Supporting or Subverting the Public Interest: A Critical Look at the Agenda to Connect All Schools, Hospitals, and Libraries to the Information Highway

Marita Moll
Head, Research and Technology
Canadian Teachers' Federation;
and Co-Organizer, Public Information Highway Advisory Council
(a Canadian Internet lobby)

Abstract

In January 1994, Vice President Al Gore issued the challenge to connect all schools, hospitals and libraries to the Information Highway by the year 2000. This paper describes some of the efforts made, and by whom, to realize this agenda. It briefly reviews the current state of research into the effects of technology on teaching and learning in the elementary/secondary school environment. Since the considerable commitments that have already been made by governments and industry towards connecting schools do not appear to be justified in research, other reasons for the unquestioned acceptance of this agenda are advanced.

The paper then compares the rapid acceptance of the agenda to connect schools, hospitals, and libraries to the Information Highway with the lack of success public interest groups have encountered in seeking policies which would maintain some public control over what is promoted as the communications tool of the 21st century. Activities designed to harmonize communications policies among nations to serve the interests of global trade are described. It is suggested that a broad definition of universal service, one of the fundamental building blocks of a free and open communications environment, may be one of the casualties of the evolving policies.

It is possible that governments, yielding to the pressure for privatization and deregulation will consider the public need for universal service to have been met through the agenda to connect schools, libraries and hospitals. The resultant loss of effective channels of communication will further limit the ability of individuals to participate in the democratic process.

Introduction

A civilization unable to differentiate between illusion and reality is usually believed to be at the tail end of its existence (Saul, 1992: 7).

Today's realities are often yesterday's illusions come to pass. We only need look at the car, which was promoted in North America as a means to escape the overcrowded and underserviced cities of the early 20th century. Now, it is the overcrowded highways that suburbanites seek to escape as they attempt to reclaim the cities, large areas of which are often virtually abandoned except during working hours. New technologies have major impacts on society, often unintended and unanticipated. As we move through times of rapid change, we must take the time to think through the implications of our actions, despite the fact that it is a difficult and often not very popular process of sorting illusion from reality.

The prospect is even more daunting when the actions in question are ones which appeal to our common desire to provide the best possible opportunities for our children. On the surface, the initiative challenged in this paper is exactly that--a program supported by government and industry which would benefit the public by providing classrooms with the newest and latest communications technologies, giving the community a generalized access point to such technologies, making these technologies as accessible as possible to the young, the poor and the sick. Public or private benefit? Illusion or reality?

Canadian author, historian, and philosopher, John Ralston Saul, in a lengthy and deeply disturbing investigation into the social, political, and economic processes in Western societies, issues the following warning: "We must alter our civilization from one of answers to one which feels satisfaction, not anxiety, when doubt is established" (Saul, 1992: 584). It is the intention of this paper to raise some questions concerning the long-term impact of one of the most popular initiatives to have emerged from the last two years of activity surrounding the Information Highway--the plan to connect all schools, libraries, and hospitals to the Information Highway as quickly as possible.

The highway is for gamblers

The social, political and economic stakes surrounding the introduction of new communications technologies are always extremely high (Innis, 1986). Many economic bets have been placed on various transitional technologies that might lead us into the brave new world called the "Information Society." Many political careers have been built on promoting a rapid transition to this new society as a panacea to current social and economic ills. The spectrum of potential social effects ranges from the speculation that we will be happier, more productive, and more effective human beings once we all become digital (Negroponte, 1995) to the Orwellian prospect of life in Bentham's Panopticon[1] -- a self-regulating prison in which we censor ourselves because the information gathering technology is so pervasive that there is no longer any place to hide. Considering the high stakes, Saul is entirely correct that we should not be satisfied until we have carefully scrutinized all the moves in what is very much a battle among society's most powerful economic players for control of the levers of power in the next century. An analysis of the players and the program shows that the initiative to connect all schools, libraries, and hospitals to the Information Highway is among the cards currently being played in this power struggle.

This paper begins by describing some of the efforts made, and by whom, in this initiative. It briefly reviews the current state of research into the effects of computer communications and information gathering tools on teaching and learning in the elementary/secondary school environment. Since the considerable commitments that have already been made by governments and industry towards connecting schools do not appear to be justified in research, other reasons for the unquestioned acceptance of this agenda are advanced.

