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Community Information Center: Serving information to the Rural Bangladesh

I believe communication is the key of progress. Community information center, a project of GrameenPhone, is to make communication easy and fast for Bangladeshi rural people. GrameenPhone Community Information Center is a shared premise; where rural people can have access to wide range of state of art services such as Internet, voice communications, video conferencing and all other information services.

Community Information Center

Set up with technical assistance from the GSM Association, the GrameenPhone Community Information Centers (GPCICs) are equipped with the minimum of a computer, a printer, a scanner, a web cam and an EDGE-enabled modem to access the Internet using EDGE connectivity.

The pilot project in February 2006, which started with 16 CICs, has become a massive operation with over 500 CICs running in around 450 Upazilla’s. The short-term plan of this initiative is to establish CICs in all the 462 Upazilla’s. In the long run GrameenPhone plans to increase the number of CICs substantially so that every CIC can support the information needs to 4 adjacent villages.

The GPCICs are designed to run independently as small businesses by local entrepreneurs of Bangladesh. The entrepreneurs are trained and provided with continuous support by GrameenPhone. In order to help the entrepreneurs to earn more Community Information, Centers also provide local people with other GrameenPhone services, such as payphones (again using GrameenPhone mobile network) and electronic recharges (Flexi load) for prepaid and postpaid mobile accounts.

This initiative by GrameenPhone is in line to serve some of its long-term commitment to the community. These include:

  • Bridging the digital divide by providing information access to rural people.

  • Alleviating poverty.

  • Educating the underserved and underprivileged on information-based service.

  • Building local entrepreneurships and improve capacity.

  • Create employment for unemployed youth. This initiative is part of GrameenPhone’s drive to do something good for the society, the rural people who are the major portion of the population of the country. This is a unique business model that has attracted appreciation from International bodies like Washington Post, UNDP as well as the blessings of several International bodies like Catalyst, GSMA.

The services available in the GPCICs include:

  • Internet surfing and e-mailing content on health, agriculture and more

  • Locally relevant customized and open content

  • Chatting with Voice, Picture

  • Video conferencing

  • Computer Composing

  • Scanning, Printing

  • Commercial Mobile Call

  • E-governance services

  • GP value added services such as FlexiLoad, Ring tones downloading etc.

  • E-Fax

  • CD Writing

  • Telemedicine services

  • Multimedia education for children (Meena Cartoon, courtesy of UNDP)


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