More than 14 million households in remote areas of Europe have difficulties in accessing information and communication technologies (ICTs). Particularly in rural regions tele-density is low compared to urban centres. Despite many programmes focusing on this issue, the so-called digital divide is ever increasing. Until now transfer rates tend to be lower in rural areas which limits the introduction of advanced services, like e-Health and e-Learning, as well as organisational development. The provision of broadband connections through telecentres in remote areas can help to solve this problem. Project partners of TELEACCESS come from regions with shared past experiences concerning ICT and spatial development issues. Aim of the project is to foster the digital culture among rural citizens to enable remote areas the access to the information society. For this, existing local establishments are converted into pilot telecentres. These should function as a hub to provide the local labour force and citizens of all ages with faster access to the Internet. Target groups and beneficiaries of the project are all citizens of the participating regions as well as regional and local authorities, including municipalities, prefectures and other local institutions, such as schools and libraries.
The implementation of the project is based on the analysis of user needs, costs and benefits of technological options, compatibility with national strategies, and on identified best practices. The TELEACCESS project should enable project partners to formulate a detailed plan of how the participating regions could overcome their problems regarding access to the information society. It aims at developing the competitiveness of the regions and improving integration of new EU Member States. The expected main results of TELEACCESS are: - Demonstration how remote rural communities in the participating regions can tackle the digital divide through advanced broadband telecommunications, - Evaluation of the current situation of the telecentres, - Evaluation of the needs for each participating territory, - Creation of a customised methodology and scenarios for the pilot establishment of telecentres, - Development of IT services tailored to the needs of local users, - Creation of a permanent network for the project partners.