BasicInternet:Microsoft IdeaFest2019


Jump to: navigation, search
Our 4 Microsoft Design Teams (except those preparing the video)

BasicInternet:Microsoft IdeaFest2019

Title BasicInternet:Microsoft IdeaFest2019
Place Microsoft@Munich
Date, Time 2019/07/03, -4July2019
Contact Person Marcus Morrissette
Participants Josef.Noll, Axel Meiling, Hendric Tronsson, Marcus Morrissette, Jan Kulbe, Doris Dräger, Jana Ruhland, Thorsten Eberhardt, Alex Vincent
related to Project DigI, BasicInternet
this page was created by Special:FormEdit/Meeting, and can be edited by Special:FormEdit/Meeting/BasicInternet:Microsoft IdeaFest2019

Free Access to Information - Microsoft Team contributions

Josef presenting the 60 sec design video (click to see the video)

Get a 60 second glimt: Connecting the Unconnected

The Basic Internet Foundation got an invitation to participate at the Microsoft Idea Fest 2019 in Munich in July 2019. 38 non-profit organisations asked Microsoft Germany to help, and Microsoft delivered. Alex Meiling and Hendric Tronsson from Digital Oxygen joined us to promote the idea of "Connecting the Unconnecting" and "Internet4All".

We had the pleasure of having a total of 4 design teams working for us for two days, with a tremendous Marcus Morisette as our host for these two days.

Marcus, Axel and me celebrating the successful design

The main outcomes of the 2-days design sprint were:

  1. Converting the message from Connecting the Unconnected to Free Access to Information is a Human Right (this is what we have to work for).
  2. The Pony Express bringing content to the unconnected villages
  3. A Basic Internet App and Information Architecture will help in seamless information exchange across villages and regions.
Summary of all Design Contributions

Given the costs of service delivery, e.g. USD 640 to connect a village with a 4 Mbit/s link, needs a new architecture for #DigitalInclusion and #SocietalEmpowerment. All team members and all visitors appreciated the free access to information, thus work concentrated on the technology behind.

1. Free Access to Information is a Human Right

Bridging the Digital Divide

One of the topics clearly articulates was the understanding that free access to information should become a human right. We are not yet there, but we agreed to bring our thoughts together to make it happen.

Arguments supporting the demand were:

  • Bridging the digital divide is essential to reach the SDGs
  • #AI for good should be explored to support the demand
  • we need a Digital Geneva Convention
Mission overview: Connect the World
Stay tuned
Free Access to Information for All

Connecting the world needs

  • Attention and social media involvement
  • Content creation, here: images for the information spots
  • low cost infrastructure, wifi information spots are excellent candidates
  • transport of heavy files, e.g. videos and courses through people commuting
  • install, connect and update locally at the information spots
Connect the World
Stories of People

2. The Pony Express transporting content

Flow diagramme

The digital Pony Express was the main outcome of the design process, addressing the transport of large content such as video.

Creating a split architecture, with text and pictures being transported through the mobile backhaul, while bandwidth demanding content is transported through physical means. Through such a split architecture the costs of the mobile backhaul, being e.g. USD 600/month for a 4 Mbps line, can be minimised.

Overview Pony Express
The digital Pony Express
Technical Goal

The first concept, also expressed in the video, addresses physical hard disks being being distributed by motorbike drivers. Thus, wherever the content is updated, the people in the village can enjoy the updated content. A more advanced concept was addressed through the m-Uber services, adding a subscription of content, and the incentives for sharing information. Thus, people contributing to content distribution receive a societal kudos.

The technical realisation had the goal to reduce bandwidth usage through P2P/meshnetworks with smart cashing. The realisation addressed a distributed database, ensuring the sync mechanism between the information spot, the devices and the cloud service.

mUber content distribution
Imagine the transport use

The suggestion was to create an open-source project with backing from technology leaders such as Microsoft, Google and others. Support is given by technologist lending their time, and experts to design and build the system. Through Github as a central repository the content for a certain area can be pre-cached, ready for distribution.

Follow-on discussions extended the solution towards caching through an app on a mobile phone or tablet, which is discussed through the next topic.

3. The Basic Internet App and the Information Architecture

Architecture Elements

The main demands for the architecture comprise of

  • Efficiency: get content free of overhead and prepare for replication
  • AI: cloud-based content optimisation for sharing and required content
  • Independency of expensive lines to the villages, as well as address traffic limitations
  • Community/Collaboration addresses the benefits for the community, as well as involving the open source community in development.

Overview: App & architecture
Fast and clean Web

In the simplest configuration, a Raspberry Pi (RPI) could carry all the content. An extension can bring the distribution through local Wifi networks out. The ultimate step includes load balancing and DNS blocking, including white and black-lists for filtering.

Fancy App
Educational App

The IT-community should become engaged to create e.g. education apps, and download material for off-line training. Such apps can include

  • language learning
  • digital literacy
  • technical support, as well as
  • regional support people


  • Free access to information - a human right
  • Off-grid locations served through information spots (good starting point)
  • Physical transport of bandwidth-demanding content to information spots (Pony Express)
  • Gamification and incentives for sharing content