Geeks Without Frontiers
11 Aug 2017
Geeks Without Frontiers Nominated for the 2017 Global Grand Challenge Awards
26 May 2017
Geeks Without Frontiers to Advise on Acceleration of National Broadband Deployment
20 Oct 2016
Bringing Broadband To The Next Billion: Thought Leadership Summit Releases Groundbreaking “Dig Once!” Model Legislation
07 Oct 2016
Tackling Humanity’s Greatest Challenges: Geeks Without Frontiers Shortlisted for Global Grand Challenge Awards
11 Nov 2015
DigOnce! A Fiber & Internet Initiative That Can Touch A Billion Lives
10 Nov 2015
Broadband For The Next Billion: Working to Connect Everyone on Earth to the Internet By 2020
22 Jun 2015
New FCC Internet Regulations Model for Achieving Global Internet Access?
10 Jul 2013
Geeks Without Frontiers’ Vision To Bring Broadband To The Next Billion
03 Jul 2013
Shooting a Class Photo to Space on a Rocket
03 Aug 2011
Geeks Without Frontiers Announces Final Development? of Low Cost, Open Source, Wi-Fi Software

SAN FRANCISCO, Aug. 11, 2017 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — Geeks Without Frontiers(GEEKS) announced today that the non-profit organization has, for the second year running, been nominated for the Global Grand Challenge Awards for its ‘CommunityConnect’ initiative to be announced at the August 13-15, Singularity Global Summit in San Francisco, California.

The 2017 Global Grand Challenge nomination is for GEEKS’s satellite broadband focused ‘CommunityConnect’ initiative, which aims to help close the global digital divide by introducing best practices for satellite operators, entities regulating and licensing satellite bandwidth, and operators on the ground. GEEKS’s co-founder, Michael Potter said, “We are honored that the high impact Geeks Without Frontiers initiatives have continue to be recognized on a global level.” The ‘CommunityConnect’ working group has several industry experts including from EchoStar, ManSat, the Global VSAT Forum (GVF), the law firm Reed Smith, and BLUETOWN.

As part of ‘Connectivity Week’, to be held in collaboration with the IEEE, GEEKS will hold its October 20th 2017 ‘Connectivity is the Revolution’ thought leadership forum in Washington D.C. At the conference, GEEKS will formally release its CommunityConnect’ international model code and best practices initiative designed to drive and inspire a global policy effort to help close the digital divide, and help to bring connectivity to the estimated 3.2 billion people who do not have the benefit of internet access.

GEEKS was also a finalist in 2016 for its ‘DigOnce!’ Model Law, a global policy initiative designed to help close the digital divide by introducing a customizable legislative framework designed to increase the availability of broadband internet facilities by reducing the time, cost, and environmental impact of rolling out high-speed communications networks. Following the release of DigOnce!’, GEEKS co-founder Michael Potter (and GEEKS Director John Morris as alternate) was appointed to a sub-committee of the U.S. Federal Communications Commission’s Broadband Deployment Advisory Committee, which is focused on introducing model codes of practice designed to help close the digital divide in the U.S.

About the Global Grand Challenge Awards

Singularity University (SU) believes that leveraging the convergence of exponential technologies will advance us along the path to solving our Global Grand Challenges (GGCs), and will shift humanity from an era of scarcity to one of abundance. There are twelve global grand challenges: Energy, Environment, Food, Shelter, Space, Water, Disaster Resilience, Shelter, Health, Learning, Prosperity, and Security. In addressing each GGC, SU is solving for the following three perspectives: ensuring basic needs are met for all people, sustaining and improving quality of life, and mitigating future risks. A maximum of three participating organizations are selected for each of the 12 GGC’s.

About Geeks Without Frontiers

The GEEKS goal is to positively impact the lives of a billion people in the next ten years through the innovative use of technology, connectivity, and sustainable social enterprise models. GEEKS initiatives include: DigOnce!’VillageConnect’ and CommunityConnect

WASHINGTON, DC–(Marketwired – May 16, 2017) –  Geeks Without Frontiers (GEEKS) announced today that founder, Michael Potter, has been appointed to a working group of the Federal Communications Commission’s (FCC) Broadband Deployment Advisory Committee (BDAC), a new body focused on accelerating the deployment of broadband Internet access. Potter will be focused on the working group tasked with developing model state and municipal codes.

