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February 17, 2005

Negroponte and the $100 laptop.

The Guardian has a good piece on Nicholas Negroponte (I typed John intially, but he’s the US guy in Baghdad...any relation?) and his scheme for a $100 laptop for the Third World. To me, the crux of the matter is here:

However, Vota does not believe hardware costs are the show-stopper. "It's the actual connection to the internet node or backbone that is expensive. In the developing world, you have entrenched monopolies that are loath to do much past rake in high margins on substandard bandwidth."

Negroponte says a great deal of the problem is regulatory and monopolistic, yet he is optimistic that these monopolies are slowly being broken down. He adds: "I would love to see the World Bank make telecom deregulation a condition of loans."

Looking at my own use of computers, I don’t actually care what the box is in the least. As long as I’ve got email and a browser that can access the net.....obviously therefore, I agree that it is the connection part that it important. There are those that disagree, of course, for example, the Make Poverty History crowd:

Second, aid should support poor countries
and communities’ own plans and
paths out of poverty. Aid should therefore
no longer be conditional on
recipients promising economic change like
privatising or deregulating
their services,

This is from their complete manifesto which doesn’t seem to format very well. Nice to see that such people are not allowing their entrenched political ideals to stand in the way of making a better world for the poor.

February 17, 2005 in Web/Tech | Permalink

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