Bishkek, day 1 SL

Bishkek, the city of a variety of races, low buildings with rectangular avenues, a surprising amount of trees and very kind people, has awaited me with freezing -22 degrees Celsius. The travel from Ljubljana via Istanbul to Bishkek has been surprisingly fast, as I was occupied by preparing presentations for Kyrgyz IT forum, further improved by mouthwatering Turkish airplane food, the mood tampered a bit later by more then an hour long wait for visa and the search for luggage by employing some gestured Russian.

Kyrgyzstan is...

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... not so well known country on the crossroad of an important trade routes between China, Kazakhstan and Russia with the population of about 5 million, consisting of more then 8 main ethnic groups out of about 80 in total. I see it as a mixture of Chinese, Turkish, Russian culture, with a good impact on its food.

I have spent the day in good company of the Civil initiative on Internet Policy team and of my host Aleksei Bebinov, presented them the philosophy and technical solutions employed in wlan slovenija, learned a lot about the life in Kyrgyzstan, enjoyed a lunch with Uyghur dishes, continued the work on presentations for the next two days, flashed a router and dined in a Korean restaurant with a variety of meat dishes.

The Internet infrastructure in the country is mainly limited to bigger cities, employing mainly LAN and ADSL for the last-mile, with an infrastructure monopoly of Kyrgyz telecom. The use of Internet is not as widespread as one would expect, mainly due to infrastructure and cost limitations, the lack of local internet services and a limited knowledge of English language amongst the population, thus Russian web services are preferred. Nevertheless, computers are becoming popular and are finding place in a larger amount of homes, however they are not using the web extensively.

In the next few days I will be presenting wlan slovenija, our best practices, inspiring people about wireless networks and motivate them to build their own wireless networks and push for the liberalization of the WiFi spectrum, as WiFi devices can be currently used only indoors, but without any output power restrictions, which may potentially be a health hazard.

I will present wlan slovenija and its concepts tomorrow on a press conference, most likely also to students of a Turkish university in Bishkek, hopefully meet some ham radio operators and try to take a few more photos.