Michael Potter remarked, “We commend FCC Chairman Pai’s initiative, to prioritize and accelerate the roll-out of broadband connectivity. There is a direct relationship between connectivity, bandwidth and sustainable economic development.” Potter further explained, “I have spent my entire professional career accelerating broadband connectivity. This is definitely my passion and my calling. It is an honor to be able to play a role in identifying and developing solutions for how to scale sustainable broadband connectivity in the U.S.”

In addition to founding Geeks Without Frontiers (GEEKS), a non profit organization focused on positively impacting the lives of a billion people over the next ten years through the innovative use of technology, connectivity, and sustainable social enterprise models, Potter brings extensive commercial experience in developing international broadband networks. He served on the Board of Directors of Global Connect, a Danish Internet infrastructure provider, which has deployed nearly 10,000 miles of fiber optic network in Northern Europe. Potter was Vice Chairman, Co-Founder and President of Esprit Telecom plc., the first pan-European competitive telecommunications service provider. During his eight years at Esprit, his team grew to 1,000 employees in over nine European Countries and a market capitalization of $1 billion.

Geeks Without Frontiers views Potter’s appointment as a synergy with our efforts to help close the digital divide. He brings extensive telecommunications knowledge, problem solving and analytical skills to the Advisory Committee.

At our “Connectivity is the Revolution!” thought leadership forum last year, GEEKS released its Dig Once! international model legislation to drive and inspire a global policy effort to help close the digital divide, and bring connectivity to the estimated 3.2 billion people who do not have the benefit of internet access.

Dig Once! provides a customizable legislative framework designed to increase the availability of broadband Internet facilities by reducing the time, cost and environmental impact of rolling out high-speed communications networks.

Over 80% of fiber optic costs are related to digging trenches for laying fiber optic cabling and the roll-out of fiber is not coordinated or optimized.

The GEEK’S Dig Once! initiative envisages the joint use of existing networks (including utility networks), the automatic incorporation of fiber into new and modified infrastructure developments such as roads and railways, the centralization of information about networks and network capacity and the coordination of civil works so that fiber rollout is optimized.

About Geeks Without Frontiers

The GEEKS goal is to positively impact the lives of a billion people in the next ten years through the innovative use of technology, connectivity, and sustainable social enterprise models.

The GEEK’S Dig Once! initiative was selected in August 2016 for the Singularity University’s Global Grand Challenge Awards.

Geeks Without Frontiers

Geeks Without Frontiers (GEEKS) announced on October 21st, at the Connectivity is the Revolution! thought leadership forum, the release of its DigOnce! international model legislation to drive and inspire a global policy effort to help close the digital divide, and bring connectivity to the estimated 3.2 billion people who do have the benefit of internet access.

DigOnce! provides a customizable legislative framework designed to increase the availability of broadband internet facilities by reducing the time, cost and environmental impact of rolling out high-speed communications networks.

“Over 80% of fiber optic costs are related to digging trenches for laying fiber optic cabling and the roll-out of fiber is not coordinated or optimized.” said London based Attorney, telecoms entrepreneur and one of GEEKS founders, John Morris.

The GEEK’s DigOnce! initiative envisages the joint use of existing networks (including utility networks), the automatic incorporation of fiber into new and modified infrastructure developments such as roads and railways, the centralization of information about networks and network capacity and the coordination of civil works so that fiber rollout is optimized. The model law also contains provisions ensuring that communications network providers can deliver their services and that new and modified buildings are broadband ready.

The legislation is designed to drive and inspire a global policy effort to help close the digital divide. It is intended for use by Governments and NGOs as a model for approaching how best to bring the social, educational, and financial benefits of broadband to the greatest number of people quickly and efficiently. It has equal relevance to The International Telecommunications Union’s Broadband Commission which is now focused, from a policy point of view, on how to bring together concepts of broadband Internet with the United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goals.

About Geeks Without Frontiers

The GEEKS goal is to positively impact the lives of a billion people in the next ten years through the innovative use of technology, connectivity and sustainable social enterprise models.

