In the last years, many experiences have taken place in many rural areas of the world regarding deployments of relative low-cost wireless networks using either WiMAX, or WiLD (WiFi for Long Distances), or satellites, or other wireless broadband technologies, or even the combination of the aforementioned technologies. However, the fact that an infrastructure like this starts to be operational does not determine its success, even when the technical solution is appropriated and it has been correctly conceived and implemented. Apart from these functional problems, there must be considered others related to its maintenance – specially in those areas where the presence of qualified technical staff is practically inexistent- , to the difficulty to amortize the infrastructure and finance the maintenance – no matter how cheap the technology is- , and, in short, to the sustainability of the project. There are few projects that become reality, but there are even less that keep on running and fulfilling their objectives over the years.
This is related to their impact: these networks and applications are deployed with a goal that goes further from technology, and success will not be obtained if the impact is not as expected. All of this is specially applicable to the case of rural telemedicine networks deployed in remote areas. It is easy to understand the need of connecting isolated health care facilities with their reference centers and hospitals, as well as the potential benefit of having telemedicine applications over these networks. But there are very few experiences in this sense, and they are even less the ones considered successful for its sustainability and its impact.
This Workshop aims to gather experts from the academia, operators, institutions and beneficiaries of rural telecommunication networks deployed in remote areas, specially tailored for telemedicine, for discussing about known experiences, their sustainability and impact and successful and unsuccessful methods and strategies. In this context, the research community is invited to present communications about sustainability of rural telecommunication networks in remote areas, maintenance experiences and innovative exploitation models, with special interest (but not exclusive) on telemedicine.