Unlike US, PC penetration is not that high even in many developed countries, such as France, thereby limiting growth opportunities for broadband service providers. Neuf Cegetel, a French ISP, thinks low cost Linux PCs are the answer. The company has come up with Easy Gate, a device that looks like a yogurt maker, but is a stripped down PC that runs Linux.
The ISP which plans to go public is targeting “technophobes” with this device, that will be bundled free with a 40 Euros a month broadband connection and unlimited calls to landlines in France. Users can buy a screen, keyboard and webcam for about €99. This will help the company grow its user base, especially since it faces a lot of competition from Free and France Telecom.
Actually, it is not such a bad idea and sounds more reasonable than the much hyped $100-laptop. Many hardware makers are currently working on developing low cost Linux PCs, and the prices can fall further. Previously I had written about Novatium, an Indian start-up which has similar ambitions.