QuickLinks - Digital divide
QuickLinks - Digital divide
Issue no. 402 - 18 October 2009
- UK - Olympic aim to get Britons online
The race is on to get as many British people online as possible by 2012, Martha Lane Fox has told the BBC. As the government's new Digital Champion she has been charged with getting millions online who are not yet connected to the internet. Speaking to BBC Business Editor Robert Peston, Ms Lane Fox said she wanted a "virtual race" to coincide with preparations for the 2012 Olympics.
Issue no. 392 - 5 October 2008
- One Laptop signs up with Amazon
The One Laptop Per Child (OLPC) organisation has signed a deal with Amazon to sell its low cost laptops. The online retailer will help with its next Give 1 Get 1 (G1G1) programme that is due to begin in late November.
Issue no. 388 - 1 June 2008
- XO laptop now shipping with Windows XP
The One Laptop per Child project (OLPC) and Microsoft have agreed to start testing XO laptops with an adapted version of Windows XP. According to a press release, the first computers will be delivered to students in developing countries from June. Windows XP will be part of a software package costing $3. The release says that as the task of increasing the level of education in poor countries is too big for any single organisation, Microsoft and OLPC are committed to working with governments and non-governmental organisations.
Issue no. 385 - 21 March 2008
- Bringing the poor online
The mobile-phone industry returned from its mammoth annual trade show, 3GSM, held earlier this month in Barcelona, gloating over its successful year. More than 3 billion (almost half the world's population) now have mobiles, and the price of a phone has sunk as low as $25. There are now more mobile-phone subscribers in poor countries than rich ones. That would have been unimaginable a decade ago. But the next digital hurdle - providing internet access - will be much harder to surmount, for both economic and geographical reasons.
Issue no. 363 - 25 June 2006
- EU - Declaration on digital divide
A pan-European drive to use information and communication technologies to help people to overcome economic, social, educational, territorial or disability-related disadvantages has just been endorsed by ministers of 34 European countries in Riga (Latvia). "e-Inclusion" targets include halving the gap in Internet usage by groups at risk of exclusion, boosting broadband coverage in Europe to at least 90%, and making all public web sites accessible by 2010. See Commission Press Release and FAQ.
Issue no. 359 - 9 May 2006
- UN - Global Alliance for ICT and Development launched
United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan has approved the launch of a Global Alliance for Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) and Development. The mission of the Global Alliance for ICT and Development will be to facilitate and promote integration of information and communication technology into development activities by providing a platform for an open, inclusive, multi-stakeholder cross-sectoral policy dialogue on the role of information and communication technology in development.
Issue no. 336 - 3 April 2005
- UK - Digital divisions tackled head-on
A seven-point plan to tackle Britain's 'digital divide' has been unveiled by the government. It will try to remove barriers such as cost, lack of training and confidence that keep some people off the internet. The plan involves a scheme to lease computers to pupils so they can access web-based teaching materials at home. Another project will see a 'digital challenge' prize awarded to the local authority which shows how the internet changes the way it works with citizens.
Issue no. 322 - 17 October 2004
- UK - Push to win over net 'refuseniks'
Businesses and charities have joined forces to end the UK's digital divide. It follows recommendations from the government in a report into the state of the digital divide in Britain. The report, Enabling a Digitally United Kingdom, says that nearly half of the adult population in the UK is what it describes as digitally disengaged. The Alliance for Digital Inclusion has been charged with finding ways of persuading the 48% of refuseniks to use the net and other new technologies. The alliance is led by the charity Citizens Online and founders include BT, AOL, Microsoft and Intel. The government report identifies the groups at most at risk of becoming farther excluded. This includes older people, those from lower socio-economic groups, the unemployed and the disabled"
Issue no. 309 - 9 May 2004
- Has Africa's ICT renaissance begun?
