To connect remote rural communities with wireless spectrum, Internet Society and COMSATS Internet Services have initiated a pilot project in Chak Faiz, a rural community in Multan, Pakistan. The Wireless for Communities Programme (W4C) project will provide Internet access to underserved rural areas using a community empowerment approach through Wi-Fi-based technologies.
The programme provides training on content and services, and helps maximize development opportunities using the Internet. ISOC has been successfully implementing Wireless for Communities– which has won two international awards from Public Affairs Asia and ITU/MCMC—in South Asia for the past five years. With initiatives such as these, ISOC hopes to create model communities that serve as examples for the developmental role the Internet can play in society.
The pilot project in Pakistan will be located in ‘Chak Faiz,’ a rural community near Multan city in the Punjab province. The project includes deployment of a wireless network together with training for the community that will enable users to access the benefits of the Internet, providing them with opportunities for social development and inclusion.
“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” said Muhammad Amir Malik, CEO of COMSATS Internet Services.
Mr. Amir Malik added that, “COMSATS Internet Services has been involved with community building efforts through projects like our TeleHealth network, and we are always looking for opportunities to use available resources to help empower the marginalized community.
Rajnesh Singh, Director of the Asia-Pacific Bureau of the Internet Society explained that: “This project goes to the heart of our mission at ISOC, which is that the Internet is for everyone. We need to ensure that all communities, regardless of whether they are located urban or rural areas, are able to benefit from the Internet and all it can enable. We hope to demonstrate a community model in Pakistan that could be used to expand Internet access to rural and underserved areas across the country.”