3.6.2 Telecommunications operators

Telecommunication operators have been an important funding resource for providing school connectivity in many countries.  Such funding is often raised indirectly, through operator contributions to universal service funds, which are then used to build out infrastructure in rural and underserved areas.  In some cases, portions of universal service fund outlays are earmarked for educational connectivity.

 Another regulatory method used to involve operators in school connectivity has been to implement school funding obligations as part of licensing.  There may also be legal conditions that require operators to offer educational institutions discounted tariffs for telecommunication services.

Some governments have appealed to telecommunication operators to address school funding, even when there is no regulatory requirement to provide school connectivity.  This is sometimes implemented through operators' social responsibility programmes, which are generally guided by a written agreement between the government and the operator.  The table below provides some examples.

Table ‎3‑6: Telecommunications operator projects for school connectivity, selected countries

Country Operator Description
Belize Belize Telemedia Limited (BTL) A BTL social responsibility project, “Internet to Schools,” provides free broadband (i.e., 256 kbps DSL) Internet access to 45 primary, secondary and tertiary schools.77
Chile Compañía de Telecomunicaciones de  Chile (CTC) Under the “Educational Internet 2000” project, launched by the Ministry of Education, CTC agrees to provide Internet service to primary and secondary schools, free of charge, for 10 years. 78
Germany Deutsche Telekom Through Telekom’s corporate responsibility activities, the “Telekom@School” initiative has connected all 34,000 general education and vocational schools to the Internet, free of charge.  Of those schoos, about 30,000 have a DSL broadband connection.79
Slovak Republic Slovak Telekom In 2002, the Ministry of Education and Slovak Telekom agreed to a Memorandum on Cooperation as part of the eSlovakia programme.  Slovak Telekom will provide Internet access to primary and secondary schools.  Some 99 per cent of Slovakia’s 3,500 primary and secondary schools now have Internet access; some 60 per cent have a broadband ADSL connection.80
Uruguay Antel Through an agreement with the Ministry of Education, Antel will provide Internet connections to all public primary and secondary schools. By 2008, some 1,395 educational institutions were connected with the following technologies:
ADSL (798), EDGE (577), Satellite (19) and 3G (1). All public schools were to be connected by the end of 2009.  Antel also agreed to provide space in telecommunication towers and masts for ICT projects in education.81 82


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