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Common mistakes, technology options and costs

As described in the Techknowlogia article, "Getting a School On-line in a Developing Country: Common Mistakes, Technology Options and Costs" (PDF, 81KB), there are four main mistakes that schools make when considering internet connectivity:

1. "We have $x to spend on connectivity -- what will this get us?"

The mistake here is focusing on how much money is available rather than what the school and students need. It is necessary for schools to think first about what they want to achieve and then after the goal is established think about how much money is required to achieve that goal.

2. Connectivity is seen as an end in itself

Rather than the end-goal being "internet connection", it is important that decision-makers think about what the internet will be used FOR and HOW connectivity can benefit the school.

3. Focusing only on the technology

The initial focus of planning for a school's connectivity should be on what you want to accomplish, not the type of computer or other technology that will be used to do so.

4. Short-sighted initial focus on establishing connectivity which downplays operating costs

Schools need to think about the Total Cost of Ownership (TCO) of computer-related initiatives. The costs of connectivity include:

  • Increased electricity consumption
  • Telephone/DSL/satellite installation and recurring charges
  • Internet access fees (assessed in a variety of ways: by minute, by hour, by data transfer, by time of day; unlimited usage may be available)
  • web/e-mail hosting (server/disk space, data transfer)
  • hardware/software maintenance and upgrades (eg. anti-virus/operating system software)
  • printing paper
  • printing toner
  • proprietary hardware/software
  • staff training
  • maintenance costs
  • technical support/human resources costs