Can the digital divide be changed into a digital opportunity in rural and remote areas of developing countries?
Can we or can we not?
Is there a possibility?
Is there a need?
Is there a demand?
Can Linux and localization be the answer to bridging the digital divide?
Will this be the new new thing?
Will investors be attracted to the villages?
Is there a opportunity?
2 steps forward 3 steps backward
So here is what I want to do ...
The idea started from deploying PC in rural India and imparting IT education and training. Corporate change their computers every 3 years and these machines are in good condition. These could be used in rural areas. That was the basic concept. However it has changed considerably now.
The new new thing is 'affordable computing' .. making a PC with a basic configuration and providing financial support to the customer in rural areas, to encourage purchase of PC. Well you build a PC, a basic stripped down version that does word processing and allows you to surf the web. We can't compete with the Nehru Place and Lamington Roads of the world .. when it comes to cutting cost on hardware (and software!) and besides that selling individuals PCs needs too much of bandwidth and as a start up that would be tough. Thus the idea of small 5-10 PC units in a network - thick server -thin client models and tie up with NGOs/ Panchayats/ local entrepreneur who can buy these for their village and further use these to generate income.
Also we could tie up with financial institutions and provide these people micro credit facilities to purchase these machines.
The idea is still fluid and I am just collating information and looking for like minded people. A lot of work is already being done in this area... NGOs, government agencies, corporate and some small Pvt limited companies. At a later stage we could also look at using any form of technology for rural India. Thats the vision :) There is a lot of work that needs to be done .. Technically on the machines, finding out from villagers if they need this .. micro credit .. income generation methods .. and the list is endless. ..
Please rip apart the idea.. and I'd love to argue and defend!