Networking and adapting to local needs lie behind the very few success of Universal Service Agency telecentres, this research shows. It attributes the 30% success rate in sustainable access to information and communication technologies since 1998 to the sheer dedication of telecentre managers.
These centres were established to fulfill the 1996 Telecommunications Act aim of supplying low-cost, local communication services to South Africa's townships and rural areas.
This paper also looks at the formidable challenges facing these centres, such as an inappropriate and limiting, top-down implementation structure and a severe shortage of skills.
About the Author
Dr Peter Benjamin has been involved in many community information projects in South Africa, and has published much research on telecentres and related initiatives. He started the ICT (information communication technology) for Development Programme at the University of the Witwatersrand in 1996, which has since become the LINK Centre. He has a first degree in physics, a masters in IT (information technology) and his 2001 PhD focuses on the Telecentre Programme in South Africa.