3.4.2.2 Telecommunication 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: Telecommunication operator projects for school connectivity, selected countries

Country

Operator

Description

Antigua and Barbuda

Digicel

Digicel, in partnership with the Government of Antigua and Barbuda, will deliver broadband Internet service for free to communities and schools across the twin-island nation under an initiative – entitled “Technology for Communication, Education and Empowerment.” The project will use Wi-Fi technology to bring broadband Internet access into 3,000 homes across the communities of Grays-Green, Yorks, and Lower Gambles, as well as more than 5,000 secondary school students. Digicel is partnering with the government to provide community computer access centres in 12 secondary schools, which will include the physical infrastructure, as well as the furniture and air-conditioning. Each of these community access centres will accommodate at least 20 students. 139

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.140

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. 141

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.142

Jamaica

LIME

In 2012, the LIME Jamaica Foundation partnered with the Ministry of Education to give 300 primary schools across the island free Internet service over the next three years, which is expected to benefit more than 200,000 students. The LIME Jamaica Foundation's mandate places great priority on providing exposure to the best in ICTs to the youth of Jamaica. 143

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.144

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.145

Footnote: http://www.carib-is.net/node/366

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