Bill Gates finances Romanian libraries to buy computersPublish date: 08-11-2007
Residents of 13 Romanian towns will be able to go online from the local library starting March next year, following a project financed by Bill Gates' foundation to buy computers worth 1.4 million U.S. dollars.
The project called Global Library aims to provide free Internet access to Romanians. Around 80 percent of the population does not have Internet access or owns a computer.
The project will run first in five counties (Ilfov, Hunedoara, Iasi, Salaj and Tulcea). The project targeted libraries as they are public institutions, offer free access and their role is to provide information. The 13 libraries to take part in the pilot project will be selected by December 1.
The American foundation is willing to finance the project in the coming years too and to expand it countrywide if it proves a success. The Internet connection however will be paid by local authorities.
Romania has more than 2,900 public libraries which owned 1,160 computers in 2006. Only 730 had Internet connection. Most computers were found in urban areas and only 33 in rural areas. Only 17 percent of the population has a library pass.
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