GA Broadcast Using Teleconference LInes Initial Proposal
Post by planetary Thu, 10/20/2011 - 12:59
(moving this from a comment on an earlier post.)
TELECONFERENCING FOR GA MULTICAST
We think exposing the GA proceedings/process to the widest possible audience is a critical strategic objective: demonstrating the possibility of direct mass democracy is one of this movement's unique accomplishments.
We note with concern that most of the discussion about enabling this focuses on Web streaming, which we believe has some distinct disadvantages.
Therefore we have been investigating the use of _TELECONFERENCE SYSTEMS_ as alternatives for wide live access to GA proceedings, for three reasons:
1) ACCESS/ "99% REACH": quite simply: how many more of the underrepresented 99% have access to & can afford voice minutes on the public switched telephone network, vs. a reliable quality Internet audio stream?
2) COST: quality streaming requires more hardware, power, and hogs bandwidth compared to placing a conference call over the PSTN. While we haven't done full up costing analysis, we suspect the cost per minute of teleconference could be a fraction of reasonable quality streaming.
3) FEATURES: recording; attendee counts; participant feedback: these are all valuable features many teleconferences have, some of which solve bigger problems. such as recorded proceedings // archival audio.
We have just started this investigation and had intended to publish an advisory or recommendation to the GAs once we could establish a workable scenario. For now we simply wished to plant a seed, as we see many and varied efforts forming to utilize some version of streaming or VoIP.
We just want you all to consider what some of those technology choices do to overall resource utilization and to what extent they truly advance principles (openness, accessibility) and tactical goals (better real-time documentation.)
We could see this applied by issuing dial-in numbers particular to each GA. On one side, a facilitator is assigned mobile terminal on the ground, functioning as a "relay" point for the Peoples' Mic into the con call. On the other side, you open up as many 'listen only' ports as you can afford, and let people dial in via 1-800 number.
Then, anyone with voice minutes & a basic phone can dial in & hear direct democracy in action: no smartphones or good WiFi connections required.
On the ground, you wouldn't need more than to task two facilitators/participants with relaying the people's mic directly into the terminal (one live, one muted for redundancy.)
You could also distribute some of the monitoring and capture tasks this way: remote translators, transcribers, and other documenters can follow & update in real-time: increasing accessibility & transparency overall.
- Resource utilization: the terminal & service plan used for this can double as an emergency phone // hotspot where capable outside GA time. We have been field testing some devices and prepaid operator plans for this purpose.
- Quality: mobile devices over the operator network directly have better noise cancellation & signal path optimization than raw VoIP - fundamentally more efficient & reliable.
Short-term, a commercial (optimally independent) teleconferencing service provider should suffice. Free options exist, if you are willing to forgo advance booking & low limits on participants.
In the medium-to-long term, free open source options do exist (Asterisk implementations of various kinds): but for a "People's PBX" to have the benefit of the PSTN, it will have to get a physical interface or hire a gateway provider at some point.
We are reviewing sourcing and implementation options for a small trial and will propose a plan to some of the GAs. We might be willing to arrange and fund some such trials, depending on outcome of research. Feedback on field constraints and prior experiences would be extremely helpful.
We thank you for your time and welcome your feedback.