very prevalent. i could go on and on... Curiously it only seems to happen when the General Elections are close!
      • Funny thing is, a couple of years ago a few of my buddies and I seriously contemplatied moving over there and starting a bussiness. And we had this exact idea (wi-fi over Mauritius) for a startup.

        Obviously, now we'll have to come up with something else, but, as a local, could you give me some pointers as to how difficult would such a thing be? You know, immigration, starting a bussiness as a foreigner, and making a living over there. I know the government has declared the vision of Mauritius becoming a 'kn
    • Rather, it languishes in tribal warfare made all the worse by the relatively recent influx of Islam which has torn the northern countries of Chad and Sudan to shreds.

      How the hell do you qualify recent? islam came to North Africa oh back in the 8th and 9th centuries. Thats 1200 years.

      Or by 'recent' do you mean you just heard about Chad and Sudan three weeks ago on the news and looked some factois on wikipedia and now are authoritative on North African history and politics?

    • Yep, I was on Maruitius 20 years ago. At the time I applied for an amateur radio license and spent 3 hours at the PTT office watching a gentlemen with a Phd in shuffling paper. The memory I have of the place is perhaps 75 people sitting in this large room moving paper from point A to point B. I had the thought that you could put one small sized main-frame in to do their work. Then I realized that an important part of this island's economy was the "manual" labor these folks were doing. I've got to wonder
  • Is bragging that their "Whole Country" is wireless?

    There are cities that have that much wireless capacity just from their coffee shops! Add in the hotels, and the all-too-prevelant open APs, and you see that that's nothing to brag on.


    • There are cities that have that much wireless capacity just from their coffee shops! Add in the hotels, and the all-too-prevelant open APs, and you see that that's nothing to brag on.


      They also have a tiny tax base. It's impressive in that I don't think we've ever seen a single US city that is 100% wireless. This is a major milestone, regardless of size.
    • Oh yes it is.. (Score:2, Insightful)

      by ciroknight (601098)
      It means that the entire nation could get its collective ass together and pitch in on a project that benefits everyone. This is an amazing accomplishment.

      America could do the same damned thing, except the collective ass is a lot larger, and the people with the collective asses try to turn it into an empirical thing; okay, who gets what services at what cost.

      Imagine if that entire country went VoIP, hired a cellphone company to make wireless handsets that talk internet protocol in the 802.11x range, and
  • Moving soon? Anyone? (Score:2, Interesting)

    by CRepetski (824321)
    I wanna live there! If that's their method of convincing people to move, it worked. Seriously though - just add 10 or 20 bucks to your taxes and you're good to go! Awesome!
    • My high school French teacher was born there, from what I understand the land is overflowing with alcohol, and the people there have an interesting sense of humor. She was ugly but one of the funniest people I have ever met. Best of wishes to you!
  • That and, (Score:2, Insightful)

    by neurokaotix (892464)
    it's a hell of a lot cheaper to install wireless access points across an island than it is to lay wiring across it.
  • The Principality of Sealand [sealandgov.com] did it first I believe, although Petoria was probably covered by their cordless phone.

    • by SuperBanana (662181) on Monday June 20, 2005 @01:25AM (#12860561)
      Sealand is not a country; not a single UN member recognizes it, and despite what some quack claims on his ISP homepage, it just plain isn't. It is a small island that the British decided it wasn't worth it to "reclaim" by force.

      If they invaded to kill, they'd slaughter a bunch of idiots. If they invaded "nicely", a couple of British soliders would most likely be killed. Either way, a potenial PR disaster.

      Honestly, the UK just doesn't give a shit about the island- not enough to drop a bomb on the place and blow it to smithereens, or anything else. They could have cut the island off long ago and starved everyone out, but even that wasn't worth it.

      • by raju1kabir (251972) on Monday June 20, 2005 @09:11AM (#12862322) Homepage

        Oh, don't be so harsh on them. It's easily as independent as the country I started in my parents' basement when they wouldn't let me go sleep over at my friend's house one time. Out of historical interest, I will reproduce its Constitution in its entirety here: "No grownups."

        As far as I've been able to tell, that's the same law that governs Sealand.

    • At this point, they claims to be a country and exert theri independence, but that doesn't seem to be recognised. They don't have a diplomatic mission in any nation I'm aware of, they don't have an IANA country code (which even Taiwan has, though not offically an independant country), etc. Mauritius is a fully recognisied nation, however. They have major diplomatic representation, a real functioning representitive government and so on.

