Wednesday, August 18

Rural & Cheap Computing : Akshaya & PCtvt

A small backward district Malappuram in Kerela state has turned into India's first e-literate district, deploying the world's largest rural wireless broad-band network. Payment of electricity bills, getting birth certificates can be done by e-mails, by bypassing beurocratic babus and red tapes. The star attraction is 'Akshaya Kendra' highlighted as A Kerala State initiative for creating powerful social and economic e-networks with a motto of : Connecting Zero to infinity : A PDF brochure is available here. The Akshaya Kendra Kiosks are being modelled and marketed like the STD/ISD/PCO booth, a successful strategy which led to great public telephony penetration in India in 90s.
Akshaya Kendra : Logo
The panchayat in Malappuram has spearheaded a computer literacy programme, offering 15-hour PC and Internet training to one member from each of 600,000 odd families in the district. "Our mission is to make entire Kerala e-literate by 2005. We will extend Akshya Kendras to remaining 13 districts," says Aruna Sundararjan, secretary, IT mission.

Similarly Professor Raj Reddy professor of AI (Artificial Intelligence) at Carnegie Mellon University has designed a wirelessly networked personal computer PCtvt in collaboration with Microsoft (?) and Trigem.
“Entertainment, communication and education must be made affordable and accessible to the 4 billion people living below the poverty line”

Join this discussion on Slashdot. I think it would be lot cheaper, thin and effecient if it would have been made around the open source model. These kind of products & technologies should have have a 'community aspect' to it so that engineer & researchers around the world can open it , plug it , patch it and improve it.