[070312] Weekly online CWRC meeting

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Participants: Louise Berthilson, Frank Kitumba
Note taker: Louise Berthilson

Project update from CWRC
The CWRC has mainly been working on the preparations for the local procurement. The work includes quotations for UPS's, poles, brackets, PCV conduits and basic network equipment. Technical evaluations of the quotations have been made by Frank.

Louise explains her recent experience in Nigeria with a national grid fluctuating between 100-250V, normally stable around 120 V and completely useless. She raises her concerns about similar voltage fluctuations in the power grid of Uganda. Using stabilizers together with UPS's could ease the problem and make sure that the UPS's gets charged properly. Frank ensures that the voltage fluctuations in the power grid will not be an issue in Uganda. Tee UPS's that have been chosen work in the 210-250V range, which normally the power grid can hold. Stabilizers are rarely used in Uganda but can be needed occasionally. We agreed on not procuring any stabilizers at this point, as they always can be added on later in case we notice that we need any.

Frank reports that he got a quote for PVC conduits for 20,000 USh / 3 m (10 USD/3m). For bulk purchase, the price can drop to 6-8 USD/3m. Louise suggests that Frank investigates the price and availability of outdoor Ethernet cable for the cabling that won't be dig down. This applies to all Ethernet cable connecting radio equipment in towers, masts and tanks to indoor buildings. Pulling cables though PCV conduits is not only expensive but also time consuming. However, all clients connected to the hub via Ethernet cable will still need PVC conduits. It is agreed that Frank will investigate price and availability of such outdoor Ethernet cables while Louise will estimate the amount needed (deadline: 13 March).

The CWRC is ready for local procurement as the equipment is identified and the money is in place. However, CWRC has decided to postpone the procurement for a while due to space constraints.
Frank reports that CWRC are still waiting for input from Alberto regarding the connectivity issue and feedback from the meeting they had with MTN in November. Louise will remind Alberto to get back to Frank in this matter. Louise suggests that Frank makes a survey of all existing solutions for connectivity for the selected Telecentres and evaluates and compares prices, capacity and service levels for the different solutions. In brief, connectivity is available via satellite, DSL, CDMA and "PCMCIA modem through wireless". We agree on that we shall aim for getting an agreement with a provider for several sites together so that we can achieve a bulk price. Frank agrees on consulting with the suppliers further.

IT46 project update
Since we last spoke, IT +46 have been in Nigeria for tree weeks leaving the CWRC on “low speed”. However, Louise has been in contact with the supplier of the wireless equipment in Sweden and prepared him for the order that will be placed this week. The supplier has promised to have all the equipment needed in stock for us in mid March. Louise will update the hardware budgets for each Telecentre today (12/3) according to CWRC's re-evaluation of the Ethernet clients and send the order tomorrow. It is expected to have the equipment delivered to IT46 early next week.

Louise reports that there is one issue that is unclear in the re-evaluation from CWRC. The issues is whether the Sub Country Head Quarters in Nakaseke is still a potential partner or if they have moved out of the country which was earlier reported from CWRC. The issue is also unclear to Frank. Frank promise to contact Peter to sort it out.

Louise informs about the decision of placing more powerful radio equipment in the Kachwekano network (and perhaps Nakaseke) to better handle the load and introduce QoS in the networks. The proposed equipment comes from SmartBridges in Singapore which IT +46 has good experience and personal contact with. For Nabweru and Lira, the plan is still to stick to the Compex equipment, as the networks is not expected to grow much as long as no mast is established on their compound. Louise will contact the sales representative of SmartBridges in Singapore and see how we can arrange with a shipment straight o Uganda without going through Sweden.

Louise informs briefly about the news from Rubaya/Kabale Telecentre. They have decided to drop the Internet connectivity/VHF system in Rubaya since Celtel recently have improved their coverage in Rubaya. Instead, they want to focus on a VoIP network between the Kabale Telecentres content providers. To connect all partners to the wireless network in Kachwekano will be a part of the CWRC project, while the VoIP component will be a separate task for IT 46.

Louise raises the topic of Service Level Agreement for the wireless network which that is something the CWRC can start look into while waiting for equipment. SLA is something that the Telecentres need to be introduced to since it will be essential for their business. The SLA should typically specify the "rules" of the game in terms of 1) entering the contract 2) cancelling the contract 3) rented equipment 4) cancellation of contract.

Louise suggest that IT46 and CWRC take turns of writing/summarizing the notes of the Monday meetings. The notes need also to be published to that project members that could not participate in the meeting, can be informed on the decisions that were taken. Frank agrees with that. Louise starts to take notes for today's meeting and CWRC will to it the following week. The notes of the meetings will be public available on CWRC website and IT +46 website for the CWRC project.