September 2012
TRA Position Paper on
Telecenters
Ref: PP/TA/0074 Issue: 4.2 Date: 16/9/2012 Page: 1
CONTENTS
TRA POSITION PAPER ON TELECENTERS ...............................
Ref: PP/TA/0074 Issue: 4.2 Date: 16/9/2012 Page: 2
TRA POSITION PAPER ON TELECENTERS
1. Introduction
The telecommunication...
Ref: PP/TA/0074 Issue: 4.2 Date: 16/9/2012 Page: 3
4. Telecenter Services and Applications
A telecenter may offer all or s...
Ref: PP/TA/0074 Issue: 4.2 Date: 16/9/2012 Page: 4
■ Telecenters should support pre-defined Quality of service (network re...
Ref: PP/TA/0074 Issue: 4.2 Date: 16/9/2012 Page: 5
Type Services Management-
Administration
University
Many terminals (30 ...
Ref: PP/TA/0074 Issue: 4.2 Date: 16/9/2012 Page: 6
■ Telecenters can also be funded through small loans and seed finance f...
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TRA Position Paper on Telecenters

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TRA Position Paper on Telecenters

  1. 1. September 2012 TRA Position Paper on Telecenters
  2. 2. Ref: PP/TA/0074 Issue: 4.2 Date: 16/9/2012 Page: 1 CONTENTS TRA POSITION PAPER ON TELECENTERS .......................................................................................2 1. Introduction ...................................................................................................................................2 2. Telecenter Definitions..................................................................................................................2 3. Objectives.......................................................................................................................................2 4. Telecenter Services and Applications........................................................................................3 5. Telecenter Features.....................................................................................................................3 6. Telecenter Types...........................................................................................................................4 7. Telecenter Funding Models.........................................................................................................5 8. Further Suggestions.....................................................................................................................6
  3. 3. Ref: PP/TA/0074 Issue: 4.2 Date: 16/9/2012 Page: 2 TRA POSITION PAPER ON TELECENTERS 1. Introduction The telecommunications is becoming a necessity rather than luxury, similar to other utility services such as water, electricity and gas. Meeting of many economical and educational objectives nowadays relies on availability of telecommunications infrastructure/services. For example, nowadays pre-college education gets support from the use of ICT services (mainly through access to telecommunications services) for accessing knowledge inputs from web and do desk research. There are further applications envisaged for the country such as distance learning, telemedicine, and e-commerce. To ensure that Omanis are not disadvantaged in relation to access to telecommunications services because of their location, gender, or income. Therefore TRA is recommending the implementation of Telecenters to ensure minimum standard of telecommunication services are available to all Omanis regardless of their location. 2. Telecenter Definitions Telecenter is defined as a public site where people can access telecommunications services (such as voice calls and internet access) and other IT services (printing, photocopying, fax, and typing). It is also defined as a public place where people can access computers, internet, and other digital technologies that enable them to gather information, create, learn, and communicate with others while they develop essential digital skills. A telecenter therefore, may be of different sizes and offering variety of services. A telecenter may be a simple one with few computer terminals for accessing only the Internet, and more sophisticated one that has, public phones, printers, photocopiers, fax machines, kiosks for other services, access to e-government services, and transactions processing office. 3. Objectives The main objectives of Telecenters are: 1- Overcome barriers to economic and educational developments that rely on telecommunications services. 2- Trigger socioeconomic development. 3- Ensure equal access to necessary services across the whole populations in the country. These services include access to information, access to e-government services, communication with others, access to online services that are offered by other entities such as banks, online utility bill payment, flight booking, etc. 4- Reduce the isolation of the rural Areas. 5- Stimulate and respond to the demand for information and communication services.
  4. 4. Ref: PP/TA/0074 Issue: 4.2 Date: 16/9/2012 Page: 3 4. Telecenter Services and Applications A telecenter may offer all or some but not limited of the following services: ■ Voice calls. ■ Internet broadband access. ■ Computer Training ■ Teleconferencing. ■ Tele-education. ■ Printing documents. ■ Photocopying documents. ■ Sending/receiving Fax. ■ E-government services. ■ Transactions processing office. ■ Typing. ■ Travel office services. ■ Telecom services top-up vouchers, and calling cards. ■ Books library. ■ Local sales (books, soft drinks, CD, snacks, etc.) ■ Sanad™ Centers Services (Smart Forms) ■ E-library (E-books, E-magazines & e-newspapers) ■ Computer Games Depending on the location of a telecenter, and the community being served, a telecenter may have some or all of the services listed above and even can have more services. 5. Telecenter Features The following features could be considered in designing Telecenters (location & services): ■ A telecenter could be set up for a certain size of community (e.g., for all communities larger than 100 inhabitants); ■ A limited walking distance to a telecenter (e.g. 2.5 km). ■ To attract the customers (just like any retail shop); the telecenter can be located next to a market or main street on a ground floor building. ■ Using a building upstairs or an official building is not recommended (Hidden, Official site could be Intimidating) ■ A telecenter supporting high-speed broadband in all Wilayats centers is considered necessary. Further telecenters can be located in a conveniently located village which could be on a road and located in centralized location; ■ A Telecenter could be planned for public access from 08:00 to 19:00 hours on all weekdays & 16:00-22:00 on weekends. ■ Telecenters should be in a secure, Healthy and air-conditioned buildings that can provide accessibility and usability of the terminal for people with physical disabilities;