GEEK’S is progressing its strategic initiative of bringing internet to a billion people within the next 10 years (‘Broadband for the next Billion’) by focusing on two key strategies:

  • ‘VillageConnect’: working with partners to deliver sustainable internet to villages with both universal service (healthcare and education) and social entrepreneurship solutions, and
  • ‘DigOnce!: international model legislation designed to drive and inspire a global policy effort to help close the digital divide.

The GEEKS DigOnce! initiative was selected in August 2016 for the Singularity University Global Grand Challenge Awards.

The Connectivity is the Revolution! thought leadership forum is being convened in partnership with the Space Policy Institute at the George Washington University.

For more information contact: info@geekswf.org and visit us online at www.geekswf.org

Geeks Without Frontiers

Geeks Without Frontiers (www.geekswf.org) is proud to announce that we have been short listed for the “Global Grand Challenge Awards.” The Awards are a central part of the upcoming Singularity University’s Global Summit in San Francisco which Geeks will attend. It is not a simple task to positively touch the lives of a billion people in the coming decades, yet the summit is focused on understanding the impact of exponential technologies on humanity’s greatest challenges.

Geeks Without Frontiers was selected because of its “DigOnce!” initiative. The social, educational and economic benefits of broadband connectivity have been widely recognised and connectivity is just as much a C21st revolution as rail was in C19th and electricity in C20th. Geek’s current goal is to accelerate the deployment of fiber optic networks in both advanced and developing economies. When 90% of fiber optic costs are related to digging the trenches for laying the fiber optic cabling, the vision of the DigOnce! initiative allows for the installation of empty fiber optic conduits (the plastic pipes that fiber is later “blown” or “pulled” through) as new roads (and other infrastructure) are built and existing roads are dug up to enable fiber to be installed.

The Geeks DigOnce! team, has developed Model Legislation designed to  require developers of new roads and companies digging up existing roads to lay sufficient fibre optic conduits to take care of future growth. I also deals with requiring other utility operators (water, gas, electricity etc) to share their infrastructure where appropriate.  Doing this will save material cost and time and help to speed up the roll out of broadband connectivity. It is also a “green” initiative, since it advocates laying the conduits any time new roads are built or old ones are repaired. This will prevent a future need to tear up the roads to lay fiber optic cables and will avoid the associated disruption and negative effect on the environment.

Large road projects funded by the European Union, the International Finance Corporation, the African Development Bank and the Asian Development Bank could require conduits to be installed during road construction or road expansion. The International Telecommunications Union’s Broadband Commission is now focused, from a policy point of view, on how to bring together concepts of broadband Internet with the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals.

 DigOnce! is part of Geek’s ‘Broadband for a Billion’ initiative the other main part being VillageConnect which aims to bring ‘proof of concept’ connectivity to 20 villages/refugee camps in the next 18 months. www.geekswf.org.

Geeks Without Frontiers - Dig Once

Geeks Without Frontiers has developed an open infrastructure initiative called  DigOnce! a plan to accelerate the deployment of fiber optic networks. DigOnce! will speed the creation of gigabit villages around the world.

90% of fiber optic cost are related to digging the trenches for laying the fiber optic cabling. The vision of the DigOnce! initiative allows for the installation of empty  fiber optic conduits (the plastic pipes that fiber is later “blown” or “pulled” through) as roads are expanded and built across the developing world.

If the decision is made to put fiber optic cabling into roads after they have been built or expanded, it is both enormously expensive and intensely pollutive. Additionally in some jurisdictions, an internet provider that is interested in cutting into brand new roads and highways, will be asked to take over the 10 or 15 year warranty on the road, provided by company hired to build the road.

DigOnce! from a policy point of view and a legal basis would require roadworks to lay conduits to pave the path for fiber optic cables for enhanced speed and bandwidth. The initiative is “green” since it advocates laying the conduits any time new roads are built or old ones are repaired. This will prevent future need to tear up the roads to lay fiber optic cables.”   DigOnce! can also be expanded to those road digs that are necessary for the installation and expansion of water systems, sewer infrastructure, natural gas pipelines and other village and municipal utilities.

