VIA Opens First Solar Powered Information Community Centre in the South Pacific

VIA Solar Computing harnesses the power of the sun to provide people in rural and remote communities reliable, clean computing and Internet access

Taipei, Taiwan, 4 October 2006 – VIA Technologies, Inc, a leading innovator and developer of silicon chip technologies and PC platform solutions, today announced the first ever solar-powered cyber community centre in the South Pacific. Developed with the Samoan ICT Secretariat, the centre is a proof of concept implementation of VIA Solar Computing, a key element of the VIA Clean Computing Initiative to drive environment-conscious computing.

The South Pacific has been largely ignored by global ICT deployment initiatives, and is only now taking the steps needed to build the infrastructure to raise the region’s e-readiness. The remote Samoan village of Ulutogia, Aleipata District was selected for its multiple local user communities and, like most of the South Pacific, its abundance of sunshine, making solar the logical source of power.

Accessible to all, the VIA pc-1 Information Community Centre in Samoa will help address issues of e-Education, e-Health and e-Governance for local residents, and provide business opportunities for the recipient and surrounding communities, as well as offer Internet access to tourists. Following its successful launch, it is set to act as a working template for similar IT centers around the world to help bridge the digital divide, especially in rural and remote locations, and VIA is working with major international organizations and governments to facilitate further such deployments.

“We were delighted to collaborate with VIA on the Center, which provides a practical computing solution for remote areas of Samoa and beyond,” said Gisa Fuatai Purcell, Samoan ICT Secretariat Manager. “VIA has the capacity and committed staff to provide solar powered computers, a big step towards reducing poverty.” Samoan Prime Minister Tuilaepa Soliai Sailele Malielegaoi echoed the sentiment, saying that: “For our next ten infocenters, I want the VIA solar powered computers, monitors, etc. I want anything solar as we have so much sun here in Samoa.”

“The Samoa solar-powered center is the perfect example of what is possible when combining responsible technologies and energy supplies,” said Richard Brown, Vice President of Marketing, VIA Technologies, Inc. “As the clear leader in power efficient computing, VIA can help others work towards fostering sustainable approaches to growth and empowerment in remote and urban areas alike, and our VIA Solar Computing is another important step towards making this happen.”

The VIA pc-1 Information Community Centre in Samoa involved the installation of three VIA pc-1 Power Saving PCs and a VIA pc-1 server, plus an external fax/scanner/copier/printer, all powered by a complete dual 175-watt photovoltaic solar panel solution from leading solar supplier, Motech Industries.

Through this implementation, the center addressed the largest obstacles facing ICT access in the developing world: the design of appropriate technologies; reliable power supplies; Internet access; sustainability through proper training and business opportunities; and closing the gap that exists between the different sectors working towards solving the digital divide dilemma, specifically private, public, civil society, academic and international organization.

VIA Solar Computing: Energy for the Future

VIA Solar Computing is a cutting edge approach to efficient computing devices and clean energy technologies. Providing clean, quiet, cost-effective energy has made photovoltaic solar power among the most appropriate energy sources for the future, practical for both developed urban locations and remote environments in emerging markets lacking reliable electricity or with harsh climatic conditions. Solar power is a naturally complementary technology to VIA’s power efficient silicon and platform technologies, and enable cost effective solar computing set-ups that can be installed virtually anywhere in the world.

Solar power can also be cost effective in many developing nations, where traditional mains electricity is tremendously more expensive than in developed nations; for example, normal electricity supplies in Samoa are six times the price of those in New Zealand. Moreover, in remote locations with limited or non-existent and/or expensive electricity, many turn to generators with their lower purchase cost for power. However, photovoltaic solar power has many advantages over generators:

  • Solar power is a clean, non-polluting energy
  • Solar panels are silent in operation; ideal for classroom, kiosk, shops, or evening operations where a noisy generator would be disturbing
  • Solar power is virtually free energy once the capital cost has been covered
  • Solar panels do not require refueling; they are self-sufficient
  • Solar panels are highly reliable and virtually maintenance free, some requiring only annual changes of water in the deep-cycle batteries, and usually come with an average warranty of 20 years due to the absence of moving parts

Through VIA Solar Computing, VIA looks to remain a leader in this field by developing and promoting the necessary technologies, in tandem with Motech, which will see beneficial computing and communications technologies brought to the world, technologies that can operate on clean, quiet, cost-effective sources of power and are accessible by all.

About the VIA pc-1 Initiative

The VIA pc-1 Initiative is aimed at enabling the next one billion people to get connected. With a focus on communication, education and information, the VIA pc-1 Initiative seeks to empower millions of people to improve their quality of life through technology, especially in emerging markets. Comprising a range of flexible systems based on VIA’s acclaimed energy-efficient processor platforms, the VIA pc-1 Initiative is a realistic approach to bringing technology to millions more people within a sustainable business framework. Of the numerous initiatives VIA has launched to enhance the technology experience and the quality of life, the VIA pc-1 Initiative has a universal remit to make a difference to the lives of many more millions of people.

About VIA Technologies, Inc.

VIA Technologies, Inc. (TSE 2388) is the foremost fabless supplier of market-leading core logic chipsets, low power x86 processors, advanced connectivity, multimedia, networking and storage silicon, and complete platform solutions that are driving system innovation in the PC and embedded markets. Headquartered in Taipei, Taiwan, VIA’s global network links the high tech centers of the US, Europe and Asia, and its customer base includes the world’s top OEMs, motherboard vendors and system integrators.

VIA Technologies, Inc.