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Key Issues for the Successful Implementation of Rural Telecenters -Success Factors and Misunderstandings- By Kenji Saga Acting Chair of ICT Committee Japan.

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Presentation on theme: "Key Issues for the Successful Implementation of Rural Telecenters -Success Factors and Misunderstandings- By Kenji Saga Acting Chair of ICT Committee Japan."— Presentation transcript:

1 Key Issues for the Successful Implementation of Rural Telecenters -Success Factors and Misunderstandings- By Kenji Saga Acting Chair of ICT Committee Japan PECC

2 What is Telecenter ? Telecenters are public facilities that offer shared access to ICT. They are public places where people can use computers, the Internet, and other media; get training; and often obtain a variety of other communication- related services. (Roman and Colle, 2001) In reality, telecenters are full of varieties. Establishment and sustainable operation of telecenters are becoming a important policy target to bridge the Digital Divide in rural and underserved/unserved areas of developing economies.

3 Telecenter projects in Asia Pacific Community Access Programme (CAP: Canada) Open Learning Centres (Queensland, Australia) Multi-purpose Community Telecenters (MCT: Thailand, Vietnam, Mongolia, etc.) Tambon Net (Thailand) Yap SEED (Yap states, FSM) People First Net (PFnet: Solomon Island) Community Tele-service Center (CTC: Indonesia) Tele-cultural Centers (Vietnam), etc.

4 Rural Telecenters: Myths and Realities by Dr. H. E. Hudson Myths (misconceptions) Build it and they will come… One size fits all. Rural demand is very limited. High costs are unavoidable. A carrier of last resort is the best model. Infrastructure is all you need. Realities It is necessary but not sufficient for development. It should be customized. If well designed & managed, various needs exist. Innovative technologies are reducing costs significantly. Bidding schemes introduced. Training, applications and...

5 Lessons for Planners by Dr. H. E. Hudson Involve the customers Foster Innovative Strategies Make organizations a priority Start with community access Design for expansion and Growth Design for intra-rural connectivity and traffic patterns based on communities of interest Ensure network reliability is high

6 Factors Hindering Progress by UNDP (lessons from Solomon Island PFnet, 2003) Core operations only sustainable after scaling up Unavailability of finance for scaling up Lack of national ICT strategy Need for more coordination on ICT High cost of IT Lack of IT capacity, right awareness Lack of credit for rural enterprises Uncertain legal situation for Internet publication Source:

7 Key Issues for the Success of Rural Tele-centers (Part 1) by Kenji Saga at Telecom 99 Powerful leadership with careful management Participation of rural people from initial stage Collection of sufficient information at specific site Identification of needs from initial stage and design step by step development of service provision Small investment and low operational cost at initial stage for commercial operation, and expandable system design to meet increasing needs, and Development of human resources and participation of rural people in operation (establish partnership with NGOs)

8 Key Issues for the Success of Rural Telecenters (Part 2) by Kenji Saga at Broadband Workshop 2003 Three additional success factors Strategic approach by government (local governments) Broadband access to meet growing and multi-media needs Information sharing on success factors and factors hindering progress

9 Success Factors: Strategic approach Case Study 1: Tambon Net (Thailand) Integration of National Economic Development Plan with National IT Strategy (IT2010) “One Tambon One Product” Initiative → Facilitation of local products and industries (SMEs) by National Economic Development Plan (Tambon: group of villages) “One Tambon One Product” Initiative combined with “Tambon NET” project (IT2010) ( Tambon Net: “One Tambon One Telecenter” project)

10 Success Factors: Strategic approach Case Study 2: Participation and HRD (Lessons Learned from Yap SEED experience) Students are a great resource, and they are only limited by the tools and hardware you give them, BUT…. Most teachers are threatened by the abilities of the students which make them feel they have lost control. Teachers need to know “It’s OK” if the students know more than they do about the computers… It’s not a loss of control. (Lessons learned from Yap SEED project by James Stevenson)

11 New Realities High school students produced multimedia CD- ROMs for kids in the elementary schools showing the differences in Yapese cultures. Kids of all ages take to technology like fish to water. A mix of good educational practices and technologies will increase students’ interest, which in turn increases learning. (Lessons learned from Yap SEED project by James Stevenson)

12 WHY Broadband? Most important problem to be solved is “Broadband at Affordable Rates.” by President of PCC and Principal of Yap MCC - Present status of international connectivity- Shared access to the Internet through 128kbps from 100 computers at Palau Community College (PCC) Shared access to Internet through 64kbps from 20 computers at Yap Campus of Micronesia Community College (MCC)

13 Wideband vs Narrowband High speed download High cost? Reduction of cost by competition and innovative technology Multimedia Full use of applications  E-Learning  E-Health  E-Commerce  E-Government Low speed and take time Low cost? But depend on deregulation and competition Text centric Limited use of applications “However, narrowband telecenter should not be ignored”

14 Narrowband should not be ignored because There are remote, isolated and depopulated island and mountain areas. It is essential to have access to information in order to bridge the digital divide. In some cases, broadband will become too expensive under present situation. There are some examples of best practice: Solomon Island PFnet and mountain areas in Nepal using HF radio systems.

15 PFnet: Solomon Island People First Net PFnet is an NGO-Government partnership established through the UNDP project. Tested model for sustainable, community- owned rural access Web site portal with rich content Facilitated networking for:  Distance learning  Agriculture and fisheries development  Indigenous business development  Rural vocational training (by UNDP)

16 Success Factors by UNDP (Lessons from Solomon Islands PFnet) Participation of communities Holistic approach (training and capacity building) Small but many (many sites with basic access initially) Popular applications (opportunities school push-outs: location in community schools) Support from development community

17 Success Factors (continued) by UNDP (Lessons from Solomon Islands PFnet) High Frequency (HF) Radio No per minutes costs Range km without repeaters 2kbps with 4:1 text compression Secure (encrypted) closed network Simple: Operators autonomous after 1 week 1 base station capacity for 100+ stations 80W Solar power supply

18 --Conclusion-- Connectivity is essential for remote and isolated unserved areas at initial stage. BUT, sooner or later, “Broadband Access” will become essential. Benefits of ICT for all! Thank you for your attention.


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