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INET'98

Track 5 Globalisation and Regional Implications

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Globalisation and Internet Governance

The "Governance" Debacle: How and Why the Idea of Internetworking is Being Buried by Politics

Milton MUELLER
Syracuse University School of Information Studies,USA

This paper criticizes the notion of "governance" as a departure from, and hostile to, the coordination of inter-networking, which is what the Internet is all about. The governance debate is no longer about how to facilitate inter-networking. Instead, it is focused on restricting the ability to inter-network in order to protect or advance the socioeconomic interests of various stakeholders. The institutional problems caused by the growth of the Internet have become a pretext for advancing unrelated political agendas, from the regulation of speech to the policing of trademark registrations. The paper shows that the history of radio broadcasting provides a clear example of how resource allocation problems can be exploited by governmental and private interests to impose a regulatory agenda upon a new medium. If this trend is to be avoided, Internet advocates and the Internet Society must rededicate themselves to a focused advocacy of inter-networking and discard initiatives, such as the gTLD-MoU, which stray from that agenda.

Rich Man, Poor Man: The Geo-Politics of Internet Policymaking

Kenneth Neil CUKIER
Communications Week International, France

Policy making for the global Internet -- by both the Internet community and traditional multilateral political institutions -- is today a matter of geopolitics, in that regionalism remains a factor in international affairs concerning the network. Despite the Internet's terrific growth, the technological disparity between the developed and developing world grows ever wider. Thus as Internet policy structures are created, there is a risk that the traditional "West versus the rest" dilemma of diplomatic tension based on economic standing will migrate to the new policy areas (as well as possibly onto the newly-forming institutions). This paper critically examines the international institutions likely to play a role in Internet policy making and analyzes to what degree they provide representation for developing economies. It concludes by recommending a policy-making perspective for the "Internet diplomat."

Internet Governance: Herding Cats and Sacred Cows

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Panel: The Internet and the Transformation of the Global Telecommunications Industry

GATS and the Internet: As a Service, a Technology, and a Means of Supply

The Internet and International Trade Policy  - Paper 021

John du Pre GAUNTT
Public Network Europe  United Kingdom

The successful conclusion of the World Trade Organization (WTO) talks on basic telecommunications in February 1997 was presented as the template for liberalization of basic telecomms and information services on a global basis.

While not directly addressed in the February WTO Agreement, the Internet promises to radically shift certain assumptions underpinning future telecomms trade liberalization talks. More specifically, two areas of Internet functionality -- voice over the Internet and Internet broadcasting -- promise to force themselves to the top of the agenda of the next General Agreement on Trade in Services (GATS) negotiations, scheduled to commence in the year 2000.

Voice over the Internet was considered to be a value-added service (VAS) in the 1993 Uruguay Round and hence not subject to market restrictions associated with basic telecommunications. Yet, there continues to be a significant debate as to whether technical advances are evolving Internet voice into a viable substitute for basic telecomms. If a national regulator decides that IP voice services qualify as a substitute -- and are theoretically subject to access charges and universal service contributions -- such a decision will have to be made in light of already agreed-upon schedules included in the 1997 WTO Agreement.

However, far more contentious for international trade policy are Internet audio and video services. Depending upon how negotiators perceive Internet bit-streaming applications (i.e., is it a broadcast or is it a piece of audio or video data), there is the danger that WTO members could opt for Most Favored Nation (MFN) exemptions with regard to Internet broadcasting or attempt to create regional preferences. Aside from the technical difficulties of policing those types of restrictions, such exemptions or regional arrangements could weaken some of the more basic commitments for telecomms liberalization.

The problem at issue could be phrased as follows: at what point does Music Net become the same as Music Television from an international trade services viewpoint, and how should an Internet-based music channel (not to be confused with a radio station) that allows for audience interactivity be understood in the context of telecommunications?

The preceding suggests that there will be a point of crisis where trade negotiators must decide the context and nomenclature under which real-time packet-switched services -- broadcasting or not -- are to be treated under GATS.

