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How a rural Mexican village built its own telephone network

When no one else in the rural Mexican community of Talea de Castro was going to set up a telephone network, they decided to do it on their own. Connected tells their story and makes for fascinating reading

technology


October 14, 2020

By Simon Ings

Talea de Castro's DIY cellular network had global reach – when it worked

Carlos Salinas / Afp via Getty Images

In 2013, the world's news media fell in love with Talea de Castro, a Mexican village (approx. 2,400 inhabitants) in a remote corner of northern Oaxaca. América Móvil, the telecommunications giant that supposedly served their region, had refused to offer them cellphone service, and the Taleans built their own.

Imagine it: a competitive, mostly indigenous community defeated and embarrassed by Carlos Slim, América Móvil's owner and then the richest person in the world at the time. The whole story…