OpenBTS Partnership Enables Remote Wireless Access
Los Angeles, August 31, 2009 — As more than 50,000 people converge in the middle of the Black Rock Desert in northern Nevada this week at Burning Man, Voxbone will showcase how iNum enables wireless calling and texting to such isolated areas. Burning Man, which builds an experimental community that challenges its members to freedom of expression, is being held today through Sept. 7.
Voxbone, a leading provider of worldwide telephone numbers to communications service providers, call centers and multinational businesses, is providing a block of 10,000 international Numbers (iNums) with the country code +883. Unlike traditional phone numbers, iNums aren’t geographically restricted, which makes them usable anywhere on the planet.
Voxbone worked with the OpenBTS Project to automatically assign iNums to cell phone users at Burning Man, making them instantaneously reachable from networks such as Skype and Google Talk.
“We are showcasing how iNum can be used to connect remote or unconnected areas of the globe with the rest of the connected world, using cell phone infrastructures such as OpenBTS,” said Voxbone CEO Rod Ullens.
“In addition, we are demonstrating to people attending Burning Man that they can receive voice calls and text messages from services like Google Talk on their cell phones at the festival. Burning Man is a great event at which to highlight these types of services because the attendees are open to new ideas and new experiences, and we are enthused to be a part of that.”
The iNum service is provided free to users at Burning Man. At the same time, it will enable users to spread the word about how valuable iNum is when it comes to connecting the unconnected.
“In partnerships like this one for Burning Man, there is an opportunity to demonstrate a technology for quick and cost-effective connectivity to regions that urgently need it,” said OpenBTS Project co-founder David Burgess. “In this case, the connectivity is a convenience to Burning Man participants, but iNum also can play a critical role when war, natural disasters and other emergent situations require quick communication.”
Started in the mid-1980s, Burning Man is designed to generate a society that connects individuals to their creative powers, participation in community, civic life, and the world of nature. Gathering on an ancient lakebed, about 140 miles north of Reno, participants decide how and what they’ll contribute to the community.
The OpenBTS Project is an effort to construct an open-source Unix application that uses the Universal Software Radio Peripheral (USRP) to present a GSM air interface (“Um”) to a standard GSM handset and uses an Asterisk software PBX to connect calls. For information, visit http://openbts.sourceforge.net/