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April 26, 2005


Ron Bleakney

Hi Brough,

I just came across this site and found it great - it brought back some very fond memories of you as a person, not just the CTO - best wishes and warmest regards, Ron

Dan Daly

Hey Brough,

I finally got some quality time to go through your Blog. Pretty good stuff! I enjoyed reading it.

This entry, "Passion," is something I can relate to.

Let me describe a recent, last summer, sort of test of ethics I had about AccessGate.

As you know, we are building up a market for AccessGate in Africa, and it is beginning to take hold. The market is all about operators selling basic mobile services to the people of Africa; and our AccessGate product directly supports this goal.

I visited Africa last August (With a colleague from the Framingham office). On that trip we got a free weekend to tour some of the countryside. We explored parts of Jo'Burg and traveled five hour northwest to a game reserve. Through this travel I observed, a scene of abject poverty. People living in shanty towns. Homes built from remnants of shipping crates, discarded tin, outhouses for bathrooms, just the basic shelter and nothing much else.

I felt the pain of guilt. That is, me participating in a product build-out that was ultimately going to extract cash from these poor souls. My thought was, don't they need food, better living conditions, more than they need a cell phone.

That all changed for me when we were reviewing some AccessGate erlang log file. We saw that call traffic increased significantly at the early morning hour of 5AM to 6AM (it might have been 6 to 7) . We thought we had a reporting problem, or some other system problem with AccessGate, since what else could explain such high traffic at such an early hour. So, we asked our host operator’s network engineer. He indicated that they run a special pricing incentive at this hour, (the plans are all prepaid). People use this incentive to call their family and friends to save on the prepaid. In many cases they are calling family members who have immigrated to Europe. They go to Europe to make money in the services industry, like hotels; they and send a portion of the earnings back home. They may talk about how much money the extended family member is going to send back to Africa, or maybe just call to stay in touch. On the local scale, I could clearly see cell phone use enabling these shanty towns to better enable trade of goods. In either case, mobile communication is allowing them to expand their economy, enabling them to have a path to better their position. From this simple example, it became clear t me our small participation in providing communications can enable the S. African society to better their position in this world. Communications fuels economical growth.

As an epilogue, I traveled past some of these villages after my seeing how cell phone coverage can help. My now more discriminate observation was that the housing was still much less than basic, but I observed no hunger and all villages had some access to electricity (not necessarily to each home, but definitely to the village). Now with telecommunications available to them, I expect the people of these villages to grow in the economic ladder.

I am convinced that telecommunications to the masses fuels economic growth at the basic level.


vincent d mcbride

Brough, your thinking about google and the 700MHz spectrum auction is right on the money. Do you think the 700MHz spectrum will work well using OFDM and software raido base stations. A pure IP mobile backbone. Will all laptops come with a Wimax chip inside? What about a Wimax mobile phone you can use for mobile Voip? Can I build a Wimax network if i win one of the many A or B block 700mhz. licenses up for sale. I am going to be bidding in the auction and would like to hear from you about how you think the 700mhz spectrum should be used as long as you are not in the auction bidding. Is a license only 12mhz wide in the 700mhz band good or will you need 22MHz or more. what if I win a 700mhz license but have only 12mhz to work with can I build a stand alone Wimax network in the 700mhz band?

thank you,

vincent d mcbride
mcbride spectrum partners,llc
4685 muir ave
san diego ca 92107

mobile: 619-288-1753

Crystal Watley Kigoni

I read this blog post and really felt like I should write you a note. I am passionate about bringing information and communications technologies to people through Sub Saharan Africa. I have a small non governmental organization named Voices of Africa. I believe with all my heart that development is freedom and ICT is the way of the future. If you are interested in hearing more about our work please email me at crystal@voicesofafrica.org. Our website (in need of so love) is www.voicesofafrica.org.

Thank you in advance. You will not be disappointed.

Many blessings,


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