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Press release

Help Point: partnership between Swisscom and seco

01 June 2005

Through the Help Point education initiative, Swisscom, in partnership with the State Secretariat for Economic Affairs (seco), is offering a helping hand to everyone who has not yet fully got to grips with modern means of communication. The initiative is intended to prevent a sort of "digital divide" opening up in the population, and this year will offer courses on mobile phones and the Internet at four fixed and 41 mobile locations throughout Switzerland. Swisscom and seco will be increasing the number of Help Points on an ongoing basis.

Through the Help Points, Swisscom and seco want to reach out to people who have not grown up with mobile phones and the Internet. The courses are open to everyone, regardless of whether or not they are a Swisscom customer. Anyone who is uncertain about using the new media has the opportunity to attend a course and receive some expert assistance and advice geared towards boosting their confidence with regard to the new communication technologies available. This should help to prevent a sort of "digital divide" opening up between different sections of the population. Users will learn how to access information more easily and discover the full capabilities of the technology.

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.

Mobile course locations: buses will visit 41 locations this year

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.

Swisscom Help Point is in line with the goals of seco's new regional policy.

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 the "Internet for Schools" initiative

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,, +41 31 342 91 93
seco, Rudolf Schiess, Head of Regional Planning, +41 79 237 07 29

Berne, 1 June 2005


Swisscom AG
Media Relations
3050 Bern