Peak Download: Internet Access Arrives at Remote Tibetan Village

The World Wide Web may think global but it's continuing growth will come from acting local. Take Tangdi Village, a tiny settlement in Bayi Township, Nyingchi Prefecture, where residents struggle to make ends meet through traditional craftsmanship and subsistence farming.

Tangdi Village's location in the southeastern part of the Tibet Autonomous Region is extremely isolated, severely limiting opportunities for the villagers to acquire new skills and knowledge... until now, that is.

Tangdi Village's poverty and isolation may prove to be its salvation, however, thanks to an innovative pilot project sponsored and funded by China Telecom. The Chinese state-owned telecommunication company's Nyingchi branch invested 700,000 yuan ($111,090) into network installation, domestic broadband service, Tibetan-language web development and other follow-up tasks.

Once the infrastructure was competed, a further 100,000 yuan ($15,870 U.S. dollars) was put towards the purchase of 33 computers and peripheral devices. The third and most important step was to arrange skill training for local villagers by an on-site China Telecom work team.

The launching ceremony for the network services pilot project was attended by local villagers dressed in traditional costumes, along with representatives from the Nyingchi County Party Committee and the general manager of the Nyingchi branch of China Telecom.

A plaque commemorating the project was unveiled and several laptop computers were set up for villagers to use. The ceremony was highlighted by a speech from Tangdi Village representative Phurbu Tsering, who promised the villagers “would make good use of the computers to work hard for a better-off life.” Being that this is only a pilot project, it's likely other villages scattered across the vast “roof of the world” will benefit from China Telecom's largesse. Someday any Tibetan, anywhere in the region will be able to log in from a remote location for an online “yak”. (via China Tibet Online and Phil Borges)