Operators for internet kiosks with wireless access in rural areas are selected

Skopje, January 25th 2010     

“Telelink”, “Neocom” and “Helectron” are the economic operators that in six months, on the territory of the whole country should install 680 internet-kiosks in rural areas with wireless internet access. In the period of 4 years, they will offer internet with state subventions.

The contract for internet-kiosks installation and service offer was signed today by the Minister of information society, Ivo Ivanosvski and the representatives of the operators, chosen by electronic public auction, on the principle of lowest price offered.

The economic operators’ services consist in internet-kiosks installation, located nearby local schools in rural areas, though which free internet signal will be beamed in a 250 meters radius. The kiosks are constructed from stainless steel, resistant to any influence, from -20 to +60 degrees. They contain an incorporated computer with metal keyboard with Macedonian support. In this way, unwanted contents in surfing will be avoided.

- By introducing 680 kiosks, citizens form rural areas will enjoy benefits from contemporary technologies. We expect that, once again, Macedonia will be an example to other countries, considering the fact that reducing digital gaps and electronic inclusion are the priorities on European level, pointed Minister Ivanovski on the press conference.

He also informed that the procurement of internet-kiosks and the four year free internet service for the citizens cost 2, 5 million euros. Initially, for that propose 4, 72 million euros were provided, but the electronic public auction reached a very low price. Depending from the region for which operators applied, the saving goes from 10 to 36 percents.
Nine operators participated at the public auction, in a competition for 13 regions, with 50 locations in each region. The three chosen operators, with the contract signed today, are obligated to install 30 percent of the kiosks within 120 days, 60 percent in 150 days, and the complete installation, within 180 days.

After expiration of the four year contract, the internet-kiosks remain in possession of the operators. Besides improving the use of internet technology in rural areas, a great benefit form this project is infrastructure installation, which until now didn’t provoke the operators’ interest, because of absence of economic profitability.