Recent developments in wireless local area network (WLAN) technologies are raising new hopes for sustainable Internet diffusion in the rural areas of the developing world. These technologies allow drastic reductions in network deployment costs, particularly for last-mile connectivity in low-density areas. More important, the technologies make possible an infrastructure development model based on community-shared resources, small-scale investments, and user experimentation. This paper argues that the new generation of WLAN technologies can signiªcantly alleviate the constraints that limit Internet connectivity in Latin America to the wealthy, urbanized areas. Yet for this potential to be realized governments must rethink current assumptions about spectrum management and universal service policies.
Wireless Networks; Rural Development; Wireless Local Area Network (WLAN); Sustainable Internet Diffusion; Developing World; Latin America; Universal Service Policies; Infrastructure Development Model