Friday, June 20, 2014

UPU highlights “untapped potential” for post offices to expand Internet access

Dear Comrades,

The Universal Postal Union is calling on the world’s policymakers to take advantage of “untapped potential” for using post office networks to improve public access to the Internet.

A new report issued to a high-level meeting in Geneva has suggested all post offices around the globe need to be connected with information and communications technologies, and help improve broadband Internet access.

The report of the International Telecommunication Union’s World Summit on the Information Society said according to 2012 data on 81 countries and their combined 174,493 post offices (out of the global 640,000), only 31% have broadband Internet access.

And, only 10% of those post offices are used to provide public Internet access.
The half million post offices in developing countries, and post offices in outlying and remote areas offer particular potential to help connect people through information technology, the report suggested.
The report said 59% of post offices in developed countries are equipped with broadband Internet access, compared to 21% in developing countries, but just 19% of post offices in developed countries and 9% in developing countries offer public Internet access to their customers.
Among the best countries in the world for providing public Internet access via post offices are Albania, Mauritius and Russia.


“Broadband Internet access via the postal network in rural and underserved communities provides opportunities for small and medium business enterprises (SMEs) to participate in e-commerce opportunities, for example, selling their goods to more affluent urban or overseas markets, while using the post office as a facilitator for the exchange of goods, payments and related services,” the report stated.
“A connected post office network is also an important asset for governments to increase democracy and
social inclusion via the provision of e-government services such as identity, registrations, licenses and social services.”
Speaking at the event, UPU director general Bishar A Hussein said: “Posts are important national infrastructures for social, economic and digital inclusion.”
Hussein said the UPU was prioritising its own activities linked to e-commerce, financial inclusion and trade facilitation as Posts go through a “radical” period of transformation responding to the global decline in letter volumes, adding that these activities are reliant on an efficient information society.
“We are at the forefront of providing services to billions of customers around the world, and technology is playing a fundamental role,” he said.

Source: Post&Parcel/UPU

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