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Brazil Taps Free Software to Bring the Information Society to 270,000

Making it possible for low-income communities to have access to digital inclusion is the objective of the Brazil House program.

The idea is to build houses at least 300 square meters large that function as community centers. Each center will contain a telecommunications area, a reading room, an auditorium, a multimedia studio, and information and science laboratories.


In these centers, technological instruments such as Internet access will be used to impart basic notions to youngsters of computer operations, information available on the web, and shared use with others.


Ninety such centers are expected to be built this year with government funds, and another 50 financed by Petrobras. To get it all going, a bidding process was announced by the National Scientific and Technological Development Council (CNPq) on the order of US$ 4.59 million (10.8 million reais).


According to the National Information Technology Institute (ITI), the prospect is to spend US$ 8.5 million (20 million reais) on the program in 2005.


In addition to the construction of the community centers, the funds will also be used to hire monitors, who should be residents of the communities in which the Brazil Houses will be constructed.


The president of the ITI, Sérgio Amadeu da Silveira, estimates that each House will be able to reach three thousand residents. This could insert a total of 270 thousand people in the so-called “information society.”


One of the basic characteristics of the programs will be the use of free software and free Internet access. “These units, if we were to pay for the software, would cost more than R$ 5 million in software licenses,” Amadeu calculates.


Agência Brasil

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