The efforts deployed by Africa to extend Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) access are bearing fruit, with more and more African nations embracing full-scale regulatory reform. Market liberalization and regulatory reform are designed to attract a surge of investment in the ICT sector and exploit the potential of low-cost technologies to provide affordable access to ICTs. The number of voice telephony subscribers (fixed and mobile combined) in Africa has more than doubled in the last three years. In 2003, Africa had 73 million total voice telephony subscribers (22 million fixed and 51 million mobile, up from a total of 35.4 million in 2000 (19.7 million fixed and 15.7 million mobile)! Policy and regulatory reforms are the primary reason for this phenomenal growth that has been highest in the mobile sector, where 90 per cent of African nations authorize competition in the provision of mobile services. However, only 73 per cent of the countries actually had competitive operators active in the mobile sector in 2003. see also What Does Broadband Offer For Africa?, Africa's Booming Mobile Markets: Can the Growth Curve Continue? and Mobile, Regional Carriers Bridge Digital Divide.
- Saving Lives With a Simple PDA
No single issue in IT is more important than figuring out how to use technology in the developing world. That's why Bridges.org, a unique nonprofit, wants to make sure the tools get used wisely.
Issue no. 294 - 14 December 2003
- Telecoms surge in third world
One issue that could not get resolved at the UN's World Summit on the Information Society this week was whether governments should create a 'digital solidarity fund' to help poor areas of the world connect to communications networks. But officials of the World Bank said that investments in telecommunications companies in Africa, Asia and the Caribbean were reaping annual rates of return in excess of 25 percent. The returns are even higher - about 40 percent to 50 percent - when license fees, taxes and other charges are excluded.
- WSIS - Local content key for digitally divided
The internet has spread its tentacles throughout the world, reaching communities all over the globe. But it is quite another thing to help local people figure out what to do with the technology once they get it. For some development activists who attended the UN World Summit on the Information Society in Geneva, the question was not going online, but about the content on the web.
- WSIS: Share ICT with impoverished economies says ITU
ITU Secretary-General and Secretary-General of the United Nations World Summit on the Information Society Yoshio Utsumi appealed to world leaders to share the bounty of powerful information and communication technologies (ICT) with the most impoverished economies, and to shape their use for a better world, at the United Nations World Summit on the Information Society.
Issue no. 292 - 23 November 2003
Issue no. 266 - 6 April 2003
- Is Africa ready for 3G?
Next-generation cell phone networks are arriving in Africa, a region some carriers view as an enormous business opportunity, despite widespread poverty.
Issue no. 259 - 9 February 2003
- Vietnam Wrestles With Internet Growth
Plans are in motion to quadruple the current number of Internet users in Vietnam to four million by 2005 and the country's fledgling information technology sector will get injections of $100 million over the next two years, an initial investment aimed at harnessing the Internet's economic potential.
Issue no. 246 - 29 September 2002
- Digital divide - Patently problematic
The report of the Commission on Intellectual Property Rights, convened by Britain's Department for International Development to look at how IPR can work to the benefit of the world's poor countries, sets out detailed recommendations for how developing countries should craft IPR to suit their conditions. Its central message is both clear and controversial: poor places should avoid committing themselves to rich-world systems of IPR protection unless such systems are beneficial to their needs. Nor should rich countries, which professed so much interest in "sustainable development" at the recent summit in Johannesburg, push for anything stronger. see Integrating Intellectual Property Rights and Development Policy (CIPR). see also Report: Nations need open source (ZDNet).
Issue no. 245 - 15 September 2002
- UK - Integrating Intellectual Property Rights and Development Policy
The idea of the Commission on Intellectual Property Rights originated in the UK Government's White Paper on International Development "Eliminating World Poverty: Making Globalisation Work for the Poor". The aim was "to look at the ways that intellectual property rules need to develop in the future in order to take greater account of the interests of developing countries and poor people."
Issue no. 238 - 22 June 2002
- U.N. warns on global digital divide
With only a fraction of nearly half the world's nations having access to telephones, the United Nations' telecommunications agency has warned that the gap between the information "haves" and "have nots" will continue to grow without concerted global action.
Issue no. 233 - 4 May 2002
- EU - e-Government and development: bridging the gap
Mr Erkki Liikanen Member of the European Commission, responsible for Enterprise and the Information Society, International Conference on e-Government for Development, Palermo, 11 April 2002.
- EU / Latin America - Action must be taken to reduce the 'digital divide,' say ministers
Government, the private sector and civil society must cooperate in the development and implementation of e-strategies in order to reduce the threat of a 'digital divide' opening up between technology 'haves' and 'have-nots', concluded participants at an EU, Latin America and Caribbean ministerial meeting on the information society in Seville, Spain, from 26 to 27 April. see Co-operation Programme ALliance for the Information Society with Latin America" (@LIS).
