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Free PC in France

Monday, October 09, 2006


Believe it or not, there are some people in major European countries that still lack internet access, or even computers. (Yes, we're still recovering from shock, too.) According to the French analyst firm Médiamétrie, half of the homes in France don't have a computer, and 60 percent don't have net access. In order to solve this problem, the French ISP firm Neuf Cegetel (they just bought AOL France) has launched its new internet access plan called Easy Neuf, in conjunction with its new cheap computer, the Easy Gate. This Linux box and internet service package can be yours for €40 ($50) per month, plus a €150 security deposit, and if you need a keyboard, mouse, monitor, and webcam, you'll have to fork over an additional one-time fee of €100 ($126). The Easy Gate packs an Intel 852GM chipset (no word on exactly what speed) and comes with six USB ports, 512MB of RAM and 512MB of flash memory, although we're not nearly enough to do anything but some light surfing and email (though we assume you can expand on that half gig with an external drive or two). Easy Neuf claims to serve up the internet at speeds of up to 8Mbps and includes unlimited VoIP calls to French landlines, so you can call your grandmother in Biarritz all you want. Beyond that, there's one more feature that we raise an eyebrow at -- Easy Gate's "proactive service monitoring" lets the company keep a remote eye on your PC and will fix it "without the customer having to call the help line."

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