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Intel’s bold new global Net access plan

Intel is wading into the worldwide Internet access fray, announcing a plan for low-cost laptops and a teacher-training program. The laptops are targeted at costing less than US$400, and the training program has a projected budget of US$1 billion.

The plan as a whole is called World Ahead, and it was announced at the World Congress on Information Technology, in Austin, Texas. According to Intel, the training program aims to reach 10 million teachers, a third of which have already been trained. The goal is eventually to reach 1 billion students and enable them to have wireless broadband access and teachers to train them how to use it.

This is not necessarily a new idea. Both Advanced Micro Devices and Microsoft have announced similar plans, although Microsoft involves mobile devices other than laptops. Intel has also been pursuing similar endeavors in years past, with a presence in 1,300 cities in a total of 112 countries already.

Still, the presence of Intel, a giant in the computing world, in such a debate at making Web access available to those who can rarely afford it will be a welcome sight for those who want to see a whole wired world.

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