A Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) was signed between the Internet Society (ISOC) and COMSATS Internet Services (CIS) to establish a pilot project under its flagship Wireless for Communities programme in a rural community of Chak Faiz located near Multan.
The Wireless for Communities Programme is an initiative of ISOC which provides Internet access to under-served rural communities using a community empowerment approach through WiFi based technologies.
The programme also provides training to the community on content and services, and helps the community maximize development opportunities using the Internet.
ISOC has been successfully implementing the Wireless for Communities programme in South Asia for the past five years. The programme has also won two international awards, from ITU/MCMC and Public Affairs Asia, respectively.
The project will include deployment of a wireless community network, together with training for the community. It will be executed over a couple of phases to help empower the community to harness the benefits of the Internet and how it can enable social inclusion.
Rajnesh Singh, Director of the Asia-Pacific Bureau of the Internet Society stated – “The Internet is probably one of the greatest, and most transformational, inventions of humankind. We need to ensure that all communities, regardless of whether they are located in rural or urban areas, are able to fully benefit from the Internet and all that it can enable. With this pilot project in Pakistan, we hope to be able to demonstrate a suitable community model in the country which could be used to help expand access to rural and underserved areas”.
Sharing his thoughts, Amir Malik, CEO of COMSATS Internet Services (CIS) said, “COMSATS Internet Services has been involved with community building efforts through projects like our Tele-Health network, and we are always looking for opportunities to use available resources to help empower the marginalized community. Our collaboration with ISOC for the Wireless for Communities programme will be a beneficial initiative to provide internet services to the remote community in Chak Faiz. With such initiatives, we hope to create model communities that serve as examples for the developmental role the Internet can play in society. This programme will improve the lives of people in rural areas by offering online access and promoting e-services. It will hopefully contribute directly to an increased level of awareness concerning the benefits of ICTs and lead to ideas for more livelihood.”