In March 2000, the European Council in Lisbon, proposed initiative "eEurope", and set goal for making the European Union (EU) the world's most competitive and dynamic knowledge-based economy where each citizen will have access to new information communication technologies. Most of European countries are already following this initiative and Lithuania, an EU member, is not an exception. In the Lithuania that has about 23 000 small villages and where 33 percent (2007) of the population lives in rural areas, RIAPs are one of the most important source of access to the global information society. Development of RIAPs network is a project with the aim to set up and provide computer services and Internet access mostly to small communities in rural and remote areas of Lithuania. During 2007-2008, 400 public internet access points will be opened to Lithuanian people in rural areas. The project "Development of Rural Internet Access Points Network" is financed by EU Structural funds and Lithuanian government and is implemented by the Ministry of Interior. This initiative is generating new IT knowledge influencing the development of economics, social life, education and decrease of unemployment in rural areas. After implementation of the project in 2008 Lithuania will have the biggest number (875) of established RIAPs (considering population density) in EU.
Description of target users and groups
About 33% of the residents of Lithuania (1,3 million) live in rural areas. Internet access is quite complicated in rural areas, especially in remote areas. 40 per cent of households use the Internet at home. In urban areas each second, in rural areas only each fourth (23 per cent) household had Internet access at home.
Main results, benefits and impacts
The project is at the implementation phase and will be accomplished in March 2008. The project directly will impact on about half million of people but the benefits created by the project will be available for all rural residents 1,3 million people.
The project is focused on residents of remote rural areas expecting to enlarge the RIAPs network with new 400 RIAPs in rural areas of Lithuania and integrate all existing RIAPs into unified administration system, thus allowing all people to use IT technologies independently of place of their residence.
Return on investment
Return on investment: Not applicable / Not available
Track record of sharing
Country wide meetings held with target groups informing about projects aims. Dissemination of information in local and national newspapers and web page. The project RIAPs-2 is well known because of then previous successful implementation of the project RIAPs-1.
Lesson 1 - Development of IT infrastructure in remote areas is a key factor for digital divide reduction.
Lesson 2 - Libraries are the most successful places for establishing rural internet access points in Lithuania.
Lesson 3 - There is a strong need of IT infrastructure in remote areas.