Wednesday, April 09, 2008

“Smart mosques”: High speed Internet, in houses of worship!

Here’s something interesting. Reports in the international media say that Indonesian and Malaysian mosques are soon to get superfast “broadband” at discounted prices.

Kuala Lumpur-based Velchip has just announced plans to create a vast broadband-over-powerline network which will deliver 224Mbps (megabits per second) to users in Indonesia for about RM5 (or $1.57) per month.

That is such a low price, which is sending shock waves across information technology circles in Europe and the US who are comparing it to local prices, on the one hand, and are highly interested in the notion of Internet access in places of worship.

The story gets more interesting. The goal is to connect Mosques across the country, linking together 400,000 houses of worship, over existing wiring and delivering service to about 60 million users, then connecting to mosques in Indonesia.

It’s a $14 billion project which will be rolled out over the next three years, with participation from US satellite company STM Networks, who will use five satellites to provide communications services.

In fact, Velchip is is managing the world’s biggest broadband powerline project. The company’s chief executive officer Suhaimi Abdul Rahman, is calling it the “Smart Mosque” project.

He goes on to say that this broadband project will provide access that is “the fastest and cheapest in the world.”

The government is pleased with this pioneering project to “to enhance economic growth and Internet literacy in developing countries as well as improve bilateral ties between Malaysia and Indonesia.”

The technology is based on BPL modems, which utilize existing electrical power lines to deliver high speed Internet access and data transmission.

So, Broadband over Powerline (BPL) is set to be a big development, and of course there’s the ‘religious aspect’ angle to this story. Some may question how important it is to connect mosques to one another, or to provide such high speed access.

Really, the question should be why not!

Islamic countries and communities are joining the Internet age, and everyone deserves to be connected. Religious scholars; Muslims in schools and universities surrounding these mosques, or even inside them.

Already, the Crystal Mosque in Malaysia made headlines earlier this year, being unique not only because it is made of crystal-shine glass but also because it's the most ICT-savvy mosque in the country, and arguably the world. Officially opened in February 3rd, it’s got wireless broadband and is already equipped to stream sermons via the Internet.

So, as you can see, it’s already happening. So, why not spread this trend to Arab countries? I wouldn’t be surprised if Dubai picked up on this. Remember, you read it here first.


At 10:05 PM , Blogger Syed Umar said...

Aslkm brother I'm glad that Allah has redirected me to you and mashaAllah you are working on a project that I've been hopelessly thinking to implement this same all alone which seemed impossible.


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