The situation, though, will likely change in the next few years, said M.K. Shankaralinge Gowda, secretary of the Department of Information Technology for the State of Karnataka, where Bangalore is located. Broadband networks are being built and hardware prices are coming down.
"People will buy it if it is affordable, and affordable means not more than $400," Gowda said. Others, such as Bill Gates, have proposed $100 PCs.
Intel, meanwhile, is trying to boost PC penetration by examining different business models, said Intel President Ketan Sampat. In the southern state of Kerala, a pilot program is putting PCs in the hands of Akshaya, the people who own the ubiquitous public pay phones. Unlike in most other countries, public pay phones aren't owned by the carriers, but individuals, who sell calls for profit.