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Alcatel-Lucent joins with Cafés Malongo, the University of Nice and ComCEL to offer broadband Internet access to the isolated rural areas of Cap Rouge in Haiti


Alcatel-Lucent (Euronext Paris and NYSE: ALU) today announces that it has signed a two-year cooperation agreement with Cafés Malongo, the University of Nice Sophia Antipolis and Haiti’s mobile telephone operator ComCEL to offer broadband Internet access to the isolated rural areas of Cap Rouge in Haiti.

This pilot project called “Traçabilité du Café” (Coffee Traceability) will give Haiti’s coffee cooperatives Internet access from their plantations by applying WiMAX and RFID (Radio Frequency Identification) technologies. By having such access to the latest information technologies, they will be able to monitor the traceability of their fair trade labeled production and sell their coffee on optimum terms by reducing the number of intermediaries. Training in information technology for the staff and members of Haiti’s cooperatives is also being planned. This project again demonstrates Alcatel-Lucent’s commitment to narrowing the digital divide and combining economic development with social responsibility.

The project’s main goals are to:

help Haiti’s farming communities so that they can manage coffee production to meet demand and improve production techniques through appropriate remote learning in order to ensure that the cooperatives are more profitable,
help to develop expertise in two advanced technologies (universal WiMAX for broadband Internet and RFID labels for traceability) to support the development of agricultural telecenters in Haiti,
pioneer a range of innovative services in agricultural telecenters to serve education, health, e-government and ecotourism.
The four partners have mutually supportive roles to ensure that this unprecedented cooperative venture in Haiti succeeds:

Alcatel-Lucent has undertaken to supply the telecommunication equipment free of charge (a WiMAX station and the associated terminals), and will help to set up and run the project,
Cafés Malongo, operating in Haiti, is providing the financing and designing the software for the coffee traceability system, while maintaining its medium-term presence in the country in order to help finalize the Project’s applications,
the University of Nice, which has had a presence in Haiti since 1998 when it created the MBDS (Interactive Multimedia, Database and Systems Integration) masters qualification and has initiated the project, is committed to providing project management, developing the necessary software applications and finding local partners to ensure that Haiti’s agricultural cooperatives and an NGO get involved in the project,
ComCEL has undertaken to bear all the connection costs for two years for the three planned sites, from the time when the connection is first set up, and to operate the WiMAX station supplied by Alcatel-Lucent.
Thierry Albrand, director of Alcatel-Lucent’s “Digital Bridge” initiative says: “We are particularly happy, through our partnership with Cafés Malongo, the University of Nice and ComCEL, to play an active part in this project in Haiti. This action fits perfectly into Alcatel-Lucent’s commitment to narrow the digital divide in regions that receive little or no service, since it will provide broadband Internet access to the isolated rural areas of Cap Rouge in Haiti, thereby promoting the economic and social development of the communities involved”.


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