How a Project is Helping Increase Access in Remote Areas Using Bottles

26/01/2022

A conversation between two colleagues at a Colombian university gave rise to an initiative that seemed impossible: to bring the Internet to isolated communities, where there was no electricity.

This was how Internet Connectivity and Lighting for Yunguillo’s Indigenous Council was born: with the aim of bringing Internet service to the inhabitants of a Colombian jungle town while providing lighting to the public spaces of the Council.

This project received a grant from LACNIC’s FRIDA Program in 2020, in the Internet Access category.

Camilo José Herrera, Executive Director of Litro de Luz LATAM, said that FRIDA is a great platform to strengthen any project.

How did the Internet Connectivity and Lighting project for the Yunguillo’s Indigenous Council begin?

The project was developed at the EAN University in Bogota, where I met the indigenous governor Nidia Becerra. Upon learning a little more about her place of origin, Nidia expressed the lack of infrastructure in her community and the lack of Internet service. Faced with this situation, they decided to create the project to bring stable and lasting Internet connection to the Council and illuminate its public spaces.

What technology should have been used to carry out the initiative and provide Internet connection to this locality?

The only possible connectivity in the Council is via satellite, since the jungle area where it is located does not have telecommunications coverage, energy, drinking water or aqueduct. It is a protected indigenous territory of more than 24,000 hectares.

For the Internet deployment, we used two satellite antennas and outdoor routers, providing connectivity for 400 people simultaneously, and Un Litro de Luz ELIoT® technology with state-of-the-art 192 lumens per watt LED luminaires and our advanced MPPT charge controller.

What is Un Litro de Luz ELIoT® technology and how does it work?

ELIoT® is a product designed in 2015 by Un Litro de Luz which responds to the following characteristics: Energy – Light – Internet of Things.

It is a public lighting pole that uses solar energy and elements that are available in any market, such as PVC pipes and plastic bottles. The goal is to illuminate communities and create a WiFi network for Internet access. All equipment needed for Internet deployment and lighting are powered by solar panels and batteries, making ELIoT® a product that can be taken anywhere in the world regardless of whether or not there is conventional electrical power.

For the operation of the satellite Internet antennas, solar energy systems were created to keep the equipment online.

What have been the results of this project after FRIDA’s support?

What is your assessment of your participation in the FRIDA call?

We won the ORG Impact award in the Building Communities category and made it to the list of the 500 most influential initiatives in Latin America. We are currently developing two pilots in Ecuador and Honduras where we replicated what we did in Yunguillo.

We believe that FRIDA is a great platform to strengthen any project that benefits from the grant or award. Their support was fundamental to give new life to the project and bring it to the attention of many actors.

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