The Department of Communications in South Africa has embarked on several short-term and long-term projects under the banner of its ‘info.com 2025’ initiative, among which is the building of telecentres that will provide access to telephone, fax and Internet facilities in rural areas in the short term. Another project is to create a direct electronic link between individuals, telecentres and information resources dealing with health-related matters.
Another initiative embraces community information centres that will provide access to a broad base of government and private-sector information to all, but with the emphasis on development for disadvantaged areas, through the Internet. Other aims of info.com 2025 include making government accessible and online, by developing a paperless electronic system of government information access, distribution and retrieval.
Schoolnet is another info.com 2025 project, which aims to provide access to interactive distance learning and education and yet another is the Internet 2000 project, which will provide Internet access to a substantial number of schools in South Africa by 2000.
A project called Web Internet Laboratory provides learning laboratories for use by universities, colleges and technikon campuses in confined user group communities and Virtual Library will provide public access to local and international library resources. It is envisaged that info.com 2025 initiatives will utilise Telkom’s new broadband backbone network. The communications department and the South African Post Office are also piloting a public information terminal (P.i.T), which is targeted at bringing easy access to e-mail and the Internet to South African individuals. The vision here is that eventually each member of the public will have an electronic address to receive online information at post offices nationwide.
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