The Internet and applications building upon it represent an important - perhaps the most important - basis for economic growth and social progress. Therefore, A1 Telekom Austria Group sees it as ist responsibility to not only accelerate the expansion of its broadband infrastructure but also to reduce the "digital divide" and to promote competent and safe Internet use by means of targeted measures.
According to a 2018 estimate by the International Telecommunication Union (ITU), some 41 % people around the world currently lack Internet access. The countries in which A1 Telekom Austria Group operates also experience huge differences in usage. While 13 % of Austria's households are not using the Internet and thus lack the same degree of access to comprehensive knowledge and educational content. In Bulgaria 36.6 %, 25.6 % in Belarus or 32.9 % in the Croatia have never been "online" in 2018. People of advanced age, of low socio-economic status, those living in rural areas and women, in particular, are disadvantaged when it comes to using the Internet as a source of information and communication.
A1 Telekom Austria Group started the media literacy initiative "A1 Internet for All" in Austria in 2011 and until 2014 rolled it out in similar projects and initiatives in all the Group's countries. In the framework of free Internet usage trainings, participants acquire the competence required to actively take part in social life in the digital age.
The A1 Telekom Austria Group’s goal was to train 150,000 participants in various workshops for children, young people, adults and seniors by 2018. By the end of 2018, there were more than 180,000 participations in media literacy training, surpassing the Group’s target.
The founding of the Austria-wide initiative "A1 Internet for All" in 2011 marked the starting signal for this Group-wide initiative. using free media competence trainings, more than 160,000 participants could be reached in the course of some 12,000 workshops in seven years (as of year-end 2018).
These Internet workshops are held at three permanent locations in Vienna, Klagenfurt, Salzburg and Linz as well as at social insitutions and "on tour" all over Austria. The course offerings include some 30 different classes: From entry-level workshops like "How to read with a computer mouse" for the little ones to "Using the Internet on a tablet or smart phone" for seniors. Complementary workshops for teachers and informational events for parents and grandparents are held additionally. A positive and safe introduction into the digital world is the basis for the further successful consolidation.
The initiative "A1 Internet for All" collaborates with more than 30 partners from the educational and social sector. Furthermore, the programme is supported by more than 4,500 A1 employees, from the CEO to apprentices, have provided help and support in this trainings so far.
To make sure this contribution to bridging the digital divide in Austria can be measured, the initiative is scientifically evaluated by Vienna University for Economcs and Business Administration's NPO Competence Centre. The NPO Competence Centre confirms that, with its media competence initiative "A1 Internet for All", A1 has contributed significantly to bridging the digital divide in Austria. The recommendation rate is 99% in 2018.
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In 2014, A1 in Bulgaria joined the group-wide initiative "A1 Internet for All" and has been running workshops on safe internet use for children and adults since. A corporate volunteering program supports the lectures.
Brochures - supporting the initiative - show that parents and children learn from each other in the dynamic digital life.
Likewise, workshops for parents of employees were held. Here, the focus was on older Internet beginners.
Until the end of 2018 more than 7,500 children and seniors took part in different workshops and lectures.
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Internet for all (Bulgarian)
In partnership with Center for Missing and Exploited Children, the Croatian susbsidiary actively participated in the EU co-funded project “Safer Internet Center Croatia: Making Internet a good and safe place”. The project’s main goal was to inform children, parents and a broader community about the better and safer use of the Internet as well as related potential dangers.
As part of the Safer Internet Day 2019, A1 Croatia has signed the Charter on Security and Protection of Children on the Internet, which aims to show a common commitment to the goal of creating better Internet and launch of the SINI platform. The platform's aim is to make available and consolidate on one place the online security content for children, young people, parents, teachers, professors and other professionals. The project has been carried out in cooperation with the Croatian Regulatory authority for Network Industries (HAKOM), Centre for Missing and Abused Children (CNZD), A1 Croatia and other telecom operators on the Croatian market.
Slovenia A1 also makes it possible for people to take part in the digital world with equal opportunities. It thereby focusses on senior citizens. A dedicated concept on Media Literacy trainings was developed in corporation with the University of Maribor and implemented into the workshop series “Senior Hours” and “A1 Slovenija Data Hours”.
Involving employees significantly contributes to the workshop's quality. Thanks to excellent supervisory relationships, the participating seniors are given the chance to digitally educate themselves at their own speed and in a way tailored to their own requirements. About 12,000 participants have been reached with the initiative since 2013 (as of year-end 2018).
The subsidiary of the Republic of Serbia has made its goal to make it easier for their population to enter the digital world and to improve their competences in the use of new technologies.
Since 2014, Vip mobile has been organizing free digital workshops for people of advanced age who thus acquire basic knowledge in the field of computer, internet and various digital devices. So far, 14 workshops were held throughout Serbia, with more than 280 participants.
In order to provide rural areas with internet access and enhance the quality of educational materials in elementary schools. Vip mobile has initiated the project “4G classrooms”. Access to digital content in 25 schools in rural areas is enabled through the Vip 4G network. Vip mobile has launched the platform “Bezbedni klinci” for digital moms and dads which, through articles, psychological Q&A and entertaining content, educates parents how to use the Internet in the best and safest way with their children.
Being "digital natives", today's children and adolescents regard mobile phones and the Internet as matter-of-fact part of their daily lives. That's why - also in the Republic of North-Macedonia - a lot of attention is given to safe Internet use by children.
The initiative named “The internet is not just a game… Click safely!” in the Republic of North-Macedonia included 820 4th grade pupils from 10 elementary schools in Skopje. More than 15 Vip employees volunteered and educated the children and enriched their knowledge concerning the internet, how to safely be part of the world network, at the same time teaching them how to protect their personal data.