Large road projects funded by the European Union, the International Finance Corporation, the African Development, and the Asian Development Bank could require conduits to be installed during road construction or road expansion.  The International Telecommunications Union’s Broadband Commission is now focused, from a policy point of view, on how to bring together concepts of broadband Internet with the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals.  

As part of GEEKS action plan, we are developing a White Paper on DigOnce!, as well as model DigOnce! legislation. This can be used in countries around the world to accelerate the achievements of Sustainable Development Goals.  To follow-through and to ensure the success of these initiatives will require a tremendous amount of outreach and advocacy and continual education of the compelling benefits of  DigOnce! The final take-away is that DigOnce! allows for rapidly developing low cost, high capacity green fiber telecoms infrastructure, which can positively touch a billion lives around the world in the next decade.

Download Model Law (Adobe PDF)

Geeks Without Frontiers

Can we work connect Everyone on Earth to the Internet by 2020?  Can we do so focused on leveraging its low cost, open source WiFi technologies to deliver broadband, especially to rural areas of the developing world?  At Geeks Without Frontiers we believe  that open sources technologies, social enterprise, low cost phones and devices as well as new satellite systems make this goal achievable.

Importantly, GEEKS believes that the year 2020 will be viewed as the ‘Communications Singularity’—a single moment in time when for the first time in history every person on the planet will be connected. Based on recent economic models, a case can be made that bringing broadband to one billion people could create up to $1 trillion dollars of economic impact over the next decade.

The goal of GEEKS’ new initiative is to combine the power of social enterprise, Open Source, and low cost technologies to allow WiFi to go ‘viral’ in the developing world.  Providing an ecosystem of software tools, hardware, and backhaul capability to establish village to bring broadband to the next billion.

We believe the key is to combine the power of the marketplace with affordable, state of the art, open source tools which will facilitate internet WiFi networks going viral around the globe.  It’s harnessing the power of economics as opposed to traditional models of aid. It’s using market forces to bring sustainable solutions  to unconnected areas of the world through access to enhanced communications. Geeks Without Frontiers wants to close the global digital divide by inspiring tens of thousands of local entrepreneurs to run small, local Internet businesses.

Now that High Throughput Satellite (HTS) capacity is coming online over the developing world, the next big challenge for Internet connectivity will be off-grid sustainable energy to power the Very Small Aperture Terminals (VSATs), enabling the roll-out of village Internet connectivity.

An important driver for this expansion of internet connectivity by the end of the decade will come from open source WiFi- based mesh networks. WiFi solutions, together with an “ecosystem” of hardware and software tools, to enable the development and rollout of large-scale mesh WiFi networks for fractions of the traditional network cost making access to broadband in rural areas an affordable reality.

The ecosystem of tools to include micro-payment systems, network management systems, a local advertising module and, eventually, renewable energy solutions to power the wireless networks. These represent a major step in achieving the vision of affordable broadband for all, capable of bringing tremendous economic and social benefits to millions of people, especially in areas where legacy broadband models are currently considered to be uneconomical.

President Obama announced his administration’s strategy for achieving national broadband internet access coverage. No reasonable person can argue against the importance of broadband internet for driving economic growth, development, innovation, education, and entertainment.

We applaud the administration for bringing more attention, and debate to the critical issues associated with broadband. However, I believe it is imperative to contribute two additional unifying principles.

First, broadband is not simply a domestic national issue, it is fundamentally a global issue. I am not suggesting U.S. citizens and taxpayers should be unfairly burdened with any additional global challenges and responsibilities.

However, I passionately believe in the power of leadership by example. Let’s show the world that this vision is achievable. Political rhetoric is not sufficient. Ultimately the final criteria for success must be predicated on the power of our actions, and of course, the real impact that we are able to achieve! Not only will this country and the world judge our success, but more importantly, so will history.

The second fundamental principle is the necessity for financial and economic sustainability and scalability of broadband business models. I have argued for years, that broadband internet is a fundamental human right. It is important that the notions and principles of universal “access” are not confused with slogans that are not financially sustainable. We should be cautions of political and governmental slogans the proclaim “free,” or “subsidized,” internet.

