My name is Jorge Duran and i work as Senior Technology for Development
Advisor at the InterAmerican Agency for Cooporation and Development of
the Organization of American States in Washington, DC.

The Moderator has asked:

> 3. Can information distribution centers (e.g., public access
> telecenters) offer a viable economic solution to a community's
> information needs, by, in effect, sharing a single high-bandwidth
> connection among many users, and thus spreading the cost?

The answer to this one is: Yes, but as part of a concerted effort and
with a sustainability component in place. We at the Agency have had
several successes and failures in Telecenters. The obvious cause is
that once the loan runs out or the government stops subsidizing the
telecenter most either breakdown or disappear or they become Cybercafes
and forget the social/community component that originated them in the
first place.

Considering the connectivity costs and that sometimes they are located
in areas where the community in general either has no money to pay for
connectivity and PC services or just not interested in maintaining it,
the key here is to make the telecenter an integral part of the community
so that the community not only does not mind paying to keep it up, but
actually considers it a vital part for the accomplishment of several
tasks. It is for this reason that several sustainability schemes are
underway as pilot projects to see which of those works and where,
considering the wide variety of telecenter settings.

This DOT-COM Discussion is funded by the dot-ORG USAID Cooperative
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