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community computing

Community computing is a resource-sharing model in which users are provided with free or low-cost computer and Internet access. Promoted as a way to help to bridge the digital divide , community computing enables disadvantaged people to have reliable computer access and learn computer skills. The newly-learned skills, in turn, afford people more opportunities to improve their lives in a range of areas, such as furthering their education and finding employment.

In India, and other developing countries, community technology centers ( CTC s) are often kiosks where villagers go and pay a small fee to use a computer. However, CTCs have become common in the developed nations as well. Community computing programs are active in the United States, in Canada, in Europe, and in New Zealand, among other world areas. Public-use computers in libraries are an example of community computing, although, as a rule access there is more limited than it is in a dedicated facility.

According to a recent report from the Annie E. Casey Foundation (an advocacy group for disadvantaged children and families), in the United States, 84% of all households with children in low-income inner city neighborhoods do not have computers. Some leading technology companies, such as Hewlett-Packard ( HP ), donate equipment and training resources to CTCs. As a component of its e-inclusion strategy, HP partners with non-profit organizations to establish and equip centers in needy communities. According to HP, such e-inclusion initiatives can benefit the enterprise as much as it does the community served by improving public relations and stimulating new markets.

This was last updated in January 2006

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