MACEDONIA CASE STUDY
Macedonia, a landlocked, mountainous Balkan nation, might hold the record for the quickest deployment of broadband Internet connectivity to public primary and secondary schools.
The project to implement Internet connectivity in all 360 primary and 100 secondary schools had its roots in a 2002 donation of 5,000 computers by China. It was decided that providing Internet access would enhance the potential of the computers.133 At the time, only a few of Macedonia’s urban secondary schools had broadband access. Broadband was not available to rural schools, and dial-up Internet access was too expensive.
The Macedonia Connects project to provide broadband access to all schools was established in 2004 as a partnership between the Ministry of Education and Science (MoES), the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and a local ISP called on.net. The project was administered by the Academy for Educational Development (AED).
On.net was tasked with the job of connecting all schools between May and September 2005. The summer deployment was scheduled in order for the links to be operational at the start of the 2005-2006 school year. On 15 August 2005, the wireless backbone was completed, and on 14 Septembe 2005, a 310 Mbps international Internet connection was launched. All schools were connected before the end of September 2005.134
133AED, mk connects: Macedonia Links Education and Connectivity (2009).
134Hunsberger, Kelley, “A Country Connects.” PM NETWORK, June 2006.
135MOTOROLA, “Motorola’s MOTOwi4 Canopy™ Wireless Broadband Platform Scores Big Win in Becoming First National Network.” Press Release, 16 January 2006 http://mediacenter.motorola.com/content/detail.aspx?ReleaseID=8477&NewsAreaID=2 (accessed 13 September 2009).