Press: "Ceibal laptops now reach Flores and Colonia"

Originally published by Pablo Flores on Mon, Dec 24th, 2007
Translated by Paul D. Spradling

Ceibal laptops now reach Flores and Colonia
Distribution of computers will continue in February and March.

The first stage of the Ceibal Project has come to an end with the distribution of almost 7,000 laptops to about 100 schools in Florida. The distribution to the rest of the departments of the interior will begin in February, starting with Flores. LATU is already working on the electricity and connectivity requirements in this department, as well as in Colonia.

Daniel Benedetti, General Manager of Brightstar Uruguay S.A., the company that sells the computers, told El Pais that 7,500 laptops, of the initial batch of 55,000, have been received and assigned to the department of Florida. The remaining laptops will begin arriving on February 2nd and throughout March to continue this project whose aim is for every student to have a portable computer of their own.

Currently, more than 85% of children who assist a public school in Florida already have their laptop. LATU President Miguel Brechner explained to El Pais that the laptops where distributed to the schools with better connectivity. “It was a technical decision. The laptops must connect to the network at least once a month for security reasons, so we don’t want to distribute laptops if they won’t have access to the Internet. Brechner assured us that “everything will be covered for when classes begin in March”.

The person responsible for LATU said that work is being done to fulfill the distribution in Flores, and then in Colonia, while the remaining rural schools in Florida are incorporated. Brechner said “there’s always a peak per department that must be resolved later, and we don’t want to move on to another department until close to 85% of the children have been covered”.

The delays are due to difficulties in connectivity, which Antel is in charge of. The Commercial Sub-Manager, Osvaldo Novoa, explained that to the moment they only had difficulties with some rural schools that had no telephone service or electricity. He said that ANEP and UTE are fixing these problems.

Novoa told El Pais that they have advanced at a good pace, and that they’re even working ahead on the connectivity of rural schools in Flores, Colonia and Soriano to prepare them for the installation of the networks and WiFi nodes.

Nicholas Negroponte (father to the OLPC project) will visit some of the schools in March, when he will come to Uruguay to assist the Americas Innovation Forum and the OLPC board meeting.

Source: El Pais Digital

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