The paper then compares the rapid acceptance of the agenda to connect schools, hospitals, and libraries to the Information Highway with the lack of success public interest groups have encountered in seeking policies which would maintain some public control over what is promoted as the communications tool of the 21st century. Activities designed to harmonize communications policies among nations to serve the interests of global trade are described. It is suggested that a broad definition of universal service, one of the fundamental building blocks of a free and open communications environment, may be one of the casualties of the evolving policies.

It is possible that governments, yielding to the pressure for privatization and deregulation will consider the public need for universal service to have been met through the agenda to connect schools, libraries, and hospitals. The resultant loss of effective channels of communication will further limit the ability of individuals to participate in the democratic process.

Making the rules

In January 1994, U.S. Vice President Al Gore issued the challenge to connect all schools, hospitals, and libraries to the Information Highway by the year 2000 (White House, 1994a). Almost immediately, the challenge was enthusiastically embraced by politicians, bureaucrats, and business leaders in Western nations. It is now enshrined in legislation in the Telecommunications Act, 1996[3] (United States, 1996) and has become a prominent part of the business strategy of software and hardware giants like Microsoft and Apple Corporation. It appears in the interim report of the European High Level Expert Group on Social and Societal Aspects of the Information Society (High Level Expert Group, 1996: 41-42). In Canada, it has been the subject of special regulatory hearings (CRTC, 1995a), and was identified as a desirable goal in both the final report of the Canadian Information Highway Advisory Council (IHAC)[4] (IHAC,1995:173) and the report of the Canadian Radio-Television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) on hearings held to discuss the issues surrounding convergence[5] (CRTC, 1995:45).

The use of "expert committees" and "working groups" similar to IHAC to recommend policy has been a common approach as the economically privileged countries continue to facilitate the harmonization of communications policy required by globalization. Representation on these committees has been heavily weighted in favour of the private sector. Especially well represented are the communications and information industries--industries which have now replaced steel, railroads, and automobiles as the core of investment and growth in the world economy (McChesney, 1995a: 4).

The ability of communications and information industries to influence policy goes well beyond their influence as members of the expert groups mentioned. Thoroughly documented by Thomas Ferguson in his study of the funding of political parties in the U.S., big money plays a large role in defining political outcomes (Ferguson, 1995). In October 1992, John Young, chair of Hewlett-Packard and then Apple Computer CEO John Sculley "led a phalanx of Silicon Valley executives in a mass public endorsement of the Arkansas governor," a crucial turning point in the Clinton campaign which began to be seen as the ticket most friendly to business even by some traditional Republicans (Ferguson, 1995: 4). The utilities industry became an important part of Clinton's coalition, "at least since he added Al Gore to the ticket....[who was] long identified with technological issues of concern to the telecommunications industry and utilities" (Ferguson, 1995: 100).

"To discover who rules follow the gold" (1995:8) says Ferguson whose investment theory of American political parties holds that "parties are more accurately analyzed as blocs of major investors who coalesce to advance candidates representing their interests" (1995: 27). If this theory holds true, and Ferguson's thorough research certainly gives it credibility, Al Gore's "challenge" to business leaders to connect schools, hospitals, and libraries delivered appropriately in a speech to the Academy of Television Arts and Sciences (White House, 1994a) may be part of the illusion upon which this agenda rests. After all, politicians who are interested in survival through the next election are unlikely to spring potentially expensive surprises on their major supporters. According to Ferguson's theory, we must assume that the "challenge" is actually viewed by the communications and information industries as a business opportunity rather than a difficulty or hardship as the word implies.

Here in Canada, the umbilical cord called the Free Trade Agreement has eliminated much of our ability to manage our own trade in the services sector (Moscoe, 1990: 59). Policies and initiatives evolving south of the border are usually predictive of impending initiatives by the Canadian government and business leaders.

Schools are markets

Beyond the political environment, there is plenty of direct evidence that the enormous marketing potential that the education sector represents is not being ignored. The rush to establish a foothold inside the schools is well underway. Bell Canada and its partners in the powerful Stentor alliance of telephone companies across the country have recently unveiled an offer to help connect all schools in Canada to the Information Highway, in part by making two satellite channels available at no charge for two years (Bell, 1996). Two years ago, an alliance of cable companies called Cable in the Classroom offered all schools a free cable hook-up, television, VCR, and programming (Windfeld, 1994).

