26 Oct 2006

Pacific likely to miss out on US$100 laptop computers, says expert

2:30 pm on 26 October 2006

A Solomon Islands computer networking advisor, David Leeming, says Pacific Islands countries may miss out on an offer providing low-cost computers using wireless networks.

A US-based organisation, One Laptop Per Child, has launched 100 US dollar laptops expected to boost long distance education, farming economy, online banking and medical care in developing countries.

While a number of third world leaders are ready to buy and distribute the laptops, small Pacific countries are likely to miss out.

Mr Leeming, who is with the Solomons' People's First Network, says the minimum order of the cheap but robust laptops is in the millions, and they can only be ordered through a government.

"In the Pacific obviously we are at a bit of a disadvantage because we're not quite making up that million in total population in many countries so I think it would require some sort of consortium between countries to get together on government level to access this."

David Leeming says the small populations of Pacific Islands would require cooperation through assosiations like the Pacific Islands Forum to acquire these laptops.