|Wireless routers are part of the Commotion network in Sayada. Photo: New York Times|
The Open Technology Institute created Commotion, an open-source tool that would allow democracy activists in Cuba and other nations to build independent wireless networks. I wrote about it in March 2013 (See "Cuba likely target for mesh network").
Mesh networks, originally designed for military applications, allow activists to operate independent of central authorities' communication infrastructure.
The Times said the U.S. government sees its mesh network in Sayada, Tunisia, "as a test of the concept before it is deployed in more contested zones."
In September 2012, USAID gave the New America Foundation $4.3 million for a three-year Cuba project. OTI is part of the foundation.
USAID spokesman Matt Herrick told the Times:
We are reviewing the program, and it is not operational in Cuba at this time. No one has traveled to Cuba for this grant.