01 June 2005
The prerequisite for using these means of communication is the widespread availability of the new technologies. This is largely guaranteed in Switzerland. Both the mobile networks and the broadband infrastructure have been expanded significantly over the last few years, and coverage now extends even to outlying areas.
The courses will take place at four permanent locations in Basle, Berne, Lausanne and Zurich. There are also four buses that this year will visit 41 locations across Switzerland. In 2006, the bus tour will be extended to around 70 communities.
The programme currently comprises two courses on using mobile phones and three on using the Internet, with a focus on safe surfing. An expanded programme is already planned for next year and will also encompass the needs of SMEs with regard to the new media.
Help Point will help to alleviate the concerns regarding new means of communication felt by a section of the population and promote know-how in this area. The Help Point activities will also support the goals of the federal government's new regional policy, which aims to increase the competitiveness of mountain regions, other rural areas and border regions in order to help create and sustain jobs in these areas.
It is with this in mind that the State Secretariat for Economic Affairs (seco) has entered into partnership with Swisscom as part of its new regional policy. The partnership is particularly relevant with regard to the mobile Help Points, which visit regional centres in order to provide on-site courses.
Help Point complements Swisscom's "Internet for Schools" initiative, which has been underway since August 2001 and aims to provide all of Switzerland's 5,000 schools with free, broadband Internet access by 2006. Through the "Internet for Schools" initiative, Swisscom is helping the younger generation become familiar with the Internet and use it constructively. Over 3,000 schools have already taken advantage of the initiative.
The two initiatives complement each other perfectly. "Internet for Schools" ensures that all schoolchildren enjoy the same opportunities to learn about the new media, while Help Point gives people who did not grow up with modern means of communication the chance to consolidate and improve their knowledge of the new possibilities available to them.
For further information please contact
Swisscom Ltd, Group Media Relations, email@example.com, +41 31 342 91 93
seco, Rudolf Schiess, Head of Regional Planning, +41 79 237 07 29
Berne, 1 June 2005