Portugal Case Study


The e-escola Programme

Portugal’s e-escola program was announced in June 2007. It calls for distributing 750,000 laptops (ASUS, ACER, Fujitsu, HP, Insys or Toshiba), along with broadband Internet access, to teachers and secondary students.
The laptops include Windows software and sell for EUR 150. Students from low-income households receive the laptop for free, but they have to pay for the broadband service subscription. The laptops are sold through telecommunication operators, which offer a EUR 5 discount off the monthly broadband price, with reduced monthly fees for low income students.93 The program started in September 2007, and 250,000 laptops had been delivered by June 2008.94 E-escola is subsidized from the fees mobile operators paid for UMTS (3G) licenses.
Table 5-2: The e-escola Mobile Broadband Offer
Income level
1st Scale
2nd Scale
3rd Scale
Monthly Internet price
Note: Income level refers to Portuguese system whereby households from 1st and 2nd scale are eligible for various government education subsidies. The broadband offer requires a 36-month commitment. The plan is capped at 1GB data transfer per month and offers speeds up to 2 Mbps. For the 3rd income level, the laptop is not bundled into a monthly price, requiring users to purchase it upfront.
Source: TMN.


Building on the e-escola experience, the Portuguese government launched the project. In July 2008 it formed a partnership with Intel to produce a Portuguese version of the Intel Classmate (the “Magalhães”). The e-escolinha project calls for distributing this computer to 500,000 primary school students. The program charges parents a fee for the computer, based on their economic situation. Those from low-income households do not have to pay, whereas those from medium-income households pay EUR 20 and those from upper-income homes pay EUR 50.95 Some 370,000 Magalhães computers have been distributed.96 After a student has obtained a laptop through the program, Portuguese mobile operators offer an optional EUR 5 per month discount for broadband Internet access.97

94 Jorge M. Pedreira. “Technological plan for education: The Portuguese framework for ICT in education and the Magellan initiative for primary school children.” Presented at Inter-American Development Bank Seminar on “Reinventing the Classroom”, September 15, 2009. Washington D.C. http://events.iadb.org/calendar/eventDetail.aspx?lang=En&id=1444
97 Carlos Zorrinho . “Bridging the Digital Divide to Connect People to Innovation.” Presented at E-Skills 2008.