The aim of this paper will be to delineate the basic trade issues and principles that distinguish negotiations that cover telecommunications and broadcasting; highlight how the Internet networking model impacts each; speculate on some of the likely concerns and negotiating positions of major Internet service exporting nations and their likely markets; and hopefully sketch a rough guide to the intellectual issues that must be addressed for a successful general services round in the year 2000.

Internet Profit and Loss Account

Dr. Tim KELLY
International Telecommunication Union, Switzerland

This presentation attempts to evaluate the proposition that the coming of the Internet represents the start of a radical shake-up in the US$1 trillion telecommunications sector which is comparable with the revolution undergone in the computer industry in the early 1980s, associated with the advent of the Personal Computer.

The presentation begins with an account of how the computer industry was transformed in the 1980s. At the time, the industry structure could be characterised as being like "Snow White and the Seven Dwarves", in that IBM dominated an industry in which only seven or so other players had the resources to be able to offer a full range of services, and even if their combined revenues were smaller than those of IBM. The introduction of the PC had the effect of lowering the barriers to entry in the industry. Suddenly, it was no longer necessary to have research labs employing thousands of people, factories churning out disk drives, or marketing and distribution networks that spanned the globe to be able to compete. Indeed, possession of existing market share was almost a disadvantage. The companies that proved the most profitable in the following decade – Microsoft, Compaq, Dell etc – were for the most part start-ups with no major external investors. By contrast, IBM’s cumulative losses in the first few years of the 1990s exceeded US$15 bn.

Of the top 10 companies in the computer industry in 1985, three companies could be said to have thrived (H-P, Fujitsu, NEC), one to have undergone a painful restructuring which it survived, and is now prospering again (IBM), while the others have been merged (Burroughs and Sperry, Siemens with Nixdorf), acquired (NCR, Digital) or been bankrupted (Control Data).

The remaining part of the presentation looks at how the telecommunications industry is likely to survive a similar radical shift in its market structure. Many of the characteristics of the Internet revolution are similar to those of the PC revolution—for instance, lowering the barriers to entry, making existing assets an encumbrance rather than an advantage, radical challenges to the price/performance ratio of the industry’s products—but in other ways the situation is different. For instance, the "Snow White and the Seven Dwarves" structure does exist, but it operates at a national level rather than a global one. Of the top ten telecommunication service operators, five are national champions with only small national competitors, while the other five are US companies, some of which enjoy near-monopolies in their local area. A second difference is that the telecoms sector is dominated by service companies whereas in the computer industry, at least in the 1980s, it was hardware manufacture that generated most of the revenues.

The presentation reviews the threats to the traditional telecommunications sector at three main levels: retail pricing, wholesale pricing and network architecture. It reviews how individual operators are positioning themselves, defensively or aggressively, to cope with the Internet challenge, for instance by establishing or acquiring ISPs, offering Internet telephony services, or deploying overlay networks. The biggest challenge, arguably, lies in the price structure of telco services, where the Internet threatens to undercut existing margins, particularly for international services, as well as challenging traditional precepts such as usage-based, and distance dependent pricing.

Based on this analysis of threats and opportunities, the presentation goes on to look at which areas of the existing telecommunications market are likely to be under the greatest threat from new entrants from the Internet world. It is the markets for data and text communications, together with international voice communications, which are most at risk. But as well as competing for existing markets, new Internet players threaten also to steal future markets, notably for electronic commerce, content delivery and video-based information retrieval services. Indeed, the price advantage that Internet can offer may be the only way of making them commercially viable.

The presentation concludes by looking a three plausible scenarios for how the telecommunications sector will cope with the shift in market structure brought about by the Internet.

