Dr. Onno Purbo proposes a DIY GSM base-station!


Hell yeah! Dr Onno Purbo, Indonesia’s most prominent information technology advocate, just proposed another “crazy” idea: do it yourself GSM base-station! By using an open source technology, he explains, we could create our own GSM base-station and provide free telephone call for the people.

Withdrawn from the Indonesian civil service and retired as a lecturer seven years ago, Dr. Purbo  has introduced several alternatives of Internet technologies, including VoIP-based free voice telecommunication that’s called VoIP Rakyat and cheap internet solution using Wajanbolic antenna.  “To build Indonesian people’s own telco without Indonesian telco,” he smiles.

OpenBTS is allowing standard GSM-compatible mobile phones to make telephone calls without using existing telecommunication providers’ networks. It runs entirely over Internet protocol.  “To create this, we should invest US$2,500-3,000 for each base-station. Not that cheap, but of course, it’s cheaper than commercial GSM base-station offered by Nokia, Siemens and the like,” he wrote in his Facebook page.

“Isn’t this a good idea to provide a free telecommunication for rural areas?” He added that this idea is also in-line with Universal Service Obligation (USO) proposed by the Government to provide telecommunications solution for rural and remote areas.

“Hopefully, there are universities or hacker groups starting to invest and brew this cool solution,” he told me yesterday. We both invited to an Internet talk-show in Makassar, South Sulawesi, so I had enough time to ask the country’s Internet maverick many things: especially about his coming (crazy) ideas and projects.

Nobel Prize winner Muhammad Yunus shared a light moment with Dr. Onno W. Purbo in Harvard University. [Photo source]


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