In one of the remote inhabited places on earth, the Amazon, Intel Corporation has created a wireless, high-speed Internet network for residents to access vast resources of medical, educational and commercial knowledge through computers. The project is part of the Intel World Ahead Program, an initiative in which Intel plans to invest more than $US 1 billion globally over the next 5 years to accelerate access to computers, the Internet and technology for people in developing communities.
The digital transformation of Parintins, a town on an island in the Amazon River, is expected to improve the healthcare and education of its 114,000 residents, and advance the lives of future generations.
According to Intel Chairman Craig Barrett, Parintins is now a place where wireless broadband links to the Internet bring the expertise of specialists, sophisticated medical imaging and the world’s libraries to a community reachable only by airplane or boat.
Working with the Brazilian government and business and education officials, Intel and its collaborators installed a state-of-the-art WiMAX network for a primary healthcare centre, two public schools, a community centre and Amazon University. Intel also donated and installed telemedicine equipment at the health centre and computer labs at the two schools, where students and teachers can regularly connect to the outside world for the first time.
Intel led the effort in the island city on the Amazon River with support from Cisco, CPqD, Embratel, Proxim and the Bradesco Foundation, as well as Amazonas State University, Amazonas Federal University and São Paulo University.
Intel aims to extend wireless PC access to millions of citizens in Latin America, and train more than a million teachers about the effective use of technology in the classroom. In Parintins, Intel has already trained 24 teachers through its education initiatives. The Intel Teach Program teaches teachers, how to use technology to improve the way students learn. The Intel Learn Program provides job-readiness skills to underprivileged students between the ages of 10 and 18.
As part of Parintins’ digital makeover, Amazon University is starting a telemedicine program, developed jointly with the medical school of Sao Paulo University. The new capabilities, including real-time, video interaction between specialists and patients hundreds of miles apart, give Parintins’ 32 doctors faster and greater access to the medical data or second opinions.
Doctors say telemedicine will also help in preventing the spread of such diseases as AIDS and leprosy.
The solution in the Amazon is to be followed by others planned by Intel for isolated communities in Africa, Asia and the Middle East, where electricity and telecommunications are unreliable or antiquated and transportation is difficult.
The wireless infrastructure includes short-range Wi-Fi radio transmissions and WiMAX, which has an extended transmitting range of up to 30 miles. WiMAX is designed to be a less costly and more efficient way to build wireless computing and communications networks for broadband access.