Issue no. 232 - 28 April 2002
- Developing countries - E-readiness Assessment
Who is Doing What and Where. There are a number of different organizations conducting e-readiness assessments in developing countries using a variety of tools. In its Comparison of E-readiness Assessment Tools, bridges.org evaluated major assessment models in terms of topics covered, level of detail, methodology and results. This paper builds on the comparison by looking at where e-readiness assessments have been carried out, and by whom.
- Mexico - Fears About Microsoft Return
(New York Times)
Microsoft is supplying thousands of discounted copies of its software in a deal with the Government of Mexico to help support the e-Mexico initiative. It is being criticized by legislators who fear that the deal will create a Microsoft monopoly in the country, and opponents are pushing for open-source alternatives.
Issue no. 228 - 17 March 2002
Issue no. 227 - 10 March 2002
- UK - Digital divisions split town and country
A joint study by IBM and Local Futures into the social effects of technology has found that some sectors of society are in danger of being entirely cut off from the benefits of technologies that keep people in touch while they travel.
Issue no. 223 - 10 February 2002
- Global Public-Private Partnership Launches to Deliver Digital Opportunity for All
The Markle Foundation and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) kicked off the Global Digital Opportunity Initiative (GDOI) with other business, non-profit and international entities. The initiative is committed to assisting developing nations in harnessing digital technology’s power to improve healthcare and education, address social equity issues, reduce poverty and create enhanced economic opportunity.
Issue no. 221 - 26 January 2002
Issue no. 219 - 13 January 2002
Issue no. 216 - 8 December 2001
- EU / Latin America - European Commission launches "@lis"
The European Commission has approved an ambitious co-operation programme « ALliance for the Information Society » (@LIS) with Latin America. It aims at establishing dialogue and co-operation on policy and regulatory frameworks in key areas for the development of a widespread information society, such as telecommunications, e-commerce and standardisation, and at boosting interconnections between research networks and communities in both regions. Several innovative take-up projects in Latin America will be set up in order to demonstrate the benefits of the Information Society applications to citizens. The @lis programme will be endowed with some 85 million €. The official launch will take place at the "@LIS Take-off Conference" in Spain in April 2002.
Issue no. 214 - 23 November 2001
Issue no. 208 - 24 September 2001
- Bridges.org Newsletter
Volume 2.7, 20 September 2001. Welcome to bridges.org’s monthly newsletter. Bridges.org is an international, non-profit organization with a mission to help people in developing countries benefit from the opportunities offered by information and communications technology.
Issue no. 206 - 3 September 2001
- Digital Divide-Fighting Group Signs Agreement With UN
The Global Internet Policy Initiative (GIPI), a coalition working to bridge the digital divide formed by Washington, D.C.-based Center for Democracy and Technology (CDT) and Internews, a Brussels-based nonprofit - has inked a cooperative agreement to offer policy guidance to developing nations through the United Nations Development Program.
Issue no. 205 - 3 August 2001
- Casting a Wider Net in Brazil
Efforts to connect Brazil to the 21st century continue in earnest as governments and non-governmental organizations endeavor to provide Internet access to poor and rural areas.
Issue no. 204 - 27 July 2001
- ASEAN in push to reduce digital divide
The 10 member countries of the ASEAN (Association of Southeast Asian Nations) group must urgently implement two information and communication technology (ICT) initiatives to try to close the digital divide between ASEAN countries and the developed world, ASEAN's foreign ministers said in a declaration.
- G8 aims to bridge 'digital divide'
The world's big eight powers endorsed an action plan to bridge the "digital divide" with the poorest countries, backing a Digital Opportunity Task Force report on how to harness technology in the cause of development.
Issue no. 203 - 19 July 2001
- CDT, Internews Form Coalition To Fight Digital Divide
The Washington, D.C.-based Center for Democracy and Technology (CDT) and Internews, a nonprofit company based in Brussels, that fosters independent media in the developing world announced the creation of the Global Internet Policy Initiative, a foundation formed to help developing countries enact policies that narrow the digital divide.
