October 24, 2005 By Wayne Hanson
Tecamac's 1,800 homes are linked wirelessly for commerce, security and community.
"With visionary and socially responsible entrepreneurs, like Real Paraiso, inexpensive houses are not condemned to be ugly, poor quality, environmentally unfriendly and technology divorced," said Labardini. In addition to connecting to the Internet, the housing development has its own Web site for local interaction with neighbors and allows online purchasing from local shops, internal communication among neighbors and its homeowners association, and an impressive security system you can access online.
"So you have the potential to order all the supplies you need and you can order your meat online, or a taxi," she said. "The businesses in the neighborhood are advertised on this Web site, offering special prices for the neighborhood. So this is the kind of grass roots, creative and consumer-oriented project we want to see in Mexico."
Web-accessible security cameras provide residents a view of the home, playground or commons.
Security cameras are located throughout the neighborhood's common areas. "From your job, for instance," said Labardini, "you just access that Web site, enter your password, and you can watch the neighborhood and your door entrance on the Web site. Or when you are at home, working or cooking, parents can watch their children play on the playground nearby."
A public elementary school has been built in Real del Sol and is also connected. The federal government through INEA provides digital educational contents both for youth and adults who had no formal education, and a multimedia program called the Encyclomedia, for fifth and sixth graders. "So this state of the art elementary school," said Labardini "was possible because of the vision and commitment of Mexican entrepreneurs who believe in doing well while doing good and the use of disruptive technology."
The project has caught the attention of many people from President Fox to Microsoft and Intel. The latter offered promotional support and low prices in partnership with Texa for both hardware and software. Infonavit, the federal government financial entity for low-income housing, has also endorsed the project as a role model that should be followed by other developers. It is a win-win investment.
Real Paraiso, the developer named it G-7 Habitat (Seventh generation homes).
Two weeks ago, Conectha, the ISP, was awarded by President Vicente Fox, the "Housing Best Practices" Annual Award, a recognition within the "Premio Nacional de Vivienda."
"That's an example of what creativity, goodwill and ethics can do. It is a beautiful place," said Labardini.
Monopolies and Regulatory Opposition
Not everyone, however, is as enamored of the Tecamac project as Labardini. Being very well acquainted with Mexican telecommunications regulation,