Green communications technology heading to developing countries

Solar-powered internet and recycled cell phones are coming to a developing country near you. Internet access is widely heralded as a tool with the potential to transform the lives of low-income people, but construction of a wired network to remote villages is often prohibitively expensive. Enter the Green Wi-Fi project, which has developed a solar-powered wireless router that can run for up to four weeks even in prolonged periods of gray skies. Another organization aiming to increase global communication is the cleverly named ReCellular; with about 53 percent of the U.S. phone-recycling market, the company keeps some 75,000 functional cell phones from landfills every week, many of which it refurbishes and sells in developing countries. The March of Dimes and other charities raise funds by collecting used phones and selling them to ReCellular. Says ReCellular VP Mike Newman, “The fact that you can combine a business — a profitable business — with a useful service and a charitable good is a win, win, win.” Game on.