|Chapter 5: Ensuring Sustainability and Impact through Appropriate
Services and Content
- Some content and services must be developed locally and must involve local institutions and the local community.
- Some services are developed more effectively at a higher level—whether a franchise network organization, a telecenter network, a government agency, or a university or other educational institution. In a scaling-up context, this dimension of specialization in telecenter service provision becomes increasingly important. Individual pilot initiatives may have tried to provide their specific mix of services, but it is inefficient and often impossible for individual telecenters to develop more advanced transactional and e-Government services on their own. Therefore, partnerships with both private sector service providers and government agencies become essential—the telecenter ecosystem becomes essential.
- We are likely to see a trend toward unbundling services and developing rural services and applications that can be delivered through a multiplicity of platforms and telecenter models. For example, Microsoft® India, through its Saksham program, telecentre.org, and the National Alliance for Mission 2007 in India are working together to create a special fund to encourage development of software applications and other services that can be delivered through rural kiosks or telecenters.(21) This development should be factored into the planning of revenue models for services being developed now.
- The types of public-private partnerships emerging in India and other developing economies are not easy to foster in many developing countries where 1) the private sector is not as actively engaged in the development of applications and services for rural areas, and 2) governments are not as advanced in their thinking and planning in terms of decentralization of services through e-Government and rural access points.
- As illustrated by the case studies in this chapter, the issue is not only to decide which services to deliver, but also how to best deliver them and how to price individual services to build demand and generate sufficient revenues to become financially sustainable.
- Identifying the right mix of services for a specific telecenter is a multidimensional puzzle. Key dimensions include 1) the market and
the competition (if any); 2) the goal orientation of the telecenter; 3) the extent to which the operator can and wishes to do internal cross-subsidization from within the revenues received for services; and 4) the extent to which the operator is able to generate revenues from sources other than users (i.e., government funding or donor support
for specific services).