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Creating an Information Society for All
Turk Telecom, Turkey’s largest provider of information communications connectivity, has renewed its Business Call to Action (BCtA) commitment to provide 7,500 visually impaired people across Turkey with critical access to information by 2020 through a free audio book service -Books on the Phone. Books on the Phone allows disabled customers to reach GETEM’s audio books via their phones free of charge; its simplified technology makes the service accessible to everyone regardless of age or education level. And providing the service free of charge to those with visual impairments also mitigates economic barriers faced by people with disabilities. The company has also committed to connect thousands of people with disabilities nationwide with affordable phone, internet and other digital services.
In Turkey alone, there are 800,000 people who are visually impaired. For many, adaptive technologies critical for access to education, employment and social inclusion are out of reach. Only 1.5 percent of people with disabilities in Turkey have a primary education and 78 percent are unemployed. Many are effectively are cut off from information, essential services and opportunities – especially in rural areas.
Türk Telekom became the first Turkish company to join BctA in 2013 with its ‘Life is Simple with Internet’ initiative, aimed at enabling people disconnected from the digital world to become internet users. Targeting people 35 and over in 50 of Turkey’s most underdeveloped cities, the project raised awareness about basic internet use, security, online banking, social networks and other communication tools, online shopping, e-government and other services.
Following the success of Life is Simple with Internet, the company relaunched ‘Books on the Phone’ in early 2016 supported with inclusive business understanding with accessible life tariffs, making hundreds of audio books from the Boğaziçi University Assistive Technology and Education Laboratory for Individuals with Visual Disabilities (GETEM) available free of charge via Türk Telecom’s nationwide infrastructure.
Türk Telekom is using this innovative platform to raise national awareness of the need for access to information for people with disabilities – and the company’s ability to respond to these needs. Up-to-date, visually impaired people had accessed the fixline service over 200,000 times and usage time exceeded 4.5 million minutes. The mobile access by Books on the Phone application has been downloaded over 10.000 times.
Following its initial success and a major increase in the number of books offered, the company redesigned the service with improved infrastructure and new features. A voice menu has been added to make it more user friendly and enable users to find their favorite books faster. The initiative has also inspired Türk Telecom to launch another inclusive project, ‘Accessible Life’, which offers preferential pricing for people with disabilities on mobile access, internet and TV.
Turk Telecom joined Business Call to Action (BCtA) with a commitment to broaden internet access and literacy training, pledging to expand internet access and educational opportunities to remote areas in Turkey by 2015.
Mert Basar, Turk Telecom interview at BCtA 2014 Forum.Mert Basar, Turk Telecom interview at BCtA 2014 Forum.
28 Aug 2017 - Türk Telekom makes a new Business Call to Action commitment to include people with disabilities in Turkey’s digital revolution Istanbul, 28 August 2017 – Türk Telekom, Turkey’s largest provider of information...