Romania is to start a project aimed at computerizing the country's rural areas and small cities, Communications and Information Technology Minister Iuliu Winkler, said on Friday.
Under the project, known as the Knowledge-Based Economy, a electronic network will be set up covering 260 villages and towns with less than 30,000 residents.
It is expected to computerize 472 schools where some 125,000 pupils study, and offer Internet services to 1.74 million people, accounting for 17.7 percent of the total number of residents living in the country's rural areas and small cities.
It will cost 69.4 million U.S. dollars, 60 million of which will come from a 15-year World Bank loan and the rest will be paid with the government's budget.
Preparations for the project are nearing the end, said Winkler.