By Wand Agency
$1 billion investment in technology helps to bridge the "Digital Divide" between industrialized countries and the developing world
Story: The World Economic Forum, Davos, 24-28 January 2006
January 24-28th, Government, academic and business leaders at the World Economic Forum in Davos will discuss how to bridge the mammoth "Digital Divide" between western society and developing countries of the third world. The digital revolution has established broadband Internet in well over 60% of industrialized countries, but below 1% in the rest of the developing world.
One of the new and much discussed initiatives is installing Wi-MAX in remote regions of the world. WiMax is a long range wireless technology that provides high-speed Internet links without the necessity for telephone lines and cables. The goal is to make the Internet a truly global information tool,not one reserved for developed countries.
In Egypt, Brazil, South Africa, India and China, the digital transformations are underway. Intel has already installed these high-speed Internet links and computers into classrooms and medical clinics in several small communities. A few are in some of the most remote inhabited places on Earth. Intel is donating one billion dollars over the next five years to transform underdeveloped communities to help improve the health, education, and business skills of its residents.
Two prime examples are in Egypt and in the middle of the Amazon River. Working with Egypt's government, business and education leaders, Intel installed a state-of-the-art WiMAX network to connect two public schools, a health care center on wheels, a municipal building and an e-government services kiosk in the small rural town of Oseem. Intel also donated and installed computers in the mobile health center and PC labs at the two schools where students and teachers can regularly connect to the outside world for the first time.
The Internet is a great technological advancement because it helps us learn and advance," said Khaled Mohamed Ragab, a 14-year-old student at Oseem's BORTOS School. "We can also talk to the rest of the world and meet new friends on the Internet."
Healthcare workers can now remotely diagnose patients too, access training programs and receive advice from specialists hundreds of miles over video links using an advancement called Telemedicine., And, children in schools now have access to the vast knowledge resources on the web.
The World Economic Forum in Davos is focusing on emerging economies as they start to integrate more rapidly into the global network and Intel's $1 billion investment in under-developed communities reflects this trend.
"The next billion Internet users will be from rural areas like Oseem," said Intel Chairman Craig Barrett, who toured the village to explore how similar programs could be replicated in other regions. This issue has led Barrett, who also chairs the United Nation's Global Alliance for ICT and Development, to 10 developing countries from the Amazon to Africa in the past 100 days.
"Technology has expanded what is possible for the people of Oseem," said Mr Barrett. "Intel is committed to support Egypt's leaders in accelerating access to technology so its people can get better health care, education and work skills."
Intel's investment over the next five years is part of its World Ahead Program that aims to infuse under-developed communities with technology to help improve their education, healthcare work and business skills.
Produced for Intel Wimax