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Public Internet Access Points around Malta (PIAPs)

Published on: 29/11/2007
Document
The Public Internet Access Point Project (PIAP) was launched in Malta in 2001. The Ministry for Infrastructure, Transport and Communications (MITC) transformed circa 100 telephone booths into web phones by setting up ADSL telephone lines in every town and village in Malta and Gozo in squares, public libraries, and the front offices of Government institutions. These web phones provide access to all e-Government services free of charge, but nominal rates apply to access the Internet for other purposes. PIAP’s provide a dual service: a normal payphone and free access to a specifically designed internet portal. These PIAP’s are a state of the art web phones, which are in themselves an attractive technology masterpiece, that for sure have upgraded the image of the country, placing it amongst those countries leading the information world. Public Internet access points are instrumental for those citizens without access to the Internet at home or work - to provide everything from easy access and no waiting in queues to access information and government services, to online banking and bill payment options. Public Internet access points are there to provide additional services and the opportunity to reap time/money savings to all the Maltese community - especially to those who have no means or access to ICT.

Policy Context

The Ministry’s strategic objectives and main responsibilities are to address the digital divide at all levels in society, and simultaneously improve and enhance the quality of life of the citizens. The Ministry’s ICT strategic priorities are focused on developing the Maltese information society and economy at a local and international level and strengthening the diffusion of ICT in Government and further down to Maltese citizens.

Description of target users and groups

Those who have no access to ICT.

Technology solution

The basic idea is to increase the usage of wireless LANs of existing broadband subscribers. These, uses only a small fraction of the line’s capacity, so spreading internet availability for passing or visiting users in urban and suburban areas, increases automatically, internet penetration. Technology choice: Proprietary technology, Standards-based technology

Main results, benefits and impacts

All Government agencies are moving from the traditional office work practice to the electronic service delivery of e-Government with a wide array of services available online, and this has been matched by the establishment of an ever increasing number of public Internet access points. There is no need for the latest computer and training to access online government services. The Government has developed this expansive network of public Internet access points to enable all citizens to access services, including Government services, online. The goal of the Public Internet Access Point Project (PIAP) that was launched in 2000 was to expand and stimulate further usage of information society in Malta and Gozo and at the same time obtain information. This type of initiative also broadened educational opportunities and the accessibility of modern technologies to different age groups within the population is a step in this direction.

Return on investment

Return on investment: Not applicable / Not available

Track record of sharing

This project involved the installation of circa 100 Public Internet Access Points, located at strategic areas. PIAP’s provide a dual service: a normal payphone and free access to a specifically designed internet portal. These PIAP’s are a state of the art web phones, which are in themselves an attractive technology masterpiece, that for sure have upgraded the image of the country, placing it amongst those countries leading the information world.

Lessons learnt

Lesson 1 - It is critical to protect against vandalism. Lesson 2 - Essential to control regularly that such PIAPs function properly. Scope: National