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Brazilian Favela Gets Wired

Brazil Rio de Janeiro News
by Julie Schwietert Feb 21, 2009

Earlier this week, Matador Change published an article by Dominic DeGrazier about a company offering travelers “insider tours” of the favelas–or slums–of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.

Soon, travelers who book a trip with Favela Tour may notice some unexpected technological developments: high-speed internet access has arrived in the slums of Rio.

In Friday’s issue of the O Estado de Sao Paulo newspaper, journalist Alexandre Rodriguez reported that Rio’s Dona Marta Favela will be the first Rio slum to receive free high speed internet access.

Already, 16 antennas have been installed throughout Dona Marta, an investment in technological infrastructure expected to provide 10,000 residents with internet access.

The provision of wireless internet in the favelas is part of a larger project called Orla Digital, which launched similar services in Copacabana’s marginalized neighborhoods last July.

That launch allowed the project to work out some logistical difficulties–including intense demand placed on the system by eager users– and the spread of the project to Rio is viewed positively by many groups.

As Rodriguez noted:

“In spite of their poverty, the better part of homes in the favelas of Rio do have computers, and young people use them every day.”

Now, they won’t have to rely upon improvised connections to access the internet.

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