Press Releases

19
September 2007

Telenor Pakistan launches Rabta Centers to connect rural communities

Islamabad, September 19, 2007: Telenor Pakistan has launched Telenor Rabta Centers as part of a pilot project involving local communities. These community information centers offer all modern communication facilities under one roof. The services use Telenor Pakistan high-speed EDGE network, the country largest, to help bridge the digital divide.

Telenor Pakistan is collaborating with the GSMA Development Fund, Nokia Siemens Networks and the ILO (International Labour Organization) on the project.
Telenor Rabta Centers have been established in Quetta (Balochistan), Khuzdar (Balochistan), Bagh (Azad Kashmir), Jamal Deen Wali (Rahim Yar Khan, Punjab), Ahmadpur Sial (Jhang, Punjab) and 18 Hazari (Jhang, Punjab).

Each center is equipped with two PCs with EDGE data card to connect to the Internet, a printer, scanner, webcam, and a handset with Telenor Pakistan connection. Commenting on the aims of the project, CMO Telenor Pakistan Sigvart Voss Eriksen said, We want to establish an easy-to-access point for these communities in order for them to benefit from e-mail, scanning, faxing and printing facilities in their everyday lives. With Information & Communications Technologies (ICTs) becoming an ever-increasing part of our living, there is need for such facilities to be made available in Pakistan rural and semi-rural areas too. It is well known that efficiency and productivity of a population increases with easy access to ICTs, thus contributing to their well-being and prosperity. Telenor Pakistan with its largest EDGE network will make it possible for these rural communities to connect to the internet, download content, and send and receive data, including digital images, web pages and photos up to four times faster than GPRS.

The GSMA Development Fund is providing support in project management and facilitation activities for the pilot implementation. This includes working with Telenor Pakistan to develop the business model, secure funding and ongoing project management. For people at the bottom of the economic pyramid, data services must be affordable, scalable and sustainable, requiring the telecommunications industry to explore new business models that meet these requirements, said Dawn Haig-Thomas, director of the Development Fund. GSM networks, enhanced with technologies such as EDGE, are the most cost-effective and flexible way to provide Internet access to communities lacking fixed-line connections.

Elaborating on their partnership with Telenor Pakistan on this project, Country Director Nokia Siemens Networks Pakistan and Afghanistan Syed Veqar-ul-Islam said, Nokia Siemens Networks is a strategic partner in Telenor Pakistan's aggressive network expansion plans and we are looking forward to uniting communities and bringing networks to life in Pakistan. In addition to the aggressive rollout of sites, we are also contributing through provision of infrastructure for setting up the Rabta Centers. Our investment in the Rabta Centers is creating a very effective and useful tool in providing access to information as well as attaining our vision of connecting 5 billion people worldwide by 2015,

Director-General ILO Donglin Li commenting on the collaboration said, ILO recognizes that knowledge, information and communication are at the core of human progress, endeavor and well being. We are committed to empowering the rural poor by closing the digital divide. As a step towards this aim, ILO is collaborating with Telenor to bring the benefits of telecommunication and information technology to rural communities. This way ILO hopes to build the skill base of the local population and, especially, help more women to benefit from easy access to Information & Communication Technologies. The initiative will bridge the digital divide and the gender gap.

Telenor Pakistan and its project partners have selected entrepreneurs from the corresponding local communities to run these centers as their business. All entrepreneurs have been trained in computer and entrepreneurial skills.
To ease access to the Internet for first-time users, a Telenor Rabta Center Portal has been created at www.telenorrabta.com.pk that offers links to many informative online sites (e.g. news, education, entertainment, job search, e-government, etc.).

Telenor Rabta Center customers will be able to use the following services: E-mailing, Internet searching, Video Conferencing, Printing, Document Composing, Scanning, CD burning, Faxing, Photocopying, Downloading different forms, EasyLoad, make mobile phone calls, and use a number of other Telenor Pakistan value-added services.

Telenor Pakistan will monitor the performance of the Rabta centers and decide on upscaling after comprehensive evaluation.

The Telenor Group is an international provider of high quality telecommunications, data and media communications services. Telenor ranks as one of the biggest GSM service providers in the world with over 130 million subscribers. Telenor Pakistan is 100% owned by Telenor ASA and adds on to its operations in Asia together with Thailand, Malaysia and Bangladesh.

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