Reliance Communications to deliver Internet Connectivity to OLPC in India

OLPC laptop and Relaince Communications logo The much-awaited One Laptop Per Child (OLPC) Project will get its Internet connectivity in India from the Reliance Anil Dhirubhai Ambani Group (R-ADAG)

R-ADAG has teamed up with Nicholas Negroponte for the same.

On Thursday, the highly anticipated XO laptop was introduced in India, giving users the chance to enjoy the internet service, network backbone and logistic by Reliance. Currently, the first pilot of the XO laptop is supposed to be in tribal village at Khairat (near Karjat, Maharashtra). By March 2008, OLPC Foundation with the Reliance network aims to cover over 25,000 towns and 60,000 villages.

Sumit Chowdhury, CIO, RCOM, stated, “We will facilitate this system by getting all the players together like Government agencies, NGOs, content developers, translators, teaching community and project managers to create successful ecosystems. We plan to approach state governments who have an education agenda and see if any public-private partnership can be worked out for the mass adoption of these laptops.”

Nicholas Negroponte, former director of the MIT Media Lab, (Massachusetts Institute of Technology) and Founder of OLPC Foundation said, “Children are the world’s most precious natural resource. India has more child population than any other country and will benefit greatly from a creative society of them. India needs to take a role of world leadership in the concept of one laptop per child, even if it is ahead of its time and seemingly daunting. OLPC is proudly partnering with Reliance to do just that.”

The OLPC programme is not syllabus-oriented, but is rather application-oriented and will be a water-proof and almost unbreakable device. They come with a Linux-based operating system that consumes very little power (around 2 watt); instead of a hard drive it uses a flash drive with a 1GB capacity. The XO laptops can be powered by alternate source of energy, they are sunlight readable, and also have in-built camera and multi-media capabilities.

However, in India the OLPC XO laptop is not available for $180 but for $220, which comes to around Rs. 8,800. The group hopes to have it priced at as low as $115 in a few years time.

As many as 5 million school children across the globe have already been provided with such laptops and its target is to cover 150 million school children by 2008. Big names such as AMD, Google, News Corp, Nortel, eBay, Citigroup, Seagate, Adobe etc. have partnered in setting up the OLPC Foundation, backed by United Nations.