The tiny Pacific island nation of Niue—perhaps best known to Internet users for its
.nu top-level domain—has become the first nation in the world to give an OLPC XO laptop to every one of its primary and secondary students. Niue has about 400 students and a total population of about 1,500; it’s located in the south Pacific near New Zealand.
The OLPC rollout in Niue has been underway since July, and is part of a larger initiative to distribute 5,000 OLPC laptops in the Pacific region.
Niue offers free Internet access to all its residents; although the OLPC laptops are designed primarily for school children ages 6 to 12, high-school students also received laptops. OLPC representatives installed server hardware and software in the island’s two schools.
The OLPC project started out with the goal of producing a $100 laptop for distribution to the educational systems of developing nations in an effort to ensure a vast proportion of the world’s population isn’t left behind current communications and information technology. Although the project has faced several challenges—including expected competition from Intel, Asus, and others, difficulty achieving sufficient scale, personnel disputes, and failing to meet its $100 price point—OLPC rollouts are still underway in several parts of the world (Uruguay just sent out its 100,000th OLPC XO laptop), and the program is working to line up deployments in additional nations.
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