Mexico, Land of Internet Cafes

Blogging from Mexico is made easier by the large number of cybercafes here. Even a town of 50,000 might have a dozen or more places with decent connections. Population density is high, most people are literate, few have access at home, and the demographics favor the young. The main problem is that not all the keyboards have the appropriate slashes for html links. I thank Alex for filling in the gaps in my posts.

On the issue of Internet access, I was struck by this story from rural India:

For 12-year-old Anju Sharma, hope for a better life arrives in her poor farming village three days a week on a bicycle rickshaw that carries a computer with a high-speed, wireless Internet connection.

Designed like temple carriages that bear Hindu deities during festivals, the brightly painted pedal-cart rolls into her village in India’s most populous state, accompanied by a computer instructor who gives classes to young and old, students and teachers alike.

Can you think of a better way to bridge the digital divide?

With only 12 computers and four Internet connections per 1,000 people, India has one of the world’s lowest Internet usage rates and much of rural India remains oblivious to the sweep of technology. But the villages involved in Infothela all lie within a 50-mile wireless corridor created by the Institute of Technology and linked by high-rise Wi-Fi antennae and amplifiers along the highway.

Until recently, such technology was the privilege of a tiny section of Indians – engineers in the country’s software hubs who earn more money while in their twenties than Bithoor farmers do in a lifetime.

Here is the full story. Here is another version.

Here is a company that uses rickshaws to take cell phones to India´s poor.

Addendum: I am updating this post from a hook-up in a Mexican Wal-Mart, the quickest connection and best keyboard I have had to date.


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