Digital Competence Centres (DCCs), telecentres or digital literacy centres – to mention but a few of their names, began to be deployed in Spain, and in the rest of Europe, in the 90’s. Telecentres emerged in a particular social and economic setting, with the rise of technologies which changed society completely, such as personal computers, the internet and mobile communications.
Most of these centres were established in rural areas, with the purpose of fostering and speeding up broad band internet connectivity in such areas, as well as of reducing the digital gap of the local population, especially that of groups having major difficulties in accessing new technologies. We may define telecentres as public centres providing access, awareness and training in the use of the internet and technologies.
They have technologically equipped classrooms, their differentiating aspect being the fact that they are driven by professionals who are in charge of providing technological advice and delivering training actions enabling different beneficiaries to access the services of the Information Society.
Over these years, telecentres have evolved from being initially centres granting free internet access and basic training in technological tools to centres of expertise for boosting digital competences and the digital transformation of citizens, becoming key instruments for the development of Information Society policies and the Digital Agenda within regional and local governments.
These centres generate a significant volume of citizen innovation linked to the use of technology: they help accessing and assimilating technological changes, they are connectors for local resources, and their driving agents are specialised in managing change in local settings as they encourage a smarter use of technologies by citizens, entrepreneurs and SMEs, thus increasing social value and economic impact at the local level. Following a period marked by a strong economic crisis, Digital Competence Centres are gaining strength again, being now more necessary than ever.
Asociación Somos Digital. March 2020.