Lan Houses and Internet access!

The last time I traveled to Boston, I decided to leave my laptop in Montreal as 1. I was only visiting the city for three days and 2. I expected there to be Internet access at every corner. This proved to be an unwise decision as Boston, unlike Brazil, does not have what we call “Lan Houses” or cyber cafes which provide Internet services on an hourly basis. Under the assumption that I would find access to the Internet at every corner the same way I do in Brazil, I traveled to Boston without worrying about carrying a computer with me. However, this proved to be an unwise decision. I walked several blocks only to discover that the way for me to have access to the Internet would be by going to a public library.
When I finally arrived, there was a long waiting list on which I had to sign up. As it was almost closing time, I was warned that I would probably not get online that day.

This raised some questions in my mind, questions that have already been present in my previous posts. Although Digital Natives live in a world characterized by ubiquitous computing, there is a whole other universe that is characterized by the absence of technological tools that will enable them to reach the world in a deeper way. Therefore, it seems imperative to think of mechanisms that will enable all Digital Natives to be digitally included, otherwise the gap between these two realities will only grow wider.

In Brazil, there are various initiativeswhich have been implemented to investigate how cities can create Internet access points on a low budget. A person can access the Internet in São Paulo through either Lan Houses, the state program Acessa São Paulo (which offers computer access for free), or even through McDonald’s restaurants which also offer access to computers for a low price.

When I was in Boston and in Montreal, I always had the impression that everyone was wired. Computers of any sort could be seen anywhere. My question is: Is it difficult to access computers and the Internet in your country? If so, how is this issue being solved?

– andre valle