Access to the internet in developing countries, the Vodafone way
Michael Gorman at Engadget (http://www.engadget.com/editor/michael-gorman) reports that Vodafone has launched “[…] the Webbox, [that] will bring the internet to anyone with a TV and access to 2.5G or EDGE networks. The Webbox is essentially a QWERTY keyboard — with the data hardware from a phone stuffed inside — that connects to a TV through basic RCA cables and allows for a relatively speedy internet experience by compressing data by around 90 percent. It’s dead simple to set up, as you simply plug in the RCA’s and switch on the device — an Opera Mini browser pops up on screen and allows users to start surfing the world wide web immediately. An app store, some games, and a text editor are baked into the portal, and the ability to send email and SMS messages is included is well. Vodafone is selling the device — which comes with a 2GB SD card and 100MB of data — in South Africa for 749 Rand ($102), with other markets and a two year contract plan to be added later this year. Check out the Webbox, and all its elegant simplicity, in the video after the break. […]” (full article at http://www.engadget.com/2011/02/16/vodafone-announces-webbox-gives-internet-access-to-the-developi/).
I think that even if under lucrative perspective (because Vodafone is looking for profit not charity) could be a way for developing to have access to the web and hence start or accelerate a path towards knowledge and diffused culture.
What makes me think is that this countries, maybe don’t have access to primary life savings things (hospitals, medicines, food, water,… ) or economy boosters (roads, trains,…) but have full coverage for mobile phones.
It’s quite sad to think that before surviving someone thinks of a cell phone, even if it is cheap…
This post as a comment also at http://www.engadget.com/2011/02/16/vodafone-announces-webbox-gives-internet-access-to-the-developi/