Birmingham, Ala., has taken another step closer to becoming the first entity in the United States to purchase $200 laptop computers from the nonprofit One Laptop Per Child (OLPC) Foundation.

Birmingham’s city council has approved a $3.5 million plan to provide schoolchildren with 15,000 low-cost laptops produced by foundation, which aims to spread laptops to poor children in developing countries.

OLPC says the deal marks the first time a U.S. city has agreed to buy the machines, which also are headed to such countries as Peru,...

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