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Internet roadshow hits Swiss cities

Only 22 per cent of the over 50-year olds use the internet swissinfo.ch

The Swiss government has launched a campaign to teach more people about the wonders of the internet.

This content was published on October 3, 2003 - 15:01

On Friday a high-tech van made the first stop of a nationwide roadshow in the lakeside town of Biel, targeting immigrants, the elderly and the less web-savvy.

The “Tour-de-Clic” project is part of a campaign by the Federal Office of Communications (Ofcom) to bridge the technological divide – both at home and across the globe.

“Internet technology should be actively used to promote the development of democracy. It does not belong to a museum,” the communications minister, Moritz Leuenberger, said at European e-government conference last summer.

According to Ofcom, only 45 per cent use of Swiss use the internet several times a week, while 60 per cent occasionally surf the web.

The statistics also show a big discrepancy in internet usage between graduates and non-graduates, with 77 per cent of people with a university degree using the internet, but only 25 per cent of people with no higher education surfing the web.

The Swiss Refugee Council, however, questions the project's usefulness.

“It is not really attractive for immigrants as the courses are mainly in German, French or Italian,” Jürg Schertenleib of the Refugee Council told swissinfo.

“I also doubt whether elderly people and immigrants, who are often younger, should attend the same courses. They are two completely different target groups with two different life philosophies.”

New technology

Younger people are also far more likely to use the internet. Over 60 per cent of 20 to 29 year olds regularly surf the web, as opposed to a mere 22 per cent of over 50s.

The “Tour-de-Clic” van, which is equipped with several computers, will be on tour for the next three weeks, visiting ten towns and cities across Switzerland.

It aims to inform internet novices about the wonders of the new technology and inform them about computer classes and where they can find access to public computers.

The roadshow - which is costing Ofcom around SFr100,000 ($75,775) - comes two months ahead of the United Nations World Summit on the Information Society, being held in Geneva.

A key aim of the conference is to find ways to bring information technology to developing countries.

swissinfo with agencies

Key facts

The van will stop in Biel, Langenthal, Zurich, Chur, Lugano, Bellinzona, Locarno, Vevey, La Chaux-de-Fonds and Geneva.
The Federal Office for Communications wants to bridge the digital divide in Switzerland.
Some 45 per cent of Swiss use the internet more than once a week.

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