Rural areas in 16 provinces to have free Internet access

Rural areas in 16 provinces will now have free Internet access in public libraries or receive a 50 percent discount on charges when using Internet services at local post offices under a project funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.

The ‘Improvement of Computer Usage and Public Internet Access Ability in Vietnam’ project funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation has so far installed more than 4,600 computer sets and Internet access devices at 665 free public Internet access points, including local public libraries and post offices.

Depending on their functions, free public Internet access points will be equipped with other devices such as printers, projectors and headphones.

The Ministry of Information and Communications, the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism, and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation on Saturday held a handover ceremony in Da Lat City.

With investment of more than US$50 million, the ‘Improvement of Computer Usage and Public Internet Access Ability in Vietnam’ project will be carried out over a period of five years, starting from 2011 to 2016, of which $30 million is non-refundable assistance from the foundation. Vietnam’s reciprocal capital is nearly $17 million.

The project is expected to install 12,070 computer sets at 1,900 free public Internet access points within five years, raising the number of computer and Internet users in rural areas to around 760,000.

By Nam Vien – Translated by Thuy Doan

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