Universal access can best be achieved by ensuring a vigorous, openly competitive marketplace. This will facilitate the creation of more and better innovation, new services, open source protocols and lower prices. It is critical that consumers are empowered, and that they have access to the open source tools, so that consumers are better able to influence their own broadband future.

What should be driving our broadband future is a market that is based on open competition, underpinned by appropriate business oriented competition law and regulation. Policies that seek to turn the internet into a regulated utility, operated by monopolists and quasi-monopolists under the false banner of “free,” or “subsidized” will not lead to financial sustainability, but to complex redistribution, and poorly allocated public spending.

The government is less efficient at picking winners and losers both in terms of business models, and also in terms of superior future technical solutions. We must allow for a free market to create a myriad of technologies, the best of which will help to solve the challenge of achieving ‘broadband access for all’. Policymakers need to ensure that smaller internet service providers can have open, competitive, wholesale access to the fiber optic networks of the existing monopoly and quasi monopoly providers.

Sustainability and scalability, with access to open networks, open source tools and dynamic markets will allow broadband investments to be paid back, so that the funds can be “paid forward” to other communities, allowing broadband to go viral, as opposed to heavily regulated and complex subsidization schemes, that tend to slow and suppress internet growth. The democratization of broadband requires open markets, the best technologies and global thinking in a world where it is becoming increasingly clear that the wellbeing of any part is symbiotically related to the wellbeing of the whole.

In the year 2020, I argue that everybody on the planet who desires to be connected to the Internet, will have the capability to have Internet access. I call this single moment in history, when every human being is connected to the internet, the “Communications Singularity.”

If we get this debate right, we can collectively make a tremendous impact. The benefits will be much greater than any single nation state may deliver by themselves, but a few nations united, can ultimately have an impact that can benefit the majority of humanity.

If the correct decisions are made, about broadband and internet access in 2015, we can positively impact the lives of a billion people in less than 10 years time. That is a goal worth fighting for!

Finally, one of the initiatives, of this presidential administration, which holds great potential is the so called, “dig once,” initiative. This initiative calls for allowing fiber optic internet providers to have access to underground facilities whenever the roads are opened up by those replacing water pipes, cable TV, electric companies and the like. Nearly 90% of all cost related to installing fiber optic cabling, is related to the digging cost. If we can essentially eliminate digging cost we can provide consumers with higher bandwidth, lower cost internet access.

Not only do we have to get the policy of “dig once,” to work here in the U.S., we need to provide the model legislation that will enable countries around the world to be empowered and take the leadership role in providing low cost internet to their citizens.

July 10, 2013 (Redondo Beach, California) — Geeks Without Frontiers (GEEKS) today announces the release of its vision to bring broadband to the next billion – ”Broadband for a Billion (B4B): Working to Connect Everyone on Earth to the Internet by 2020″ – focused on leveraging its low cost, open source WiFi technologies to deliver broadband, especially to rural areas of the developing world.

GEEKS believes that the year 2020 will be viewed as the ‘Communications Singularity’—a single moment in time when every person on the planet will be connected. Based on recent economic models, a case can be made that bringing broadband to one billion people could create up to $1 trillion dollars of economic impact over the next decade.

The goal of GEEKS’ new initiative is to combine the power of social enterprise and low – cost technologies to allow WiFi to go ‘viral’ in the developing world by providing an ecosystem of hardware and software tools to establish village WiFi networks and to bring broadband to the next billion.

Michael Potter, one of the founders of the GEEKS initiative explained, “combining the power of the market with affordable, state of the art, open source tools will help internet WiFi networks to go viral globally. It’s the power of economics as opposed to aid. It’s using market forces to bring true and lasting change to unconnected areas of the world through access to enhanced communications. Geeks Without Frontiers wants to close the global digital divide by inspiring tens of thousands of local entrepreneurs to run small, local Internet businesses.”

An important driver for this expansion of internet connectivity by the end of the decade will come from open source WiFi- based mesh networks. GEEKS and its partners, the Tides Foundation, Google and Global Connect have, along with Cozy Bit and I-Net Solutions, developed a new open source WiFi standard 802.11s that has now been certified as the global standard by the IEEE. The WiFi solution, together with an “ecosystem” of hardware and software tools, will enable the development and rollout of large-scale mesh WiFi networks for a fraction of the traditional network cost making access to broadband in rural areas an affordable reality.

