Intel Invests in Wireless-enabled Amazon… River That Is

September 20th, 2006 |
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SANTA CLARA, Calif., September 20, 2006 (PodTech News) — Intel has chosen to help develop the the IT infrastructure of the Amazon — not the online seller but a portion of the actual river. The initiative is a part of Intel’s World Ahead Program, which the company established in May and pledged more than $1 billion over the next 5 years, to bring Internet coverage to various regions around the world. This week Intel Chairman Craig Barrett will promote wireless broadband PC access in Parantins, a remote Brazilian city of about 100,000 on the Amazon River. He says the company’s aim is to introduce components of a comprehensive strategy that includes hardware and wireless capability. In addition, Barrett suggests the program can only be a success with local content. “People in the Amazon are not particularly interested in what goes on in Silicon Valley,” he told PodTech News. “They’re interested in things which relate to their lives — the local weather, crops, health issues.” The chairman of the world’s largest chip maker is confident that wireless broadband, specifically WiMAX, will soon show significant adoption in underdeveloped regions and as a “last mile” solution in the United States.

Reporter notes: I interviewed Craig in Intel’s own computer museum, which is to the left as you enter the company’s headquarters. It was tempting to conduct the interview as a stroll around the time capsules of computer chip history but the floor, comprised of metal grates, would have been too loud for the microphones. Intel’s efforts are part of a larger movement to close the digital divide. Nicholas Negroponte (who has been pushing the idea of the $100 laptop for use in developing nations) comes to mind. I also ran across this useful article by Douglas MacMillan of BusinessWeek about PC manufacturers competing for the school market.

— Jason Lopez

Related Stories: IntelWorldAhead

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