Intel has created a wireless, high-speed Internet network in a remote Amazon town for residents to access medical, educational and commercial information for the first time.

The project is part of the Intel World Ahead Programme, an initiative in which Intel plans to invest more than $1bn globally over the next five years to accelerate access to computers, the internet and technology for people in developing communities.

In a statement, Intel said it expects the digital transformation of Parintins, a town on an island in the Amazon River, to improve the healthcare and education of its 114,000 residents and advance the lives of future generations.

Working with the Brazilian government and business and education officials, Intel and its collaborators installed a WiMAX network for a primary healthcare centre, two public schools, a community centre and Amazon University. Intel also donated and installed telemedicine equipment at the health centre and computer labs at the two schools where students and teachers can regularly connect to the outside world for the first time.

‘We’ve been blessed with this project,’ said Parintins Mayor Frank Bi Garcia. ‘We’re really isolated and don’t have the conditions to receive the Internet with cables. So we’re receiving it wireless, from antennas, from satellites. Access to wireless internet is a great pleasure for us. This project will prepare this generation for the future.’

The programme will also include teacher training and a telemedicine course at Amazon University. Doctors say telemedicine will help in preventing the spread of diseases such as AIDS and leprosy.

The wireless infrastructure includes short-range Wi-Fi radio transmissions and WiMAX, which has an extended transmitting range of up to 30 miles. WiMAX is designed to be a less costly and more efficient way to build wireless computing and communications networks for broadband access.