Putting its money where its mouth is, Intel said it will spend some $1 billion during the next five years to help bridge the digital divide between developed and developing nations. Intel will use WiMAX technology, which it has already tested in several developing nations, for the purpose. It has just launched a WiMAX project in the remote Amazon town of Parintins, and this project is the first installation under the ambitious program, which the company announced in May.
The name of the program is the World Ahead Program, and it aims to promote the use of computers in public areas in developing countries. Intel paid for the installation of a WiMAX tower and five spots in the city of Parintins, the inhabitants of which will now enjoy fast Internet connections for the first time. Parintins is located about 1,600 miles north of Sao Paulo and claims more than 114,000 residents. It is so deep in the jungle that it has no roads to connect it to other cities. The only way to get to the city is by boat or airplane. A more localized challenge was the fact that the schools in town had no electricity.
In addition to setting up the WiMAX connection, Intel has also given sixty computers to schools and the one university. The company also gave cameras and other gear to doctors in the city so that they can use telemedicine to consult about difficult medical conditions with specialists in Sao Paulo.
Intel says it is now considering several locations in the Middle East and Africa for setting up WiMAX infrastructure as part of the program.
For more on Intel's plans to bridge the digital divide
-see Alan Clendenning's Newsfactor report