Not to be left behind, Microsoft is designing "The Microsoft Parent-Teacher Connection Server," an extension to the Microsoft Windows NT Server, which will be made available free of charge to schools in the U.S. in Spring, 1997. Microsoft is also working with the Global SchoolNet Foundation to expand an Internet resource area for schools into an area containing "compelling content that teachers can fully integrate into instruction" (Connected learning, 1996:9). This server software will, of course, connect seamlessly to the Microsoft Network, Microsoft's proprietary Information Highway on-ramp.

Lighthouse schools, featuring state-of-the-art technology, have been set up in special locations in partnership with particular hardware and software suppliers. One such school, River Oaks, in Oakville, Ontario, has been promoted nationally and internationally, by both government and industry leaders, as a model of the school of the future. This school is a showcase of Apple Computers products and services. It is no coincidence that it sits in one of the historically richest census areas in the country (Livingstone, 1995: 39).

Technology in the classroom

In the midst of this frenzy of government and industry-driven activity, where was the great public outcry for information technology in the classroom? Where was the independent research pointing to the effectiveness of such tools over traditional learning tools? Where was the evidence that the use of computers was more cost-effective than traditional methods of instruction? In the absence of all this, how did we come to the conclusion that the overall effect of technology on student learning was positive? Indeed, in this context, what does positive mean? Larry Cuban has made several recent attempts to answer these questions (Cuban, 1986; Cuban, 1990) and concludes "Sadly enough, the research evidence on [these] questions is ambiguous and unhelpful in determining policy" (1990: 205). Stephen Kerr, "one of the few [educational] researchers who examines seriously the deep-set beliefs of both technophiles and technophobes" (Cuban, 1990: 209), points out that there is no proof that using technology in the classroom increases achievement (Kerr, 1991:114). The most thorough review to date of evaluation research on Apple's "Classrooms of Tomorrow" program, an integrated learning system in which many schools have invested heavily, has found that the research has been of poor quality and moderate effects have been typically overstated (Becker, 1992).

The intent here is not to leave the impression that technology has no role to play in the classroom. It is, rather, to question the motives of the most influential promoters and ask whether the community is being rushed into an agenda that should instead be approached with caution and reflection. Norman Henchey, emeritus professor of education at McGill University has written that:

Schooling is based on assumptions of scarcity of knowledge, management of learning by teachers and on physical presence and time schedules as ways institutions control learning. Technology is based on assumptions of abundance of knowledge, direct access to information and resources by individuals, freedom from constraints of time and place and the weakening of control over learning by institutions and teachers. If this is so, schooling and technology form an unstable mix and a good deal of creative thinking may be required to blend the best of both systems (Henchey, 1995).

Education and the balance of power

As Canadian economist and communications scholar, Harold Innis, has painstakingly documented, the rise and fall of empires has been intimately connected with communications throughout history (Innis, 1986). During the Industrial Revolution the mechanization of paper production and advances in the printing process led to the rise of newspapers and, as Charles Dickens wryly observed on his trip to America in 1842, their blatant use as a tool in the creation and maintenance of political and economic power structures (Dickens, 1987)[6]. A necessary prerequisite to the profitability and effectiveness of newspapers as empire building tools was, of course, a large population able to read them. Innis notes that "[t]he application of power to the communications industries after 1800 hastened the spread of compulsory education and the rise of newspapers..." (Innis, 1948:24). However altruistic it may have seemed at the time to support the spread of compulsory education, the barons of the Industrial Revolution were perfectly aware of the fact that their own interests were being served as well.

Some alarming parallels can be drawn about the relationships between communications, political, and economic power, and education during the Industrial Revolution and the current cries for educational reform which lean heavily on the rhetoric of the information and communications industries. Powerful multinational information and communications corporations with services and equipment to market are the undisputed barons of the Information Age. A population well-schooled in the basics of the new information tools is a prerequisite to the envisioned lucrative markets for the services these tools are designed to deliver. In a contemporary version of utilitarian education, the Information Technology Association of Canada (ITAC), an organization which includes among its members, Canada's largest communications and information industries, offers the following vision of the goals and objectives of education: "In today's society, technology reigns...A renewed emphasis in education on mathematics, science and technologies related to computers, telecommunications, lasers, robotics, and micro-electronics generally will be essential to the schools of the future. A new learning paradigm to reflect the need of the future economy is needed" (ITAC, 1994:2).

