BOGOTÁ, Colombia, Dec. 4, 2007 – Speaking at an event to celebrate Intel Corporation’s 10th anniversary in Colombia, Intel Corporation Chairman Craig Barrett applauded the progress achieved in promoting technology adoption while offering insight into the digital inclusion efforts to come in the next decade.
“Intel has been working with Colombia’s government and community leaders for a decade to accelerate access to technology that will expand opportunities for Colombians,” said Barrett, who also chairs the United Nations Global Alliance for Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) and Development. “By increasing access to computers, connectivity and rich local content we can improve entrepreneurship, education, healthcare and government services for all citizens.”
Barrett announced new activities and ongoing plans related to the Intel World Ahead Program, which aims to provide people with the benefits of ICT. At the event, Barrett launched the Intel International Science and Engineering Fair (ISEF) in Colombia. The annual ISEF competition, an activity welcomed by Colombia’s Ministry of Education, encourages young people to excel in math and science.
“The Intel ISEF brings together the world’s brightest and most promising young scientists each year,” said Barrett, a former college professor who believes every child deserves the benefit of a better education. “I hope students in Colombia will accept our invitation to participate in ISEF 2009 so their achievements can be recognized.”
As an example of what could be achieved when industry works closely with government, Barrett also announced that more than 20,000 teachers have been trained through the Intel® Teach Program. Launched in Colombia in 2005, the program trains teachers to integrate technology in the curriculum for enhanced classroom learning.
Promoting Access, Connectivity, Content
To see the impact that PC access and connectivity can have in a developing country such as Colombia, Barrett visited one of 100 newly installed kiosks designed to provide shared Internet access to the public. The kiosks are set up at small retailers called “tiendas”, including drug stores and hairdressers, offering Bogotá’s lower-income population a place to browse the Web, send e-mail, search for jobs, compose a résumé and print documents at a nominal charge.
The project was developed by a local organization called Internet Masivo Para Todos (IMPAT), with support from Colombia’s Ministry of Communications and Intel. Using government funding, IMPAT will hire ex-combatants from Colombia’s 40-year-old armed conflict to maintain the kiosks once they are installed. The project is unique in that it aims to solve societal problems with technology and create jobs. IMPAT has rolled out 100 of these “cabinas” in Bogotá and plans to deploy 90,000 of the shared-access kiosks throughout Colombia during the next 3 years.
“At the rate of one ex-combatant hired to maintain every 25 kiosks, we hope the IMPAT project can eventually create jobs for thousands of people,” said Mauricio Freydell, IMPAT’s chairman of the board. “This is a positive step toward solving a problem that is a high priority for our government.”
In other efforts, Intel continues to support Avantel, a local telecom provider, in its efforts to provide WiMAX service in Colombia. Intel views WiMAX technology as a cost-effective and efficient way to deliver wireless broadband Internet access. Barrett praised Colombia for the progress made deploying WiMAX in the past year. More than 43,000 households now use it to get online, accounting for 4.5 percent of the country’s total broadband connections.
As part of Intel’s ongoing efforts to promote localized content, Barrett helped launch a digital healthcare solution developed by Groove Media Technologies (GMT). Intel is working closely with GMT to support the company’s efforts to implement digital health applications using mobile devices. Patients and health professionals will use GMT’s reference guides to research diseases, treatments and surgical procedures.
Intel’s offices in Colombia are the headquarters for the company’s operations in the Andean zone, Central America and the Caribbean.
Through its World Ahead Program, Intel strives to improve education, healthcare, entrepreneurship and government services in developing countries worldwide by accelerating access to computers, connectivity and localized Internet content. Additional information is available at www.intel.com/changingtheworld and www.intel.com/intel/worldahead.