Hello. My name is Julio Bracero-Rodriguez. I was born, raised and trained in Puerto Rico (PR), but currently live in Dallas, Texas. I work as a pediatrician, my dream job. Do you know of anyone who is an “early adopter”, that seems to always figure things out when it comes to technology? That’s me. Out of my immediate professional circle, I do not know of any physician using private, secure, HIPAA + CJIS compliant email, or OMG - a text from the doctor - AthenaHealth. Heck, I even did a nanotechnology summer internship in college. Date of birth, September 1979… analog childhood, digital adulthood.
I’m here because I need technical guidance and some support (moral and technical). I literally want to drop goTenna’s around cities in PR to bring up the basic communication method most people use nowadays - text messaging. Communications in Puerto Rico are essentially down after Hurricane Maria, and electricity won’t be back for months. My family lives in the Southwest part of the island (yes, they’re doing well and have their own generator) but communication is non-existent. As part of a desperate effort, I donated 5 satellite phones, out of my own cash (rather, "magic plastic) to be provided to hospital directors, so they could communicate a bit more effectively. Don´t ask me if they got there quickly!! Hopefully, I can get more phones for what I consider key people.
However, “satellite phones for everyone” is not sustainable. I was pleased to discover goTenna, and even more interested as to what led to its creation. You can buy some prepaid cards in PR, and they are hit-and-miss, but people use their smartphones and they’re not gonna go back to a “regular phone”. Period.
In fact, a 2015 Pew Research Center report (U.S. Smartphone Use in 2015) shows that the most used app is text messaging.
My question to all enthusiasts and volunteers out there - how far can you daisy chain people using the goTenna devices? And how many users can a network realistically hold? I don’t intend on bringing internet up - that’s not my job. But going door to door, town to town, providing education - that’s right up my skill set. Once seeds are planted, it is just word-of-mouth. Ironically, there is sporadic internet access, so these nodes will be powered by data sometime throughout the day.
Ideas? Thoughts? I’m also commenting on Looking for Mesh users in Puerto Rico, but feel free to reply here, send a private message, or email at julio ALT doctorbracero DOT com