Cost breakdown of OLPC Haiti's Project HA-T1093


No, it's not some early George Lucas film, it's the IADB project title for the "Pilot of the One Laptop per Child Model" in Haiti that Wayan gave a great overview of at

In a direct contraction to Nicholas Negroponte guidance at the November, 2005 IADB meeting, where he told Ministers of Education that "To do a pilot project is ridiculous!," the IADB is not only piloting OLPC, they're also going to have objective testing on the efficacy of a one to one education model

Happy Haitian XO owner

It's probably not an accident that the World Bank's InfoDev just published a Handbook on Monitoring and Evaluation of ICT in Education Projects...

I'm interested in the hard costs of the project, which weighs in at a total of $5,100,000USD. You can trace the evolution of the project back to the original November 2007 project summary and watch the numbers dance around as they move towards the final plan of operations, signed in March 2008. Between November and March they realize the need for school servers (at over $1,000USD each), energy and security solutions, as well as increase their setup, implementation, contingency, and measurement costs, (contingency spending alone goes from just under $16k to almost $260k).

Since the 5.1 million total doesn't shift, these costs are taken out of other parts of their implementation plans. IADB's laptop purchase goes from 7,000 to 3,700 (OLPC is providing another 10,000 XOs presumably from G1G1), training and content gets cut down by $200,000, and maintenance gets $30k shaved off.

The end result is focusing on 13,200 students plus 500 teachers (the November plan was for 19,000 students, but didn't have laptops for all of them or any teachers embedded in the budget) in forty communities. The student:teacher ratio would be a respectable, if not quite believable 26.4:1 . I'm creating a spreadsheet to hold all of this information with some formulas to sort it out that you can look at yourself.

What interests me is to see how my cost estimates from November 2006 stack up. I calculated for a 5 year total implementation process, and was using some slightly different numbers (the laptop cost $148 then, for example), which in some ways overlaps with the IADB budget. I tried to honestly extract a "first year" budget from my old numbers and re-arrange the IADB budget to group it into the same categories. the November costs are from the original November 2007 project summary, with the per-laptop costs just dividing by the ran numbers of laptops in the plan (not by the projected numbers of students and teacher recipients, which was a larger number). The March numbers are from the final plan of operations, signed in March 2008, with the per-laptop costs being the total divided by the number of laptops (they fixed the number glitch), and dividing the server costs among the laptops. The 5year projection is not just multiplying that by five, as most of the costs are designed to be one-time implementation costs, but tweaking where necessary to cover maintenance and so forth. The Jon5yr cost is my original guestimate, and the Jon1yr extracts the setup costs and divides the rest of the recurring costs by 5:

Cost Calulations
November Nov per-laptop March Mar per-laptop Mar*5yr Jon1yr Jon*5yr
Training and content
$696,336 $40.96 $490,743 $35.82 $35.82 $27.60 $138.00
$735,664 $43.27 $1,355,827 $98.97 $98.97 $108.00 $108.00
$100,000 $5.88 $71,200 $5.20 $25.99 $7.40 $37.00
$3,568,000 $209.88 $3,182,230 $232.28 $282.17 $149.00 $689.00
$180,000 $10.59 $170,880 $12.47 $62.36 $1.00 $541.00
$3,196,000 $209.88 $2,581,480 $188.43 $188.43 $148.00 $148.00
...non-laptop hardware
$192,000 $11.29 $429,870 $31.38 $31.38 $0.00 $0.00
$5,100,000 $300.00 $5,100,000 $372.26 $442.94 $292.00 $972.00

You can view the entire spreadsheet to see what went where in detail at this Google Spreadsheet of the OLPC/IADB costs with the formulae visible to see how I constructed my numbers (and the linked PDF files have the original arrangement of the costs if you're so interested).

Now, IADB doesn't break down connectivity very well, so it's unclear what part of that is installation and what part (if any?) is service provision, and it's this figure where my estimates appear way off. IADB calculates $3,000 USD/school for "connectivity" . According to a February Community News email:

Michail had a conference call with SES-Americom. They agreed to provide the (C-Band) space segment and internet termination (via their Maryland teleport) for our upcoming deployment in Haiti.

