Annex 2: Toolkit to create the ICT-based services using the mobile communications for egovernment services
Annex 1: Full Transcripts of Contributed Cases
Case 1: The INV (Information Network Village) Project (Republic of Korea)
The project aims to enable the people in remote areas to access to rich contents such as education, medical information, and agricultural skills reducing the digital gap between the urban and rural areas. It also provides capabilities to trade local specialties directly to consumers, gaining more money from the local production. Thus the project plays a role in boosting the local economy to balance the regional development nationwide. Training the basic internet skills for the people in remote areas is expected to expand the demand for the e-government services.
At the beginning the project has progressed very cautiously to avoid the potential waste of resources by taking the step-by-step strategy.
2) Objectives and strategies
There were several major objectives for the INV project. First, it aimed at building broadband internet infrastructure in agricultural/fishing villages, remote areas and other sites alienated from the information revolution in order to address an information gap between urban and rural areas. It was also hoped to cement the foundation for E-government and electronic democracy.
Second, the project aimed to create information content including online marketplace for local products to generate practical benefits and rejuvenate local economies for balanced national development. Third, it was designed to enable local residents to have easier access to information on education, medicine, culture and agricultural skills via the internet in daily life. Before the INV project was launched, cases for electronic villages in Europe and the U.S. (Tele-cottage, Tele-village) were analysed. The finding was that given the Korean situation, it was imperative for the central government to provide administrative, financial, and technical support.
Several strategies were carefully devised to efficiently carry out the project. First, “Information Network Village Planning Group” was formulated consisting of related organizations in the government as well as in the private sector to make sure close cooperation among relevant organizations. Second, the central government organizations and local governments (Municipality, Province, and City/District) took up different roles. MOGAHA set up the blueprint for the project, secured budget and support, prepared the legal, policy foundation and established a collaboration system for related organizations, while local authorities worked on building information content, and providing internet training for the residents.
Third, from the very beginning of the project, active engagement of local residents was emphasized. “Management Committee for INV Project” was formulated for each village with 15 resident representatives. The Committee identified critical issues in relation to information village operation. The creation of a business model was also encouraged, so that the Committee would be able to stand as a self-sustainable body even in the absence of government support. Fourth, pilot INV sites were selected for even representation of urban areas, agricultural/fishing villages and mountainous villages. In consideration of unique local characteristics, INV models were carefully designed in line with local needs and spread nationwide after strict evaluation.
The project was implemented mainly in six tasks with an attempt to set up an internet environment, a precondition to realizing the contents envisioned in the information network village project.
a. High-speed Internet infrastructure
Establishing the high speed internet involves laying fibre optic cables underground and the installation of high-speed main devices. It also includes the connection of ADSL lines to each household and the construction of the internet network in the Village Information Center.
b. Village information center
Each village selected in the project was provided with resources to build an Information Center, equipped with PCs, LAN, beam projector and other devices. The Center produces an environment where residents can use the internet whenever they want to and learn how to adapt to information society. The Center is usually located at a place easily accessed by the residents such as a village hall or local public office.
c. Granting PCs
One of the most distinct characteristics of the program is free distribution of PCs. Selected households were provided with PCs in accordance with the distribution guidelines mapped out by the Operation Committee for the Information Network Village. This part of the project is to encourage the residents to join the program and raise the household PC penetration rate to 70%.
Out of the six tasks, the most important is creating and providing information content in a way that makes the residents the biggest beneficiaries. Contents owned by various sectors of the government and private providers are collected, and customized. Contents specific to a certain local area are also available for the local people in a customized form. Since selected villages for the INV project are in remote areas, where school children are relatively ill positioned compared to urban kids, educational contents are provided through the cyber learning tools. A cyber marketplace has also been put in place to promote online transactions for special local products, bringing more income to residents.
e. Training Program
Learning how to use information systems through the INV project is a critical factor for the success of the project. Residents get basic internet skills training in various educational sites such as schools, local government training centres, and private institutes.
f. Public Awareness Program
This program involves holding various events to boost public awareness of the INV project. This program is an important part of the project, because success is not guaranteed by the residents’ efforts only, but it also requires continuous interest and support from urban people, who serve as customers in the cyber market place. The information network village logo characterizing the project was designed to represent the identity and uniqueness of more than 380 villages. On top of that, aggressive public image making efforts were carried out, including running TV features, and subway and newspaper advertisements.