The ecosystem of tools will include micropayment systems, network management systems, a local advertising module and, eventually, renewable energy solutions to power the wireless networks. These represent a major step in achieving the vision of affordable broadband for all, capable of bringing tremendous economic and social benefits to millions of people, especially in areas where legacy broadband models are currently considered to be uneconomical.

Wireless communication is now being viewed as an important political and economic issue. In April 2013, Google’s Chairman, Eric Schmidt, argued, “By the end of the decade, everyone on Earth will be connected.” More recently, in June 2013, President Barack Obama declared that we must, “encourage further development of cutting-edge wireless technologies, applications, and services,” in his presidential memorandum entitled, “Expanding America’s Leadership in Wireless Innovation.”

The GEEKS ‘Communications Singularity’ vision to bring “Broadband for a Billion (B4B): Working to Connect Everyone on Earth to the Internet by 2020,” is available on the GEEKS website (www.geekswf.org) and will soon be available as an iBook for free download on iTunes.

Geeks Without Frontiers is thrilled to work with the RHO Appleseed School in Lusaka, Zambia.

In an effort to acquire more land and new green technology facilities to accommodate the growing school, GEEKS launched an online crowd-funding campaign on Indiegogo that raised more than $11,000.

The hope is that the new school can serve as a model for other independent rural schools throughout Africa.

GEEKS, partnered with Space Services, Inc., launched an Appleseed class photo to space aboard an Up Aerospace SL-7 rocket on June 21, 2013 out of Spaceport America in Las Cruces, New Mexico.

GEEKS hopes that the children of the Appleseed School will be inspired to reach for the stars!

August 3, 2011 (Mountain View, California) –Geeks Without Frontiers (GEEKS), an initiative of the not for-profit Manna Energy Foundation, focused on using technology and social enterprise to have a positive impact on a billion people in 10 years, today announces the final development of an innovative, low cost, open source, Wi-Fi software technology facilitated by a grant from the Tides Foundation.

GEEKS expects that this technology, built mainly by Cozybit, managed by GEEKS and I-Net Solutions, and sponsored by Google, Global Connect, Nortel, One Laptop Per Child, and the Manna Energy Foundation, will enable the development and rollout of large-scale mesh Wi-Fi networks for atleast half of the traditional network cost. This is a major step in achieving the vision of affordable broadband for all, capable of bringing tremendous economic and social benefits to millions of people, especially in areas where legacy broadband models are currently considered to be uneconomical.

“By driving down the cost of metropolitan and village scale Wi-Fi networks, millions more people will be able to reap the economic and social benefits of significantly lower cost Internet access,” explained Michael Potter, one of the founders of the GEEKS initiative.  “GEEKS is honored to work with the Tides Foundation, Google, and others, in moving towards making the dream of significantly lower cost global access a reality.”

Geeks specially recognizes Javier Cardona of Cozybit for his key role in this project and who, together, with security expert Dan Harkins, have worked to ensure that the GEEKS Wi-Fi software utilizes the strongest authentication methodology known to exist for mesh networks, providing exceptional security.  Harkins confirms that his approach of SAE (Simultaneous Authentication of Equals) is secure to offline dictionary attacks.  In addition to secure authentication, the latest release of open80211s (o11s) implements the AMPE (Authenticated Mesh Peering Exchange) which enables multiple authenticated nodes to encrypt traffic between themselves.  Combining SAE and AMPE creates an unprecedented level of security in mesh networks.  This combination of high level security and open source code will help to ensure that new networks utilizing o11s are materially safer and yet significantly lower cost to deploy.

GEEKS also recognizes Andrew Gold of I-Net Solutions, and Karl Garcia of Google who, in developing two free Wi-Fi networks currently delivering free broadband to more than 100,000 people in California, helped define the components of low-cost highly-scalable mesh Wi-Fi.

The next step in the GEEKS project is to complete the current open source implementation of the upcoming IEEE mesh standard 802.11s which is expected be ratified in the 4th quarter of this year. The software is currently available at www.o11s.org