Telkom will be ready for e-rate roll-out in 2005
Telkom is proud to be partnering with the Department of Communications and the Department of Education to bring ICT to schools via the e-rate from February 2005. Public schools that are fully funded by the government will be entitled to a 50% discount on calls to the Internet.
The e-rate, which materially reduces the cost of accessing the Internet, will greatly enhance the learners` educational growth through real-time access to information, via technology. The call to the Internet service provider (ISP) will be halved and ISPs will discount their access fees by 50%.
For Telkom, the e-rate is a welcomed initiative. The company has been spearheading the penetration of technology into schools for many years, through the Telkom Foundation, the social responsibility arm of Telkom.
In recent years, more than 1 400 schools have been touched by the Telkom Foundation, which promotes learning in mathematics, science and technology. The e-rate will enable accelerated learning in these areas.
"The e-rate will lessen the education and skills gap that currently exists between private and public schools by allowing pupils from public schools an advantaged access to information. Telkom will be ready to effect the 50% discount on Internet calls from public schools by the start of the 2005 school year," says Nombulelo Moholi, Telkom`s Chief Marketing and Sales officer.
Moholi explained that there was still a lot of work to be done by February next year, especially for schools in rural areas, but that the deadline could be met.
In order for the deadline to be met, there are a number of considerations to be taken into account, for example, the identification and application process for the schools to take advantage of the e-rate, the billing process, the infrastructural requirements and the connectivity agreements between schools and service providers.
Moholi views the introduction of the e-rate as the mechanism to help bring our future generations into the information age. She says: "Telkom is proud to be involved in translating the e-rate into a practical reality and thus assisting the Department of Communications to bridge even further the digital divide."