  • The first scenario, "Integration by osmosis", foresees an evolutionary trajectory whereby the cash-rich telecommunication operators slowly acquire more and more parts of the Internet—such as ISPs, portal sites, or infrastructure nodes—thus that the Internet slowly becomes indistinguishable from other parts of the telecommunications sector;
  • The second scenario, "Death by packet-switching", offers an alternative viewpoint in which IP becomes the dominant protocol operating over the world’s telecommunication networks, and bandwidth becomes freely available to such an extent that voice simply becomes a bundled service, too cheap to meter, which is sold as a loss leader for other video-based and data-rich services;
  • A third scenario, "Content is king", envisages a future in which the actual transport of bits becomes a commodity service with the real money being made in the provision of content via the lowest priced delivery channel. In this scenario, neither the traditional telcos, nor the new Internet players, are in control of market destiny.

Networld Collision or Collusion?

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The Regional Geography of Internet Deployment

R & E Networking in CEE: The Gateway to European and Trans-Atlantic Integration

Free Access to Regional Internets: Principle Economical and Technical Issues - Paper 376

Marc LOBELLE
Université Catholique de Louvain  Belgium

Xavier BOGAERT
Centre de Diffusion des Technologies de l'Information  Belgium

Paul DEFOURNY
Charline Productions S.A. Belgium

Local information access is what most people mainly need. This holds for all communications media: the telephone system, in which long-distance calls are the minority; newspapers, which produce local editions, etc. When the market penetration of the Internet matches that of the traditional communications media, we can expect a large proportion of its use to be for local information access.

On the other hand, most of the cost of Internet access is currently international, particularly in Europe and in developing countries, where the Internet was originally, and still largely is, mainly an information import market. The structure of the operating cost of Internet service providers shows this domination of long-distance communications (access to [inter]continental backbones).

Internet access to local information is currently as expensive as Internet access to information across the world. The principle of Free Access Regional Internets (Farinets) is to allow free access to regional information, even without Internet subscription, and to charge the user only for access to long-distance information. A Farinet is part of the Internet. Information on the Farinet is accessible from anywhere on the Internet. Users connecting to the Farinet can get information from anywhere on the Internet, but they are not charged if they only navigate within the Farinet.

The paper will explain in more detail the rationale for Farinets. Then, their economic feasibility along with our evaluation of the conditions of their success will be presented. The following section is devoted to the technical solutions used to minimize regional operating costs and to discriminate between regional and global access for charging purposes. The paper will conclude with a presentation of the experience of one Farinet service provider in Belgium and a comparison of approaches.

Technological Change, Telecommunications Deregulation, Telecommunications Economics, and Internet Globalization - Paper 395

Jean-Pierre AUFFRET
American University  USA

Jeffrey H. MATSUURA
NetGlobe Transit, Inc.  USA

The economic models of both the Internet and international telecommunications have been simultaneously changing, resulting in telecommunications global financial inequities, which in turn have led to inconsistent telecommunications growth. The paper examines the global changes and relationships between the Internet and international telecommunications markets and then highlights and compares service-provider competitions and customer Internet adoption for Europe, Asia Pacific, North America, Latin America, and Africa. These comparisons are overlaid with recent technological changes and regulatory changes to show how economics, regulation, and technology are driving disparate uses of the Internet, resulting in comparative advantages for some countries. Projections are made of future regulation and technological changes and how Internet globalization will progress under different scenarios. A proposal is then made for a true market-based model for the Internet and for international telecommunications that will provide the greatest opportunity for a thriving, global system serving both developed and developing countries.

The Role of Internet Services in Regionalization  - Paper 235

David RYLANDER
Göteborg University  Sweden

This paper deals with the changing contact pattern in the Baltic Sea region and the role Internet services play in the context of regionalization and globalization, including interregional, cross-border cooperation and competition.

