brubru’s co-founders on Liberia’s IT Radio Show

10 May 2014  – Robert Koryon Bolay Jr., the host of Liberia’s Information Technology Radio Show (on Super/Crystal 95.5 FM) invites brubru’s co-founders be his on-air guests, and to explain to the show’s listeners how brubru could help empower the country’s rural communities, by  providing Liberia’s remote villages and towns with affordable mobile telecom coverage and internet access.

TRANSCRIPT OF RADIO SHOW

Robert Koryon Bolay Jr.: Hello Mr. Robert. Thank you for coming on our show today.

Robert Moroz: Thank you Mr. Bolay for inviting me on your radio show. I also have with me on the line the co-founder of brubru, Mr. Elliot Moroz. It is our pleasure to be with you today, and to introduce our nonprofit social enterprise, whose mission is to help rural communities in the developing countries around the world to deploy and operate their own (community-owned) GSM mobile telecom networks.

We would also like to encourage your radio program audience to learn more about brubru, by visiting the brubru website, (www.brubru.org). You can also follow brubru on Twitter and LinkedIn.

Robert Koryon Bolay Jr.: Please explain brubru’s mission in greater detail.

Robert Moroz: I’m sure that you and your radio program listeners are very much aware of the fact that the mobile operators (MTN, Airtel, Vodafone, Orange, etc.) are profit-maximizing businesses, and so they tend operate in the big cities, where they can charge high airtime tariffs to middle-income people that live in and around those cities. But when it comes to spending money on infrastructure to connect remote regions, the mobile operators are reluctant to do so, since it is not an economically viable proposition for them, due to the fact that poor people cannot afford to pay expensive airtime tariffs. Hence, poor people remain unconnected. But brubru wants to change all that. Since brubru is a nonprofit social enterprise, it does not seek profits, but instead its mission is to provide maximum benefit to rural communities in the form of capacity building, social empowerment, access to communication and information, and much more.

Robert Koryon Bolay Jr.: Please explain what exactly brubru provides, and how it is able to charge low airtime price.

Robert Moroz: brubru provides everything that is necessary (both technical and financial assistance) for villages to deploy and operate their own eco-friendly, carrier-grade, GSM mobile telecom networks, which offer coverage to all people in the village. Since it is a nonprofit network, its monthly operating expenses are low, and so for low monthly fee, subscribers can make and receive unlimited local calls and send and receive unlimited local SMS texts. The mobile networks of each village are wirelessly interconnected, and therefore most calls are local calls. But if subscribers wish to make out-of-network calls, they could easily do so, at a very affordable price, since brubru also provides a VoIP platform. Another benefit to the community is that all net surplus revenue stays in the community for social services, such as schools, and medical clinics. The money does not go to line mobile operators’ pockets.

Robert Koryon Bolay Jr.: What is required from Liberia for brubru to begin in Liberia?

Robert Moroz: The only thing that would be really required is for the Liberia Telecommunications Authority to permit rural communities to operate their own mobile telecom networks, by granting the villages to use a very small piece (just a few frequency channels) of the GSM spectrum.

Robert Koryon Bolay Jr.: This is very interesting. Unfortunately, we are out of time. Maybe you can come back on the show with Mr. Elliot to tell us what we can do to help bring brubru to Liberia very quickly

Robert Moroz: Thank you Mr. Bolay. You are a true Ambassador for Change. We will happily come back on your show. Meanwhile, I hope your program listeners could help spread the word about brubru’s mission to connect the unconnected at the lowest possible price.

Robert Koryon Bolay Jr.: Thank you. Bye for now.

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