IVI: Internet voor Iedereen

Internet voor iedereenIf your (Belgian) parents or grand-parents want to buy a cheap PC to get started on the Web, tell them to hold back for a couple more days. The Federal Government – through FEDICT – has set up a program to sponsor a complete package of PC + software + broadband + training for a sharp price. The title of the project: IVI or “Internet voor Iedereen” – the launch is planned for next week, April 18th.


Desktop minimum config
140 Sysmark 2004 SE (in practice higher than Sempron 2800+ or Celeron D335) or PowerPC G5
256 MB RAM, 80GB hard disk
CD-RW, DVD, 100Mbps Ethernet, 4 x USB2.0
15″ display, BE keyboard, IVI mousemat
2 years waranty
Laptop minimum config
115 Sysmark 2004 SE or PowerPC G4
256 MB RAM, 40GB hard disk
CD-RW, DVD, 100Mbps Ethernet, 4 x USB2.0/IEEE 1394
15″ display, BE keyboard, IVI mousemat
2 years waranty
Smartcard reader
Both models should include a chipcard reader that is eID ready.
Software installed
Operation system + browser
Some office suite (wordprocessor, spreadsheet, presentation, database)
Antivirus, anti-spam, anti-spyware, personal firewall
Broadband connection
min 512 Kbps downstream, 128 Kbps upstream, 400MB transfer/month
4 hours (using the office suite, browsing, emailing, …)

The price this should go for? 850 euro for the desktop config and 990 euro for the laptop, with all software/services for 1 year included. The government sponsors by paying back the VAT (21%).

The government’s call for proposal allowed for commercial operating systems (Windows/MacOS) as well as open-source (Linux/Ubuntu). Unfortunately none of the certified partners will offer a non-Windows solution. Microsoft obviously did a strong job selling it’s OS. Partners in the consortia are the obvious broadband duopoly Belgacom/Telenet, with only Mobistar as a challenger, and for the hardware Fujitsu-Siemens and Packard-Bell (no Dell?). There are also 2 smaller players: DIDI Trade (Aartselaar) and SHS Computer (Neuville-enCondroz).

We’re currently number #10 worldwide in broadband penetration: 18,3 subscribers per 100 inhabitants. This promotion should allow us to maybe jump over Sweden and Canada. Iceland, here we come!

1 thought on “IVI: Internet voor Iedereen”

  1. Hi Peter,

    We’ve seen the cost now (between 800 and 900€) and I think this is a smack in the face of people who need to get around with less than that/month just to pay their room and food for the kids… I am certain that a PC can be built, based on freeware, OpenOffice etc… for less. Some reporter stated that this program would only favor those who already have a PC and are now planning to get a “cheap” second one… I agree. This does nothing to close the famous gap.

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