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John E. Davies is vice president of the Sales and Marketing Group and general manager of the Intel World Ahead Program at Intel Corporation. The program enables access to modern[…]

John Davies of the Intel World Ahead Program on increasing access to technology.

John Davies: Well, Intel wants to bring technology to everyone on the planet.  And you need to do that in an affordable way, in a secure way and you need it to be in a way that enriches and improve their lives, otherwise they won't pay for technology.  And do it in a way that can reach lower income people as well, even if they share technology.  In my specific area I focus on digital divide, lower income and spent a lot of time in the education world, primarily through government leaders, ministers of telecom, ministers of education, ministers of finance to help them implement these programs in their countries. 

What we do is we work with the telecoms, we work with the regulators, the regulator authorities and we've worked on business models there where broadband has become more and more wireless these days.  Rather then wired it's 3G, it's 4G, that's what reaches the people.  And in that we've worked with telecoms on lower-cost computers, tablets, so they'll take their business models and adjusted them so you can have lower tiers of pricing in the prepaid model, just like what has happened on the voice phone.  That way you reach far, far more people.

Now, if you're reaching far, far more people, people can take their computers home from schools, they can use them in the schools, the university students can afford laptops and capabilities in there, so it's really about affordability and reach.  And at Intel we just build the coms communications capabilities into every platform. 

Well, obviously over time the price of computers has been coming down.  You can get a fantastic computer capability today for maybe $300 or $400.  You can get entry-level computers for maybe $200, but then there's $100 tablets around and there's lower cost then that smart phones and there's a spectrum of capabilities.  Obviously the higher priced ones do a bit more, but you can do some great basic computing capabilities on an entry-level computer, a tablet, and a lower cost smart phone.  Now with that we found over the years that the cost of the broadband can actually be much higher than the cost of the device.  As we've worked with the telecom people on that pre-paid model to drive that down.  For example, in Africa three years ago the average price of broadband was $30 a month.  Well maybe two percent of Africans could afford that.  Today you can buy it in one-dollar increments when you have money.  So if you're not banks or you want fractions of a dollar increment and you're a university student who uses the LAN in the day and wants their 3G dongle just for a small amount of work in the evening you can do that. And pay one or two dollars a month and get everything you need there.  So that makes it much, much more affordable rather than two or three percent affording it maybe 30 or 40 percent can afford it and that brings the technology to much, much more people. 

Well, reach for Intel – Intel is not in every country in the world.  We have 100,000 employees so we're a large company, but what we do is we work with partners, local partners to integrate and implement.  Around the world we may have 200,000 or more channel partners that exist in every country on the planet, and those are the people that can take that technology to the end customer.  So if you look at Nigeria there'll be many small Nigerian companies that will take the platforms there.  You look in Kenya, you look in the Middle East, each of them will have their own local companies that tend to have grown into local solution providers, local channel, local distribution, along with the local telecom, and the reach is by partnering with them because it's their direct customers and it's our indirect customers because we're the Intel Inside ingredient here.

Private/public partnership is absolutely critical in this because if you look at say trying to reach the schools, every teacher with a laptop to drive their education programs or if you look to try to and reach businesses that may be, you know, someone's home farm or someone's small business and there's a few people in this, you've absolutely got to reach those both with solutions and affordability that make sense to them and gives them value for the spend they have because it can be a big piece of their disposable income.  So it's critical that we work on that.  Now where the government comes in is the government will look, hey I want to modernize education.  Well, they're going to set policies on electronic books.  They'll set policies on they want computers in schools.  But the private Industry will do more of the implementation.  How do you make that work?  How do you make a network?  How do you train the teachers?  We've trained 12 million teachers worldwide with Intel Teach as you work with a content companies.  And so the private industry is more the how-to and the government is more a here's the goals I'm setting and what I'm trying to do for my people and my country.