Schwittay, Anke / 2008. 'A living lab': Corporate delivery of ICTs in rural India.
Science, Technology and Society, 13(2): 175-209.

Information and Communication technologies (ICTs) are increasingly seen as essential tools in development projects that can create new sources of income, make governments more transparent and accessible, improve education and health care, and overcome social exclusion and discrimination. To harness these potentials, multinational hi-tech corporations are forming public–private partnerships with governments, development institutions and civil society organisations in the delivery of ICTs to the rural masses. This article analyses the work of the Hewlett-Packard Corporation (HP), in India, where its three-year i-community programme aimed to bring access to ICTs and resulting benefits to rural citizens of Andhra Pradesh. I will show that ICTs are not neutral tools of development as conceptualised by practitioners of ICTD, but are commodities produced by corporations with the ultimate aim to increase the corporate bottom line. They are imbued with relations of power that skew ‘partnerships’ and must fulfil corporate objectives that weaken their potential impact.

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Sector: Education, Enterprise, Gender Access, Phone
Region: Central America South Asia