WiMax Brings Digital Age To Isolated City On The Amazon

To get to Parintins, you need to take a 27-hour upstream boat ride. But the city's 114,000 residents now have access to the Internet's medical, educational, and commercial resources over a network supplied by Intel and partners.
Parintins, an isolated city on the Amazon River in Brazil, officially joined the online digital age Wednesday as Intel dedicated a wireless, high-speed Internet network for the city.

Physical access to the area is chiefly available via a 27-hour upstream boat trip to Manaus, But now the 114,000 residents of Parintins are suddenly getting online access to medical, educational and commercial resources.

Intel chairman Craig Barrett attended the dedication ceremony. "Technology has expanded what is possible in Parintins," he said, according to a company statement. "It 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."

The network is deployed with WiMAX and Wi-Fi gear supplied by Intel and its partners in the project, Cisco, CPqD, Embratel, Proxim, and Brazil's Bradesco Foundation. Universities supporting the effort include the Amazonas State University, Amazonas Federal University, and Sao Paulo University.

At the ceremony, Parintins Mayor Frank Bi Garcia noted that the city's isolation made it impossible to bring in broadband by cable lines. The access is via satellites and antennas. The network will facilitate a telemedicine program for Parintins' 32 doctors, helping the city prevent the spread of leprosy and AIDS.

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