Given that industry motives for the enthusiastic support of the agenda to connect all schools, libraries, and hospitals to the Information Highway may not be entirely altruistic, should we uncritically accept what appears to be the unseemly haste with which this agenda is being implemented? Again it must be emphasized that the intention of this paper is not to suggest that technological resources have no legitimate place among all the other tools used in the classroom environment. The intention is to suggest that it is the empire-building tendencies of large economic interests that may be driving this agenda rapidly forward and not the best interests of our children, our schools, and the public in general. Much has been said about the potential benefits of technology in the classroom, but very little has been said about its probable costs--costs which could render the benefits illusionary. Among the costs of the uncritical acceptance of this agenda may be the false perception that, with access in schools, hospitals, and libraries, the public will have adequate access to communications technologies.

Role of public interest groups

Although the agenda to connect schools, hospitals and libraries has been rapidly moving ahead, the role of the public has been marginal. The importance of public voices in any debate about communications policy in a democracy has been emphasized by communications researchers on both sides of the Canada-U.S. border. (McChesney, 1995; Raboy, 1995). However, in this debate, the public has had few opportunities to affect the process so far.

In the U.S., a number of high profile public interest groups, among them the Electronic Frontier Foundation, Computer Professionals for Social Responsibility, and the Telecommunications Policy Roundtable, have lobbied intensively for elements of a communications strategy which would serve the public interest. In Canada, opposition to the prevailing forces has been less formal. Funding for such initiatives is practically nonexistent. An Internet-based lobby called the "Public--Information Highway Advisory Council (P-IHAC)" emerged spontaneously from the deliberate attempt by the Canadian government to avoid public input into discussions concerning the future of communications. Halifax journalist, Tom Regan, articulated the public distaste when it was discovered that an "expert" council dominated by representatives from the communications and information industries was to consider such matters in meetings to be held behind closed doors.

Am I the only one who thinks this stinks? That a committee, primarily composed of business and government representatives, which will be giving advice about policy to the minister in charge, will discuss issues like free speech and government snooping ... IN SECRET? With no reports made public? (Regan, 1994)

P-IHAC organizers, with the assistance of many members of the Canadian Internet community, used various Internet tools to promote discussion and circulate information among the community concerning communications issues. Interventions were submitted to the federal council (IHAC) and the CRTC on behalf of Canadians who accessed the submissions electronically and responded, indicating their support. Working with other public interest groups, including Electronic Frontier Canada[7], Telecommunities[8], Toronto Information Highway Working Group[9], Alliance for a Connected Canada[10], the Public Interest Advocacy Center[11], Telecommunications Workers Union, and the Coalition for Public Information12--P-IHAC spent many hours preparing submissions, presenting papers, raising public awareness, speaking to the media, all in the hope of keeping public interest issues on the agenda as the policy development process moved forward.

Public needs unaddressed

Sadly, when the results to date are tabulated, public interest groups have had little success in having their concerns addressed. The U.S. Telecommunications Reform Act became law on February 8, 1996, with only a handful of legislators opposing what the public interest groups saw as a major step backwards in the fight to maintain some control over the communications environment. Although the Act did make special provisions to enable connections in schools, hospitals, and libraries, the broader issue of how to ensure universal service for the rest of the population remained unaddressed. The lack of opposition in the government ranks reflected the power of the industries to influence the course of events, despite the public outcry over sections of the Act which enabled censorship of electronic communications and concentration of ownership in the communications industry. Computer Professionals for Social Responsibility, in its on-line newsletter responded with disappointment, but vowed to fight on:

Remember way back when we thought the a 20% [of bandwidth] setaside for public use was possible and its reduction to 5% was a loss? We've lost a lot of ground since then. Those of us who have followed the journey of this telecommunication rewrite must keep those concepts alive at the local level. If we are to continue fighting for an information infrastructure that empowers rather than brainwashes, the battleground will now be in hearing rooms of public utility commissions, state houses, and city halls--not in Washington DC. It means that we can no longer solely rely on the valiant efforts of those inside the beltway who have gone to great lengths to beat some sense into our national representatives. We, the grassroots, must now beat the drums ourselves . . . it will take many, many local battles to accomplish what decent federal telecommunication reform would have done in one stroke. (Whitcomb, 1996).

In Canada, two years have passed since discussions on this issue began, and three million dollars has been spent feeding monthly meetings of IHAC and its accompanying bureaucracy. Politicians, bureaucrats, and selected experts have endorsed initiatives to connect schools, hospitals and libraries. However, the same fundamental question of how to ensure universal service in its broadest possible form remains unaddressed. Like their neighbors to the South, Canadians have not been given an opportunity to participate in the discussions.

