Information and Communication Technology (ICT)
Information Technology at NAFRI has not gained a great momentum due the short time since the Internet found its way into Laos. The use and availability of the Internet is still scarce and in an early stage and the Lao lack of resources and economical situation is one obstacle in the way to further integrate ICT into the Lao community. However, various donors are interested in contributing to the development in Laos and in NAFRI. A well developed plan is needed to attract those potential donors as well as to coordinate their efforts.
The "ICT Plan and Policy" is based upon the "NAFRI Information Technology Plan" , created within the Swedish IT University's "Communication Systems Design 2003" project "NAFRI/NUOL ICT infrastructure" This project was sponsored by the Swedish International Development Agency (Sida)  to investigate and evaluate the existing ICT infrastructure in NAFRI/NUOL and propose appropriate solutions on how it can be improved as part of Sida's interest in supporting the ICT development in NAFRI/NUOL and Laos in general.
This is a complementary document to the already existing "NAFRI Information Service Strategy (2003-2010)"  developed by the Strategic Planning, Information Management, and Database Division at NAFRI. The "ICT Plan and Policy" identifies the needs of NAFRI and goes into details of how those needs could be met in the area of networking, services, human resources and policies.
There is an increasing awareness regarding the importance of improving ICT in the NAFRI community. The efforts made were limited by the resources available to the organization as well as the geographical barriers that make it difficult to implement ICT in a center that has neither a phone line nor electricity. The following sections discuss the current situation at NAFRI centers, and identify the needs of each center individually. It also goes into depth on examining possible alternatives to meet NAFRI needs and it describes how the proposed alternative could be implemented.
Internet and Information Services
The lack of ICT administration and management skills make it difficult for NAFRI to provide its own Information Services. Long term training and investment is needed to get the capacity to support this option. Therefore it is suggested to find suitable, already developed, management systems and adjusting those for the needs of NAFRI and its centers.
Besides basic computer services as printing facilities etc. only two services are available across all centers: e-mail and web, provided by NAFRI HQ. Some centers also have Internet access, a must for being able to use those two services. Once having built an Intranet, all services will be available without the need of Internet access, except for the Internet access service of course. To ensure the availability of the services, network infrastructure must be implemented and functional.
The following action point list points out the most important services to be introduced within the following years and should be reviewed when all issues have been implemented:
- Internet access
- Web page
- Open computer area
- Dial-in access
The following sections discuss detailed the services needed and suggestion a time schedule for when to develop those.