Tag Archives: Mexico

Trial and error in a Mexican beach town

When general store owner Melchor Villanueva leans on his countertop he can see his whole world under his hands. The counter’s glass surface displays photos of his community: young soccer players, teens in their coming-of-age quince años finest, and bandanna-wearing fishermen. Many descend from survivors of Hurricane Janet, which in 1955 killed a third of the population of Xcalak, a beach town on the Mexico-Belize border, and destroyed the town’s coconut plantations. “It left only sand,” Villanueva recalls. Continue reading

DIY Telecoms

IN THE cloud forests of the Sierra de Juárez mountains in southern Mexico, a new kind of tree is springing up: the mobile telephone mast. Unlike most phone masts in the world these are installed, owned and operated by small, mostly indigenous communities. Providing a mobile service in these villages was not profitable enough for big telecoms companies to bother with, unless the locals stumped up $50,000. But improvements in software and the falling price of hardware has made it possible to build a local mobile-phone base station for around $7,500, which non-profit operators and small communities can muster. Continue reading

Remote Mexican Villages Build Their Own Cell Networks

The sound of a mobile phone is routine in much of the world. But it’s a recent arrival here in Talea de Castro, a mountain town in the southern state of Oaxaca, Mexico.

This radio report first aired on NPR’s Here and Now in partnership with IEEE Spectrum: [html] [mp3]. See also a related news story for The Economist’s Tech Quarterly: [html].

Continue reading

3D printing takes off in Oaxaca

A busy street climbs a hill on the edge of Oaxaca de Juárez, the capital of the state of Oaxaca in southern Mexico. Up one flight of stairs in a fresh-painted white residential  building you’ll find the FabLab community fabrication center and Oaxaca’s first locally-produced 3D printer and plastic extruder.

This radio report first aired on Deutsche Welle in English: [html] [mp3]. The photos here are mine and first published here.

See also my magazine feature on this project for PBS NOVA Next: “Building a New Economy on Soda Bottles and a 3D Printer.”