The global picture

Part of the reason for this lack of progress at the national level towards meeting the communications needs of citizens lies in the current pressures towards globalization. At the international level, the harmonization of communications policy is strategic to the smooth functioning of the global market. Policies which facilitate the development of the Global Information Infrastructure (GII) are the clear and unequivocal priority of the expert councils,[13] ensuring homogeneity in the policy development process in Western nations (Shade, 1996). A close look at the recommendations from these groups reveals a striking conformity to the following five principles for the GII brought to the Buenos Aires meeting by Al Gore in March 1994:

As an example, the final report of IHAC stated unequivocally that the private sector should build and operate the Information Highway (IHAC, 1995: x) and left the Canadian public to speculate on how IHAC's call for "non-market mechanisms . . . to ensure universal access to essential Highway services at affordable prices" (IHAC, 1995: xiii) would be realized.

Public interest groups would have ranked the priorities much differently. "[T]he principle of universal access would be the top priority, in recognition of the fact that all citizens, regardless of geographic location or socio-economic status, must be able to participate in the communications of a democratic society . . . [A]ccess to basic, reliable computer communication systems would have to be part of a national strategy to empower citizens and enable them to participate more fully in the decisions which affect their lives." (Yerxa/Moll, 1995: 7)

The inability of the public interest groups, despite vigorous and visible lobbying, to advance their agendas is in clear contrast to the phenomenal success of Al Gore's "challenge" of January 1994. Research and recent experience point to an alliance between the government and the major communications and information industries as an explanation for the success of the schools, libraries, and hospitals agenda. Common sense tells us that the profit motive is still the bottom line for industries engaged in a struggle for dominance in an evolving global market despite the appearance of providing social goods. The question which remains to be asked is what might be the result of the policies currently being pursued by these partners.

Communications and control

G. J. Mulgan in "Communications and Control" explains the relationship between communications and control as follows:

The word "control" is part of the distinctive vocabulary of the modern world. . . Its meanings range from a loose sense of influence towards some goal, to a stronger sense of direct command over things or processes. All points along the continuum retain the crucial idea that control depends on channels of communication for commands and on channels of feedback to monitor effects and changes. (Mulgan, 1991: 49).

Even though the practice has often been more of an illusion than a reality, one of the cornerstones of modern democracy has been popular control of, or access to, communication technologies. The development of regulatory regimes to maintain popular control over communications media, represents a long historical acknowledgement of this concern. The current unrelenting demand for competition and a "flexible regulatory framework" represent an agenda which would dismantle these regulatory environments (White House, 1994b). However, the idea that corporations functioning in any market economy, let alone a global one, can or will provide universal access to public goods belies history as well as accepted "laws" of supply and demand and private property (Heilbroner, 1992; Schiller, 1989).

In all of this the essential role of communications in the life of the community is denied. Policy discussions are driven from the perspective of commerce, rather than from a perspective which places the priority on the needs of community, culture, and the democratic process. The language of privatization, competition and deregulation, assumes parity between citizen and consumer. The principles articulated by Al Gore for the GII, which place the demands of the market on the top of the priority list and the need to provide universal service at the bottom will ensure that control of communications remains firmly in the hands of private interests. The commodification of our communications will be complete (Yerxa/Moll, 1995).

Universal service

Communication, communion, and community spring from the same Latin root, communis--to have in common. The fundamental component of society is the community. Community devolves out of a communion of interests and experience. Communion develops out of a give-and-take communication process that is free, constant, and universal (Parker, 1995: 47).

Considering the centrality of communication to the building and maintenance of community, the broadest possible definition of universal service for communications technologies will continue to be in the best interest of the public. Universal service, according to one Canadian policy analyst is "a concept describing those services that meet a societal need. It is comprised of two inter-related components; universal accessibility and affordability. . . A universal service should be thought of as a service, that meets a test of societal responsiveness, for which government policy and regulation should seek to ensure universal access and affordability" (Gilbert: 1995: 1). Such access, according to the Public Interest Advocacy Center (PIAC) means basic services available to all, regardless of geography, disability, income, and level of literacy (Brandon, 1995: 1).

