Intel Demos Prototype in India of US$114 Atom Device

Intel Thursday showed a prototype of a range of low-cost "nettops' that are to be introduced in the country over the next several months. The devices, will be offered in the country by domestic and multinational PC vendors and local system integrators.

The devices, which run on Intel's new Atom processor, will be priced low, from Indian rupees 5,000, but they will not have a display, a spokeswoman for the company said on Thursday. The plan is that users will be able to use their television sets or other displays in the home with the device, she added.

The demonstration of the new devices in Delhi was part of the launch of a joint industry and government initiative, called "Connected Indians", which aims to increase Internet connectivity in India, so that it reaches a billion Indians.

Intel gave the initiative a "kickstart", by bringing industry, government, and other organizations together on this, but Intel does not run the program, the spokeswoman said.

The Indian government aims to have 500 million Indians connected to the Internet, with more than 100 million broadband connections, and 100 million broadband enabled devices in the field by 2012. The country has a population of over 1.13 billion people.

Internet penetration in India is currently very low. India had 4.6 million broadband subscribers at the end of July, according to the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India.

The decision by the Indian government to auction spectrum in the 2.5 GHz and 2.3 GHz bands for broadband wireless access services (BWA) is expected by analysts to give a boost to wireless broadband in India.

India will have 20 percent of WiMAX subscribers worldwide by 2012, the WiMAX Forum said earlier this month. By then 27.5 million Indians will be WiMAX users, the nonprofit, industry-led forum added. The forum draws a distinction between subscribers and users, as there could be more than one user for a WiMAX subscription.

Intel and state-owned telecommunications service provider Bharat Sanchar Nigam Ltd. (BSNL) also announced Thursday that they would be working together in a number of areas relating to WiMAX deployment in India. Intel, for example, will assist BSNL in a pilot WiMAX solution that is spectrum efficient and economical for rural markets. BSNL will support Intel in developing blueprints of WiMAX deployments which will serve as models for other service providers in India and abroad, the companies said.

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