      You have to remember that being a nation isn't as simple as just having s
  • by axonal (732578) on Monday June 20, 2005 @12:48AM (#12860401)
    Excuse me? Excuse me, senor? May I speak to you please? I asked for a mai tai, and they brought me a pina colada, and I said no salt, NO salt on the margarita, but it had salt on it, big grains of salt, floating in the glass...
  • The Land of the Dodo (Score:2, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward

    This tropical island ... is best-known for its white-sand beaches, its designer clothing outlets and its spicy curries.

    I thought Mauritius was best-known as the former home of the Dodo. Hopefully their stab at nationwide wireless connectivity won't share a similar fate.

  • by IchBinEinPenguin (589252) on Monday June 20, 2005 @12:55AM (#12860433)
    peaceful? wireless? tropical?

    Every geek in the workd is going to move there.
    We just /.-ed an entire nation
  • When I think of Mauritius I think first, last, and only of a hypertrophied flightless pigeon, sadly extinct since the seventeenth century, known as the dodo.

    There's one stuffed at the Harvard Museum of Natural History, from which new specimens might be cloned someday soon. I doubt they will make much use of wireless internet service, though, even if they find their way to their ancestral home. They're even dumber than your average slashdot moderator; while equipped to peck, hunting is probably beyond the
  • " Many of the country's 1.2 million people--a mix of French, Indian, Chinese and African descendants--are bilingual or trilingual, speaking French, English and either Chinese or Hindi. The country is democratic, peaceful and stable."

    Well praise be to God and/or Allah and/or Buddah

    The land of wireless and honey! :-)
  • by Sinner (3398)
    I think this is brilliant. While larger countries look to wireless as a new way to keep on beating the same dead horses, smaller countries can use it to attract live horses.

    I think my metahorse got tangled.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday June 20, 2005 @02:09AM (#12860702)
    Hi, I live in Mauritius, the home of the extinct dodo.

    Country's bandwidth to the Internet: 128 Mbps

    Here is some information about Internet connectivity with the biggest ISP, Telecom Plus.
    266 US$/month - Business ADSL 1024/128
    147 US$/month - Business ADSL 512/128
    78 US$/month - Business ADSL 128/64

    40 US$/month - Residential ADSL 128/64
    60 US$/month - Residential ADSL 512/128
    266 US$/month - Residential ADSL 1024/128

    Taken from
    http://www.telecomplus.net/adsl_tariffs.htm [telecomplus.net]
    1 US$ ~Rs 28
    VAT is at 15 %

    Oh, forget about getting dedicated >1mbps connections, they cost over 2,400 US$/month last time I checked.

    Also, Mauritius claims to home the most intelligent building in the world, the Ebene Cybertower.

    See, this is a great place to live, all the peace and quiet is here but if you want to move here to enjoy cheap, fast and reliable internet connectivity, its the wrong place to be.

    Information:
    www.mauritiustelecom.com
    www.gov. mu
    alt.mauritius

    Have a nice day.
  • by Illserve (56215)
    The country is democratic, peaceful and stable

    Well, it *was*...
  • by AvinashM (212062) on Monday June 20, 2005 @07:26AM (#12861709) Homepage
    I am Mauritian, living and working in Mauritius right now.

    Mauritius is a small (about 1400 km2) tropical island not very far from Madagascar. Mauritius became independent in 1968, is a republic since 1991 and is, politically, stable with regular democratic elections every 5 years.

    For the last 20 years, the economy was based on sugar cane, tourism and the manufacturing sector (mostly textile). Now, with the ongoing globalisation, Mauritius has to find new avenues for development as we aren't competitive enough in those fields...

    The Government and the private sector have identified some new avenues, IT services and financial services, in addition to the further development of the existing tourism sector.

    As for IT, Government is concentrating on building new schools and giving incentives to the University of Mauritius (where I work as lecturer in Computer Science) to produce a more IT-litterate workforce (whatever that may mean). Mauritius has obtained a $100 million line of credit from India to build what is known here as CyberTowers and CyberCities.

    Of course, this migration towards a service-oriented economy will take some years. The Governement has already announced that the whole country will have to become a duty-free country (yeah :-) like Dubai and Singapore in order to attract more and more tourists.

    As everyone know, by 2008, owing to the World Trade Organisation, all countries including Mauritius will have to compete on the same level (there will be no more prefential agreements between countries nor any guaranteed quotas etc.)

    Small countries like mine need to move quickly or else we will perish.

    Wish us luck :-)

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