The eBario Telecentre - gatuman@bario - began life in 1998 as a research project under Universiti Malaysia Sarawak (UNIMAS) with initial funding from the International Development Research Centre of the Canadian Government and subsequent support from the Malaysian Government's Demonstrator Application Grants Scheme. The e-Bario project provided public telephones, computers for the two schools, a community telecentre with computers and with satellite access to the internet.
The objective is to demonstrate the opportunities for sustainable development in a remote and isolated community from the use of Information and Communication Technologies, and how they can be applied to the problems and opportunities for development among communities of ethnic minorities. E-Bario is featured by the International Telecommunications Union as “one of the most notable of Malaysia’s Internet development initiatives."
The telecentre supports education, e-government services, e-commerce, e-health, tele-medicine and personal communication. It is powered by an innovative hybrid system of solar panels and a diesel generator. Internet access is provided through the use of solar-powered VSAT (very small aperture terminal), a satellite telecommunication system, a pioneering application of this technology in rural Malaysia.
eBario was funded by IDRC (Canadian Government) and the Demonstrator Application Scheme of the Malaysian Government, administered by MIMOS. In view of eBario’s success and international acclaim for the innovative application of ICT to sustain social and economic development in rural communities, the Ministry of Science, Technology and Innovation (under the Demonstrators Application Grant Scheme) has recently awarded a RM4 million grant to the UNIMAS eBario team for them to replicate the eBario project in five remote sites in Malaysia.
The eBario telecentre Project has received the following recognition:
Gold Medal of the Commonwealth Association of Public Administration and Management (CAPAM)International Innovations Awards in Sydney, Australia on 25th October 2006.
- Mondialogo Engineering Award by UNESCO and Daimler-Chrysler in partnership with OSEAN, Cambridge University UK, Engineers without Borders UK, Berlin, 31 May 2005
- eAsia Award by Asia Pacific Council for Trade Facilitation and Electronic Business, Taipei, 24 September 2004
- Demonstrators' Application Grant Scheme 2004 Convention – Special Mention Anugerah Perdana Teknologi Maklumat IT Premier Award – Presented by Prime Minster of Malaysia, 18 December 2003.
- Special presentation on e-Bario at 2003 World Summit on Information Society (WSIS) by Strategy and Policy Unit of ITU (ITU-SPU).
- Industry Innovators Award for Systems Development and Applications by Society of Satellite Professionals International on March 6th, 2002, Washington DC.
- Bario as one of the Top Seven Intelligent Communities 2001 by World Teleport Association.