This is good news. INTEL Corporation has teamed up with Wateen Telecom and IT ministry of Pakistan to establish six tele-centres to provide low-cost connectivity for voice and data, ICT training and basic tele-medicine. This is part of INTEL’s “World Ahead Program”.

Intel would initially establish six tele-centres at Attock, Multan, DG Khan, Sukkur and Gwadar. Intel Corporation vice president, John Davies said that the telecentres would be a key step in bridging the digital divide and making technology more easily accessible to citizens in Pakistan.

ICT stands for Information and Communication Technology.  ICT is seen as an enabler for the developing economies. It is part of the UN’s Millenium Development Goals (MDGs). The question that arises is if ICT is just a good to have or is it really cost-effective? The International Telecommunication Union (ITU) has performed studies on the impact of ICT and came out with promising conclusions. Included below is an excerpt from their 2006 ICT development report.

ICT Impact

I am glad that INTEL has taken this initiative and from the news brief it seems to be a good plan.  Of course, technology companies understand the need and advantages of spreading interest in technology to less privileged areas of the world. For Wateen it is a good opportunity to showcase their cutting-edge Wimax technology implementation. And for the citizens of the above-mentioned cities it is a great opportunity. To use a cliche, it is a win-win situation.

Here are some statements about this – taken from GovTech website:

The Intel World Ahead program does more than just provide affordable PCs,”VP Davies said, calling it “a holistic program to help build everything from the right systems tailored to local needs, and critical connectivity, to sustainable local capabilities through quality education that makes a meaningful difference in people’s lives.” Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Wateen Telecom said, “We are proud to work with Intel and the Federal Ministry of Information Technology and Telecommunications to bring the first ever WiMAX broadband deployment to Pakistan.We also expect to make available cutting-edge wireless broadband connectivity in selected urban and rural areas,” he added.

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