  5. 5. Ref: PP/TA/0074 Issue: 4.2 Date: 16/9/2012 Page: 4 ■ Telecenters should support pre-defined Quality of service (network reliability, fault repair times and call quality for telephony and prescribed down and upstream data rates for the Internet service). ■ Telecenters should support all type of payment methods (e.g., cash or credit cards). Prepaid cards availability of licensed service providers could be supported and functioning as pre-paid cards sales outlet could also be supported; ■ Telecenters can provide personal support for uneducated users desiring usage of the available services; ■ Telecenters can support Directories and telecom enquiry services along with support services for Internet subscribers (e.g. help-lines, training); ■ Telecenter can be equipped but not limited with:  Television/Projector.  DVD Player  Computers, all with Internet access  Printer  FAX  Photocopier  Scanner  Telephone  Uninterruptible Power Supplies for the computers for short power cuts (of about half an hour).  One generator for longer lasting power cuts. 6. Telecenter Types Telecenter types may be categorized according to its management model. The table below summarizes a Telecenter models. Type Services Management- Administration Commercial The basic service is computer plus Internet connection with collocated cafeteria, called cybercafé, but other non-telecom services generate only a small part of the income. Private business Franchise Seeks to stand out by improved quality, faster connection, more and better services, atmosphere and comfort. Private business Non-Government Organization (NGO) Wide diversity of services, orientation, and target group, depending on location and orientation of promoting institution. Services include Internet combined with training and development activities. Hours of Internet may be subordinated to use of machines for other uses by NGO staff. NGO or development project (dependent on grants from private businesses for initial computers and software)
  6. 6. Ref: PP/TA/0074 Issue: 4.2 Date: 16/9/2012 Page: 5 Type Services Management- Administration University Many terminals (30 to 100) mainly for students but also available to general public. Specialized technical support available. Academic courses in computers and preparation of contents easy to organize. University School The school opens its doors to the community after class hours. Services tend to be many and varied (Internet, e- mail, content preparation). Most suited are e-literacy programmers and continuing education. School Municipal/ State In principle, can include a wide range of services (public and private). Municipal government directly, in partnership with other entities, or entrusted to private enterprise Multipurpose Generally in Rural areas with Access to Internet, e-mail and related services, Commercial web hosting to community, telephone booths, sales of working materials and stationery, Internet cafe, training courses. Administrative board representing donors, service suppliers and community members Source: www.e-forall.org/pdf/Telecenters.pdf, "Telecenters for Socio-Economic and rural Development in Latin America and the Caribbean." 7. Telecenter Funding Models Telecenter design has to take into considerations capital costs as well as operational costs. Capital costs include initial investment required to purchase terminals, printers, desks, chairs, site acquisition, air conditioning, ventilation systems, sanitary systems, and power connections. Operational costs include telecom connectivity, equipment maintenance, skilled operating and maintaining personnel. Telecenter planning needs to take into consideration a range of possible funding options and models that fulfil sponsors' objectives. ■ Smaller telecenters or cyber cafes which are commercially viable could be community based operated by locals and then can expand and grow from modest beginnings as and when demand and affordability allow this. ■ Franchise telecenters can be planned and run on a commercial basis and managed by local entrepreneurs who are capable of developing business plans and management systems. Commercial operators can establish a network of telecenters through the involvement of national telecommunication firms, Internet players or other technically competent organizations.
  7. 7. Ref: PP/TA/0074 Issue: 4.2 Date: 16/9/2012 Page: 6 ■ Telecenters can also be funded through small loans and seed finance from any national aid agency and/or fund. Small loans can be made to local entrepreneurs or phone shop operators wishing to start a telecenter business for the purchase of computer and other ICT equipment to establish small privately owned and operated telecenters, and initial starting finance can be provided on a matching basis for qualifying national private sector players wishing to establish or extend a larger-scale telecenter operation into rural areas. ■ Contracting telecenter facilities — National development agencies, institutions, and local governments, could be major supports of telecenter facilities and services if they involve the telecenter for educational outreach, rural development, public governance or health programmers etc. Rather than attempting to implement these facilities themselves, contracting a commercial or semi-commercial telecenter to provide certain public services, brings the agencies cost-efficiency gains, while at the same time providing these businesses with additional revenue. 8. Further Suggestions ■ Embedding telecenters services into existing entities (shops, libraries, etc.) could be one of the options for managing costs and endorsing sustainability. ■ Implementation could start with villages that have: 1- Higher Student Rate. 2- High population. ■ Local and relevant content need to be provided. United Nations Development Program has suggested that the most important reason for the failure of Telecenters is their lack of suitable content. ■ The telecenter could be fun places to keep attract people. Playing movies at weekends & video games can help to achieve that. ■ The Telecenters can be established in a portacabin.

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