Dr Takeshi Utsumi is the Founder and Vice President for Technology & Coordination of Global University System (GUS) and the Chairman of the GLObal Systems Analysis and Simulation Association in the U.S.A. (GLOSAS/USA). He is the 1994 Laureate of the Lord Perry Award for Excellence in Distance Education. His public services have included political work for deregulation of global telecommunications and the use of e-mail and voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) through ARPANET, Telenet and Internet; helping extend American university courses to developing countries; the conduct of innovative distance teaching trials with “Global Lecture Hall (GLH)” multipoint-to-multipoint multimedia interactive videoconferences using hybrid technologies; as well as lectures, consultation, and research in process control, management science, systems science and engineering at the University of Michigan, the University of Pennsylvania, M.I.T. and many other universities, governmental agencies, international conferences, and large firms in Japan and other countries.

Modern e-learning requires high-speed access to the World Wide Web. Multimedia requirements might include two-way audio, full-motion videoconferencing up to MPEG4 quality, television-quality netcasting, as well as high-resolution image transfer. The objective of increasing quality of audio/video delivery, high interactivity, and broadband throughput can be seen as a global objective of closing the digital divide to improve e-learning and e-healthcare services in rural/remote areas of developing countries.

As diagrammed in Figure 1, GUS programs and services will be delivered via regional satellite hubs, typically located at a major university, that connect via high-speed satellite (~ 45 Mbps) to educational resource cites in the E.U., U.S., and Japan. In a sense, the regional satellite hub is to be the major Internet Service Provider (ISP) for not-for-profit organizations in the region and the gateway to the outside world. The major university may also be connected to very high speed broadband Internet, as similar to the optical fiber network at 3 Gbps of the Multimedia Broadband Internet (MBI) of the Ethiopian government.

Regional hubs link to branch campuses or other regional educational institutions via micro-wave (~ 45 Mbps) over relatively short distances (25-50 miles). Communication from the hub and branch campuses to local sites, over distances up to 10 miles, is to be achieved by spread-spectrum wireless (~ 2-10 Mbps) Internet networks, which do not require licenses in most countries.

The buildings with a broadband Internet connection will then also become relay points for the low-cost “Wi-Fi (wireless fidelity)” networks at 10 Mbps that are now rapidly appearing in Japan, USA and Europe. This advanced wireless communication with laptop computer will make e-learning possible for anyone, anywhere, and anytime with capabilities of Internet telephony, fax, voice mail, e-mail, Web access, videoconferencing, etc. This is not only to help local community development, but also to assure close cooperation among higher, middle and lower levels of education.

GUS projects are now starting in Egypt, Ethiopia, Kenya, Malawi, Ghana, and Sierra Leone in Africa, Mongolia in Asia, etc., and inquiries from other countries are being reviewed. We encourage our colleagues in those countries to form consortiums of higher educational and healthcare institutions to aggregate their Internet usages through the trunk line from the hub university with drastic cost reduction for deployment. GUS works in the major regions of the globe in partnership with institutions of higher education and healthcare delivery. Learners at higher education institutions affiliated with GUS in each country will be able to take their courses from member institutions around the world and receive a GUS degree. Both learners and professors from partner institutions also form a global forum for the exchange of ideas and information and for conducting collaborative research and development with emerging global GRID computer networking technology.