The goal of universal service must be access to basic services in the home. Although it may be possible for citizens to use resources in the local school or library to acquire some piece of information needed to apply for a job, to finish a project, or to fill in a government form, such limited access will not serve their communications needs. In fact, the agenda to connect schools, hospitals, and libraries--so heavily promoted by both government and industry--could result in the narrowing of the concept of universal service from the notion of individual access to a communications process to collective access to a preconfigured product. In the first open recognition of this possibility, the report of the European High Level Expert Group has suggested that, given the difficulties the current definition of universal service presents in today's privatized, deregulated communications environment,

. . . the definition should be shifted in the direction of a notion of "universal community service," extending universal service provisions to incorporate a basic level of access to new information services, but limited in its universality obligation to educational, cultural, medical, social, or economic institutions of local communities (High Level Expert Group, 1996: 41-42).

If control depends on access to some channels of communications, as Mulgan suggests, than the resolution of current discussions concerning the definition of universal service is destined to have a significant impact on community and democracy. Without a broad definition of the principle of universal service, the new communications technologies can never be open and inclusive. Their power as participatory tools through which communities can interact to determine their common interests will never be realized.

Minerva's owl

North American communities in the late 20th century are already under great stress economically and socially. The pressures to accommodate globalization threaten to disband, through deregulation, much of what remains of policies designed to meet public needs. Robert Putnam, in Bowling Alone: America's Declining Social Capital and The Strange Disappearance of Civic America (Putnam, 1995; Putnam, 1996) has painted an alarming picture of how far individuals have retreated from participation in the community decision-making processes. There is a fear that citizens are becoming more and more disconnected from the democratic process.

Like Minerva's owl, at the dusk of this century, the creative and empowering possibilities of new communications technologies appear from the hinterland, suggesting new ways for communities to share their experiences, suggesting new routes to enable and promote civic participation. Unless we insist that universal service in its broadest definition be a priority at all levels of policy development for the new communications environment, this vision will slip from our grasp. And regardless of whether we supported the agenda to connect all schools, libraries, and hospitals to the Information Highway, we will have done future generations a great disservice.

The virtue of uncertainty is not a comfortable idea, but then a citizen-based democracy is built upon participation, which is the very expression of permanent discomfort (Saul, 1995: 190).

Endnotes

[1]For an extensive discussion of this and other electronic surveillance possibilities, Lyon ( 1994) The Electronic Eye is highly recommended.

[2] "What began life as the Snow-Rockefeller amendment in the Senate, made it through to final passage. Schools, libraries, and rural health centers will be provided access at affordable rates. These rates are to be determined by a Joint Board that will continually review local situations... The success of this language is due in large part to the heroic efforts put forth by many public interest groups coupled with the lack of fight put up by the Regional Bell Operating Companies (RBOCs)." (Whitcomb, 1996).

[3] "What began life as the Snow-Rockefeller amendment in the Senate, made it through to final passage. Schools, libraries, and rural health centers will be provided access at affordable rates. These rates are to be determined by a Joint Board that will continually review local situations... The success of this language is due in large part to the heroic efforts put forth by many public interest groups coupled with the lack of fight put up by the Regional Bell Operating Companies (RBOCs)." (Whitcomb, 1996).

[4] A 29- member Advisory Council, appointed in April 1994, to examine 15 policy issues, ranging from competition to culture, from access to learning and research and development, set out in a government discussion paper on the Canadian Information Highway. Heavily dominated by representatives from the communications and information industries, IHAC's final report (IHAC, 1995) to the government presented a predominantly industrial vision of the Information Highway.

[5] These hearings gathered information and sought input in order to report to the Government on a number of issues relating to the convergence of cable and telecommunications services. The resulting report (CRTC, 1995), perceives Information Highway services in terms of a broadcasting model.

[6] "... [t]he press has its evil eye in every house, and its black hand in every appointment in the state, from a president to a postman..." (Dickens, 1987)

[7] Lobby focusing on censorship and privacy issues in electronic communications.

[8] Umbrella organization for community networks.

[9] Toronto activists concerned with public interest issues on the Information Highway.

[10] Broad-based citizens coalition lobbying for public participation and universal service.

[11 ]Regulatory lawyers specializing in public interest telecommunications and broadcasting issues.

[12] A public interest group whose goal is to foster broad access to affordable, useable information and communication services and technology.

[13] Among them Canada's IHAC, Australia's Broadband Services Working Group (BSWG), the European Bangemann Report and the U.S. Information Infrastructure Task Force.

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