Intel treks WiMax to the Amazon

Intel is providing wireless, high-speed Internet networks in one of the most remote locations on Earth, the Amazon.

The project is part of Intel's World Ahead Program, a $US1 billion plan over five years to help people in developing countries access computers and the Internet.

The network will support health and education services for the 114,000 residents of Parintins, which is located on the Amazon River.

The island is only accessible by airplane or boat, so a wireless network is the only conceivable way to set up the Internet.

A WiMax network is being installed for a primary healthcare centre, two public schools, a community centre and the Amazon University. Intel donated telemedicine equipment for the health centre and computer labs at the public schools.

Intel chairman Craig Barrett said the goal is to extend wireless PC access to millions living in Latin America and provide training for more than half a million teachers about the effectiveness of technology in the classroom. In Parintins 24 teachers have undergone training.

The wireless network will be used at the Amazon University and Sao Paulo University to run a new telemedicine program which will include real-time video interaction between patients and specialists. The town's 32 doctors will have access to further medical knowhow or second opinions.

Similar initiatives are also planned for isolated communities in Africa, Asia and the Middle East.

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