So I'm going to guess that that's $3k for a VSAT installation with donated bandwidth; with no maintenance budget or money for a paid subscription if the bandwidth donation ever dries up -- does the community have any insight on this?

As for the other "line items", I was $10 over per laptop on total implementation costs, and $2 over on maintenance costs, not bad. If I presume that an Internet connection is free of cost, my original number 972 less five years of Internet access (coming in at $541 using the UN dial-up costs discussed here), I end up $11.94 cents higher than a 5-year projection of the IADB's numbers, (not accounting for the change in the laptop price from $148 to $188).

So if anyone can provide some on-the-ground information about bandwidth costs in Haiti (all the ISP websites I found were broken in one way or another); we can see what the ongoing costs of this project will be.

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Of course, the budget was based on fuel costs that were when OIL was $90 a barrell and now it has increased 50%, but that can be changed in the current spreadsheet quite rapidly.


I'll go dig into this information, since so many poorer countries will just depend on the World Bank blessing for anything major to happen.

These numbers so far show that to depend on connectivity to the internet is to make every cost run over. Can't say I am happy to have confirmation in predicating that the obsession with the Internet is not the right way to go, but if these sobering numbers help us look for alternative approaches, that would be a Good Thing.

I am appalled at how little of the total goes for contents. That's the only thing that would be of lasting value, usable across this deployment and even others. At this cost it seems they will just make PDFs, and then "prove" that contents doesn't work. And of course that contents will not be co-participatory with teachers, etc... :-(((

Glad to see someone else tracking this development.
I have been in Haiti almost two years, internet is a huge issue.
All service "providers" here offer about the same pricing schemes for varied levels of service. Currently operating Hughes Net.
Monthly service plans are;
Home: $59.99 USD 700Kbps /per month rate.
Pro: $69.99 USD 1000kbps
Pro Plus: $79.99 USD 1500Kbps
Small Office: $99.99 USD 1500Kbps
Business Internet: $179.99 2000Kbps
All of these have a non-advertised "usage" limit. If you exceed this unknown limit, Hughes "throttles" your service for 24 hours to where you have very limited use (about dial-up speed).

I currently have an un-advertised plan for 199.00 USD/Month with a 2 watt reciever in my attempts to have reliable swift internet and no worry with exceeding thier non-disclosed usage limit. Reciever and HN 7000s router, with installation was $1000.00 USD. Just as a note, they actullay provide me with an address in Florida.....not Haiti as the "pyhsical" address.....last year another "provider" that I utilized has done the same....seems there in no recognition of Haiti address, one must have a "ghost" address in Florida.
Also note.....even though posted "speeds" are always shown in writing as "up to....2000Kbps" the norm is more like 400 to 700....highest I have experienced is 1200, for a brief moment in time.

This country could really use a "real" internet provider....
Let me know if you find one, I need the service.

Quite interesting stuff. Here in Peru the guys running the project have stated that they don't have the resources to do any kind of follow-up, testing or running assessments of the impacts / quality / whatever of XO-1 deployment. It is more or less obvious that they have decided not to look after any external support whatsoever. Peru could provide very interesting information since deployment is being done at the kind of communities that are the alleged target population, without the issues that a failed state like Haiti brings. But, alas, nothing is going to be done.

William; Thanks for the Haiti Internet numbers -- those are in line with some of my worst-case predictions; if a whole school could share one "home" line, that'd be $720 USD/year/school, but most likely they'd be forced into using a Small Office or Business account, I'd bet? And naturally it depends on the quality of service and number of children in the school

Eduardo VM: The recently-released WorldBank/InfoDev handbook on monitoring and eval of ICT for education projects is worth a read of the overview if nothing more; it's very mixed on whether ICT4E is worthwhile, but strong in advocating for better M&E standards -- no doubt it's sharing (very) similar influences with the IADB's ICT4E projects such as this.

At least something is being done to help computer "literating" the children in the world and give them access to the wider world. Of course, there is always a cost associated with "progress". Investing in the children is the best there is. At the end of the day, the altruistic efforts and the sacrifice will be well worth it. Let's us continue to derive pleasure in giving to the less fortunate rather than amassing fortune which we cannot take with us when we are recalled by our maker. Peace.

Hey there - anyone have an update on the situation in Haiti with the OLPC rollout given the current devastation and crisis situation there?