With some sense of what could influence telecenters being used for their intended purposes – given its mix of generic ICT offerings – information, connectedness and devices, they – in their many forms – can be attempted to be understood by the ensuing framework.
This framework has three base components: (1) Information & Services portfolio, (2) Organizational Setup and (3) Information Infrastructure, which with their varying degrees of influence, characterize telecenters.
Further – access, awareness and interface – (the critical elements in ‘making IT used’) in telecenters are also the derivatives of these above mentioned three components.
In many cases, to be commercially viable, telecenters have drawn from the experiences of profit-oriented entities, where keeping revenues up and costs low becomes a priority. Telecenters with Cyber Cafes models are a good example of this kind. Therefore, this factor also gets positioned along with the base parameters and helps understand the holistic picture.
Information and Services portfolio:
The information and services needs of the communities are often under-captured (in many instances because of incapacity in articulation). Nonetheless, the availability of relevant and adequate information and services has been understood to be of great significance in getting the telecenters visited and used by members of the communities. Furthermore, partnership with appropriate service providers further enhances the scope of deliveries at telecenters and its influence.
How telecenters are managed – either as stand-alone setups or part of a network – organizational arrangements play an important role in characterizing the telecenters. Management structures, including ownership arrangements at different levels (especially when the telecenters were functioning in a ‘hub and spoke’ model – having many telecenters linked with a hub centre for support services), influences its usage patterns. Responsibilities at these different levels also vary, from running day-to-day operations in a single unit to strategic tasks and applicable organization-wide – such as building partnerships with service providers, developing standard operating procedures, etc.
The available hard and soft infrastructure such as connectivity, electricity and community ownership in a specific location not only influences the decision of setting up telecenters but also affects the range of information and services being delivered through these setups. This parameter influences online and offline delivery modes of many information and services in telecentres.