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Session 2: Paper 1

acrobat_pdf_icon.gifTinyPC: Enabling Low-Cost Internet Access in Developing Regions

Authors: Muneeb Ali and Koen Langendoen (TU Delft, Netherlands)

Abstract: Benefits of the Internet and communication technologies are limited to the world's "First-world" population. Cost factors, low literacy, and limited access to power and bandwidth in developing regions prohibit Internet access for potential developing-world users. Apart from limited communication infrastructure (telephone lines, ISPs, 802.11 long-distance links, etc.) a fundamental road-block in providing Internet access to developing-world users is the lack of affordable end-user computing devices. Most previous attempts to develop inexpensive computing devices were commercial failures as they were unable to keep the retail costs low. In this paper we present the design of TinyPC - a low-cost computing device specifically aimed at providing basic Internet access (web browsing, email) to developing-world users. TinyPC is inspired by recent advances in embedded networked systems (like sensor networks) and we show that, even today, with TinyPC it is possible to connect a developing-world user to the Internet in price ranges well below $100.

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