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Rural Development in Pakistan Through Multipurpose Community Telecenters. Khalid Mahmood University of the Punjab Lahore PAKISTAN. Pakistan: Some Facts. Area: 796,095 sq. km. (Second largest in South Asia) Admn Division: 4 provinces, FATA Population: 149 million Literacy: 48%

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rural development in pakistan through multipurpose community telecenters

Rural Development in Pakistan Through Multipurpose Community Telecenters

Khalid Mahmood

University of the Punjab



pakistan some facts
Pakistan: Some Facts
  • Area: 796,095 sq. km. (Second largest in South Asia)
  • Admn Division: 4 provinces, FATA
  • Population: 149 million
  • Literacy: 48%
  • Per capita GNP: US$ 492
  • Poverty: 33% pop. below poverty line
rural pakistan
Rural Pakistan
  • Over 50,000 villages
  • Population: 61% of total
  • Literacy: 37% (in women 10%)
  • Occupation: Agriculture (24% of GDP employs 48% of total work force)
  • Problems
    • Poor living standard
    • Poor education
    • Poor health
    • Lack of clean drinking water
    • Improper sanitation
    • Poor communication
telecommunication infrastructure
Telecommunication Infrastructure
  • Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA), set up in 1996, as regulatory authority
  • Pakistan Telecommunication Company Ltd. (PTCL) – Main service provider – Showed impressive growth in last 5 years – record profit last year
  • 5 million fixed phone lines
  • 3,000 exchanges
  • Teledensity: 2.87%
  • National Telecommunication Corporation (NTC) with 72,000 lines
  • Special Communications Organization (SCO) with 92,000 lines
  • Many private organizations set up public call offices
cellular phone
Cellular phone
  • Started in 2000
  • 4 operators
  • 3 million connections
  • Penetration rate 1.4%
  • PTA has issued licenses to 2 more operators
  • Number will surpass fixed lines by end 2004
  • Potential demand of 25 million by 2018
rural telephony
Rural telephony
  • 2.4% villages have access
  • Teledensity 0.77%
  • PTA’s top priority area
  • PTCL plans to connect 50% villages by end 2004
  • WLL technology will be used
  • New connection fee reduced for rural area
  • PCs are rapidly spreading
  • 700,000 PCs
  • Increasing at 100,000 per year
  • 25% urban schools have PCs
  • 5% rural schools have PCs
  • Started in 1996
  • 200+ ISPs
  • 1700+ cities and towns covered
  • 3 million users
  • Access charges reduced drastically
  • Available for remote areas on local call charges
  • Thousands Cyber Cafés
  • 90% use Net for communication and entertainment
it policy 2000
IT policy 2000
  • Compulsory computer literacy in high schools
  • Internet in educational institutions
  • Promotion of WLL technology in rural areas
  • Encourage telecom operator in rural areas
  • Encourage IT in rural development, education, health, e-government
cable tv
Cable TV
  • Rapidly growing industry
  • 9 million TV
  • 2 million cable TV
  • 900+ cable TV licensed operators
public libraries
Public libraries
  • 300+ public libraries
  • All in big cities and towns
  • Not in good condition
  • No library in villages
  • Rural area people use school/religious school libraries, personal libraries, private subscription libraries, mosque libraries, shrine libraries
community based information system
Community based information system
  • New concept in Pakistan
  • Sustainable Development Networking Program (SNDP) of IUCN set up 3 Cyber Community Centers (CCCs) in 2001 in remote areas
  • In cooperation with local NGOs
  • With limited staff
  • Offer Internet surfing, e-mail, online chatting, computer training
  • On payment
lessons learnt from cccs
Lessons learnt from CCCs
  • Lack of awareness
  • Less use
  • Very limited effects
  • No women users
  • Technical problems
  • Not financially sustainable
future plans ptcl
Future plans – PTCL
  • PTCL planning to set up tele-info-centers in rural areas
  • Proposed services include national/international PCO, fax, Internet, email, voice mail, word processing, document printing, document scanning, computer hands-on training, photocopying and multi-media on payment
  • Existing 444 telegraph offices should be used
future plans in northern areas
Future plans in northern areas
  • International Development Research Center (IDRC), International Center for Integrated Mountain Research (ICIMOD) and the Commission on Science and Technology for Sustainable Development in the South (COMSATS) are planning to set up Internet Service Center in Gilgit and Skardu
  • First phase – an ISP – is complete
challenges to icts in rural pakistan
Challenges to ICTs in rural Pakistan
  • Low literacy
  • Lack of awareness about ICTs
  • Affordability of ICTs
  • Absence of local content on Web
  • Interrupted power supply (only 58% villages have facility)
  • Failed experiments of MCTs in other developing countries
  • Lack of political will (priority to other basic facilities)
opportunities for icts
Opportunities for ICTs
  • Only way to help poor villagers
  • Awareness at government level
  • Promotion of distance education
  • New local government system – decentralized decision making
  • Promotion of WLL technology
a model for icts we propose policy formulation
A Model for ICTs – We proposePolicy formulation
  • At federal government level
  • Key role for Ministry of Information Technology
  • National Task Force with representatives from
    • Ministry of Education
    • Ministry of Local Government & Rural Development
    • Pakistan Library Association
    • Telecom operators in private sector
    • National and international NGOs
model planning
Model – Planning
  • Pilot project
  • Views of concerned govt. departments and NGOs
  • Community needs assessment
model management
Model – Management
  • Franchised model
  • Local advisory committee
  • Govt. departments provide subsidy
    • Building by local govt.
    • Funds for lib. material by local govt.
    • Training, technical support and coordination by National Task Force
    • Beginning equipment by NGOs
    • Phone, fax and Internet by telecom operators
    • Electricity by public electricity supply company
    • Marketing by local schools
model building equipment technology
Model – Building, Equipment, Technology
  • May be set up in local government office, school, community center, post office, or any private house or shop
  • 2 rooms are needed
  • Hardware include 3 to 4 PCs, Laser printer, photocopier, UPS, scanner, CD-writer, laminator, binder, telephone set, facsimile, television, video cassette player and audio cassette player
  • Software include office applications, Internet browser, anti-virus programs, educational software, recreational software, networking software, web page design and multimedia software
  • WLL technology
model services to offer
Model – Services to offer
  • Basic services in first phase
    • Telephone sending and receiving fax messages; access to computers; printing; scanning; photocopying; access to Internet; sending, receiving and translating e-mail messages; providing meeting space for small groups; access to government forms and information; word processing; training in computer use; binding; showing videos; laminating; lending library materials and providing reading room
  • Advanced services in second phase
    • Developing local databases; designing and maintaining web pages; supporting distance education; tourist information; tele-medicine; tele-trading; graphic design; video or still camera hire; employment agency; and online banking
model targeted user groups
Model – Targeted user groups
  • Local government functionaries
  • Teachers and students
  • Health workers
  • Farmers
  • Small business entrepreneur
  • Local NGOs
  • Sports clubs
  • General population
model promotion
Model – Promotion
  • Local advisory committee
  • Local government functionaries
  • Posters, leaflets and brochures
  • Community meetings
  • Opinion leaders
  • Religious institutions
  • Local school system
model sustainability
Model – Sustainability
  • Most important issue
  • Networking of MCTs
  • Focus on local community needs
  • Public-private partnership