- FCC's Powell Wants African Digital Development, Not 'Divide'
Federal Communications Commission (FCC) Chairman Michael Powell said that the U.S. needs to help Africa catch up with the rest of the world in telecommunications and information technology, but encouraged those working to solve its problems to think of them as "digital development," not a "digital divide."
- Modified game consoles to narrow digital divide
People in developing nations could soon be using modified Linux game consoles equipped with satellite links to help them learn about vital health issues. The project, sponsored by Western and Asian business leaders working through the World Economic Forum (WEF), aims to narrow the so-called digital divide.
- Net is key to helping poor nations
Poorer countries can raise their living standards by changing laws, building technology infrastructure and training workers to use the Internet, a report concludes. The 86-page report, "Creating a Development Dynamic," came from the United Nations Development Program, along with the Markle Foundation, and the global management consultancy Accenture. Together, the group calls itself the Digital Opportunity Initiative
- Philippine Economic Plan Tackles Digital Divide
(Metropolitan Computer Times)
Proving her administration is serious about using information and communications technology to eliminate poverty, Philippine President Macapagal-Arroyo has allotted an entire chapter of her economic agenda to bridging the so-called digital divide.
- World Leaders Take Fresh Look at Digital Divide
The bitter irony of the World Wide Web phenomenon is that while in theory the global network of networks is open to all, the vast majority of the world's population remain cut off from its economic benefits.
Issue no. 202 - 5 July 2001
- Report backs voice portals to boost African Internet use
Drawing on the oral communication traditions of Africa could present the developed world with its best opportunity to help poor countries make the most of the Internet, according to a paper issued by consultancy firm Arthur D. Little.
Issue no. 201 - 26 June 2001
- "Real Access" to technology needed to tackle the digital divide
There are literally thousands of initiatives aimed at tackling the digital divide, but they are bound to fail as long as they focus on just computers and connections. Although information communication technology (ICT) has the potential to help people leapfrog development obstacles, it will only benefit disadvantaged communities once these initiatives address the patchwork of issues at stake. This is the main finding of a report just released by the international NGO bridges.org, whose mission is to help people in developing countries use technology to improve their lives.
Issue no. 200 - 14 June 2001
- Report Urges World Leaders Not To Ignore 'Digital Divide'
Nations ignoring the so-called "digital divide" between information technology "haves" and "have-nots" could be undermining their own ability to compete in the global market, a new report by International Data Corp contends, based on findings by IDC's Information Society Index (ISI), which ranks nations based on several criteria relating to their information-technology backbones.
Issue no. 199 - 4 June 2001
Issue no. 198 - 28 May 2001
- Simputer to bridge digital divide
A non-profit group in India has created a simple, inexpensive, multilingual handheld device aimed at bringing computing to Third World nations - dubbed the Simputer.
Issue no. 195 - 8 May 2001
Volume 2.4, 11 April 200. bridges.org is an international, nonprofit organization with a mission to help people in developing and emerging countries benefit from the opportunities offered by information and communications technology. This newsletter serves a number of functions. First, we aim to provide current news on issues related to the international digital divide through the "News", "Conferences", and "Links" sections of the newsletter. In the "Bridge Builder" section, we highlight the efforts of a particular organization or individual working to bridge the digital divide and put technology to use. In the "Update on bridges.org" section, we tell about our activities and projects.
- Joint Declaration "Connecting the Americas"
(U.S. State Department)
Summit of the Americas, Quebec City, Canada. April 22, 2001.
- UK - Government digital divide strategy in disarray
The government's plan to combat the digital divide by giving away 100,000 recycled PCs to the poorest families in Britain has gone awry as it admitted today that it has so far distributed just 6,000 since October.
Issue no. 193 - 3 April 2001
- Public Voice Submits Digital Divide Report
The Public Voice is a project of EPIC that seeks to promote the participation of NGOs in international decision-making bodies that address Internet policy. "The Public Voice and the Digital Divide: A Report to the DOT Force" is a compilation of the public's ideas and views on the Digital Divide and will be submitted to the Digital Opportunities Task Force (DOT Force), a Digital Divide initiative of the G-8. The DOT Force will release its final action plan at the next G-8 meeting to take place in Genoa, Italy this July. A draft version of its report is currently available through the DOT Force website.
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