Brazil: Tupis Are In the LAN House


Surf City Cidade de Deus: Brazilian tadinhos had been impatient with the stalled progress of digital inclusion (above), but sales of decent, cheap computers are projected to pull even with, or possibly surpass, sales of boob tubes this year.

Renato Cruz of the Estado de S. Paulo gists a study showing that “LAN houses” are the principal point of Internet access for Brazilians.

“LAN houses” are public Internet centers, both formal and informal, charging a nominal per-hour fee to get on the network. The formal ones will sometimes charge you an arm and a leg — software licenses and rent make for a lot of overhead, they explain — while the informal ones often charge popular prices.

As low as R$0.50 or R$1.00 an hour, we have seen, and not often more than R$2 an hour. Is Paraguayan Windows Vista in use at some of these facilities? Is the Pope Catholic?

It is very interesting to read up on solutions to this dilemma. Intellectual property enforcement is not as laissez-faire as it once was (even if Windows Vista was on offer by the camelôs of the Av. Paulista before it hit the shelves of authorized retailers.)

Guia do Hardware, for example, is a steadfast promoter of Linux for the LAN House, and works hard on the standard knock on the Penguin: It is not a mature gaming platform, and the mocidade wants to climb into a tank and blow shit up.

It would have been interesting to try to estimate the proportion of formal and informal LAN houses. Recently, LAN houses have been raided here and there — spot reports only, mind you — which are allegedly fronting for caça-níquel illegal gambling joints.

When someone yells sujou” [“Cheese it, the cops!”], the network administrator hits a button and all the screens start displaying Orkut, Globo.com, Grand Theft Auto and Excel spreadsheets.

As lan houses se tornaram, no ano passado, o principal local de acesso à internet no Brasil. Uma pesquisa divulgada pelo Centro de Estudos sobre as Tecnologias da Informação e da Comunicação (Cetic.br) mostrou que 49% dos internautas acessam a rede mundial em centros públicos pagos. Quarenta por cento acessam em casa, 24% no trabalho e 24% na casa de outra pessoa. Na pesquisa, as pessoas podiam apontar mais de um local de acesso.

In the past year, LAN houses became the principal point of Internet access in Brazil. A study pubished by CETIC, the Center for the Study of Information and Communication Technologies, shows that 49% of Brazilian internauts access the  World Wide Web from paid public Internet centers. Some 40% access the Internet from home, 24% from work, and 24% from another person’s home. In the survey, respondents could specify more than one point of access.


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Club atmosphere in some LAN houses appeals to the juventude.

As lan houses são o principal ponto de acesso dos internautas de baixa renda, mas mesmo os jovens que possuem computador com banda larga em casa usam eventualmente esses centros pagos. “Todos participam da lan house”, disse Rogério Santanna dos Santos, Secretário de Logística e Tecnologia da Informação do Ministério do Planejamento.

LAN houses are the principal point of access for low-income Internauts, but even young people with a broadband connection at home use these paid access centers from time to time. “Everyone goes to the LAN house,” said Dos Santos, secretary of logistics and IT at the Brazilian federal planning ministry.

Setenta e oito por cento dos internautas com renda familiar de até um salário mínimo freqüentam lan houses. Entre aqueles com renda superior a cinco salários mínimos, o uso do centro público pago cai para 30%. “A participação da lan house cai quando perguntamos qual é principal local de uso”, afirmou Mariana Balboni, gerente do Cetic.br. O centro pertence ao NIC.br, entidade sem fins lucrativos responsável pelo registro dos endereços de internet com final .br.

Seventy-eight percent of Internauts with family income less than one minimum salary frequent LAN houses.

Yes, but how many persons who earn less than one minimum salary are Internauts? That is the key statistic, it seems to me.

Among those earning more than five minimum salaries, the use of public centers falls to 30%. “The use of LAN houses falls when we ask people about their principal point of access,” said Balboni, a manager at CETIC. CETIC is part of NIC.br, the nonprofit domain registrar for the .br  TLD.

We love our local LAN house.

Not the outrageously expensive, crappy one at FNAC, which no one on the premises knows how to keep running and where you fear to enter your password to anything.

We mean the funky but competently run and reasonably priced cottage-industry ones (usually, some junior member of the family is getting a computer science degree while mom, who is from the Age of the Manual Typewriter, runs the cash register, bakes the cookies and presses the expresso.)

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