The Internet and applications building upon it represent an important - perhaps the most important - basis for economic growth and social progress. Therefore, Telekom Austria Group sees it as ist responsibility to not only accelerate the expansion of its broadband infrastructure but also to reduce the "digital divide" and to promote competent and safe Internet use by means of targeted measures.
According to a 2014 estimate by the International Telecommunication Union (ITU), some 4 billion people around the world currently lack Internet access, 90 % of which are living in developing nations. The countries in which Telekom Austria Group operates also experience huge differences in usage. While 15 % of Austria's population are not using the Internet and thus lack the same dgree of access to comprehensive knowledge and educational content, the percentage of people that habe never been online amounted to a whopping 42 % in Bulgaria and Belarus and even 48 % in the Republic of Serbia. People of advanced age, people of low socio-economic status, those living in rural areas and women, in particular, are disadvantaged when it comes to using the Internet as a source of information and communication.
Telekom Austria Group started the media literacy initiative "Internet for All" in Austria in 2011 and until 2014 rolled it out in all the Group's countries. In the framework of free Internet usage trainings, participants acquire the competence required to actively take part in social life in the digital age.
The founding of the Austria-wide initiative "A1 Internet for All" in 2011 marked the starting signal for this Group-wide initiative. using free media competence trainings, more than 115,000 participants could be reached in the course of some 8,500 workshops in five years.
These Internet workshops are held at three permanent locations in Vienna, Klagenfurt and Salzburg as well as at social insitutions and "on tour" all over Austria. The course offerings include some 30 different classes: From entry-level workshops like "How to read with a computer mouse" for the little ones to "Using the Internet on a tablet or smart phone" for seniors. Complementary workshops for teachers and informational events for parents and grandparents are held additionally. A positive and safe introduction into the digital world is the basis for the further successful consolidation.
The initiative "A1 Internet for All" collaborates with more than 30 partners from the educational and social sector. Furthermore, the programme is supported by A1 employees, from the CEO to apprentices, have provided help and support in thes trainings so far.
To make sure this contribution to bridging the digital divide in Austria can be measured, the initiative is scientifically evaluated by Vienna University for Economcs and Business Administration's NPO Competence Centre. The NPO Competence Centre confirms that, with its media competence initiative "A1 Internet for All", A1 has contributed significantly to bridging the digital divide in Austria.
Further Information and Downloads:
A1 Internet for All (German)
Mobiltel initiated the "Internet of All" Initiative in 2014 to promote safe and competent internet use by children and adolescents in Bulgaria. They started with workshops during which, accompanied by Mobiltel employees, children taking their first steps on the Internet were sensitised for existing risks and hazards on the Internet in a playfull manner.
In 2015, 1,100 children and adolescents were thus instructed on the responsible use of digital media in the course of different initiatives. Since 2016, the initiative also focusses on the generation over 55 years of age. Brochures additionally support the initiative.
To prepare children for possible hazards on the Internet and to sensitise them about the topic of data protection, Coratioan Vipnet initiated the "Safe Click" workshop as early as 2013. It is held in the framework of the outdoor event "Scientific Picnic", one of the most popular children's event's in Coratia. In the course of the Safe Click workshop, children are made aware of potential hazards and risks on the Internet.
The organisers of the Safer Internet Day, the National Centre for Missing and Exploited Children, with the support of the European Commission and domestic partners (Vipnet), hold Skype workshops on safe and better use of the Internet. They aim at making adolescents and seniors familiar with a responsable use of modern technology.
Slovenian Si.mobil also makes it possible for people to take part in the digital world with equal opportunities. It thereby focusses on seniors. A dedicated concept on mediating digital competences was developed and, for the first time, implemented into the workshop series Senior Hours and Si.mobil Data Hours. Involving employees significantly contributes to the workshop's quality. Thanks to excellent supervisory relationships, the participating seniors are given the chanceto gigtally educate themselves at their own speed and in a way tailored to their own requirements. The initiative has so far reached more than 6,000 participants.
Vip mobile has made its goal to make it easier for Serbia's elderly population to enter the digital world and to improve their competences in the use of new technologies. Since 2014, the focus is on promoting the media competence of seniors. A series of workshops consisting of 8 different modules was initiated: The basics of computer and Internet use, handling and using social networks, enternet telephony as well as the use of tablets ans smart phones are central elements of this series. Togehter with trainers from the Organisation for Cross-Generational Cooperation for People over the Age of 55, volunteering Vip mobile employees guide the participants through the programme.
Beeing "digital natives", today's children and adolescents regard mobile phones and the Internet as matter-of-fact parts of their daily lives. That's why - also in the Republic of Macedonia - a lot of attention is paid to safe Internet use by children. Thus, one.Vip has been offering workshops for the school classes of employees children in the framework of the Surf skilfully, surf smart initiative, focussing on the safe and competent use of the Internet and meaningful use of social media, since 2013. Since it start, some 500 children were able to increase their know-how surrounding the Internet and are now on the path to becoming Internet experts.