In order to deal with a growing interregional competition, structural changes, and high levels of unemployment, a growing local and regional policy intervention in telecommunications is leading to an increasing number of telematics projects with the objective to serve as demonstrations of adopted network services. Investments in information and communication infrastructure are made, and adopted network services are being created as tools to deal with structural problems like deindustrialization and unemployment. The creation of city and regional networks, together with a wide range of network services, is one of the results of the trend toward more entrepreneurial appearances of urban-regional governance in order to boost the economy, develop social and community applications of ICT, and develop collaborative networks among cities based on ICT applications. The broadest possibilities are offered by network services carried by computer networks like the Internet, where full interactivity is combined with the full variety of scope of communication. This kind of communication can be realized in real time or with time delay as preferred, and the content can be multiformed in text, sound, and pictures. These are some of the reasons why WWW services on the Internet are growing in use and diffuse rapidly. ICT provides opportunities for mobilizing resources like education, skills, and organizational and institutional capacity. We have to consider the communication culture within a region to understand the impact of interactive means of communication with a cross-border feature like Internet services. In societies marked by equality, dialogue, and transparency, the telephone deployed faster than in societies where the regimes prefer to have a monologue with the people. The same pattern is valid for Internet services.

In order to analyze the regionalization processes and the role of Internet services in regional development, I will focus on two subregions located on the Baltic coast. One is Blekinge Län in the southeast of Sweden and the other is Gdansk Wojewodzkie located in the north of Poland. These two regions have been chosen because of the existence of enhanced interregional relationships and extensive regional development programs in which telematics projects play a significant role. Both regions are on the periphery of Europe. For these reasons they offer good opportunities to study the role of Internet services in regionalization.

The assumption I make is that the capacity and quality of the information and communication infrastructure, together with a growing use of network services, result in an increase in communication activity, and that the communication culture therefore is also deepening in areas where access to ICT only recently has been possible. Closely related to this is the process of innovation diffusion. Innovations diffuse with different speed in different regions because of regional features such as differences in political and economic systems, traditions, and economic strength.

The role of Internet services in regionalization and regional development is in the first place a question of a growing group of innovations and applications that can be part of the solution to regain competitiveness. Regional and local actors hope that innovations in the area of ICT will result in new products and services that can help boost the regional economy. To some extent, this is already the case in some places. But Internet services have also another distinguishing feature: as communication channels that help spread information about themselves and other innovations and thus support innovation processes as well as diffusion processes. This makes Internet services essential for a learning economy and a learning region.

In order to achieve the purpose and accomplish the study, an overview and analysis of the role of ICT in economic development and deepened democratization respectively are carried out. Concepts are analyzed and the differences in infrastructural development in eastern, southern, and western Europe are visualized. This gives support for the assumption that we can expect differences in diffusion of network services between the two subregions serving as case studies. The  analysis describes which differences occur, why they occur, and how they came to be. Collection of data has been carried out through studies of literature, articles in newspapers and journals, research reports, public statistics, regional development programs, and information from relevant organizations on the WWW. In addition, interviews have been carried out within the framework of the ongoing research project, "The Role of Network Services in Regional Development"; a few of them are referred to in this paper. The interviewees are representatives of local and regional authorities, enterprises, telecom operators, and regional development agencies. A questionnaire with open questions is used, to allow the respondents to discuss various aspects of regional development and associated problems according to their specific situation. The interviews took about one hour each to complete. A comparative analysis is carried out and conclusions are drawn.

Internet Deployment Worldwide: The New Superhighway Follows The Old Wires, Rails, and Roads  - Paper 213

Eric ARNUM
Telecommunications Reports International Inc.  USA

Sergio CONTI
European Commission Directorate General XIII  Belgium

This paper details the extent to which some of the most popular inventions of the 19th and 20th centuries have been diffused into the economies and populations of 100 countries. It includes a statistical analysis of per capita diffusion rates for Internet hosts, Web pages, telephones, televisions, electrical production, and paved roads and railways, comparing the world's new superhighway with the old infrastructures it replaces and/or complements.

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The Internet and Global Socio-Economic Development

Holes in the Net: The Internet and International Stratification   - Paper 058

Eszter HARGITTAI
Princeton University USA

This paper explores how the unequal international spread of the Internet can perpetuate existing inequalities among the world's nations. World-systems theory is used -- supplemented by some considerations of cultural aspects -- to show how nations with high-development-level status have the highest level of network connectivity while nations with low development status have the lowest level of connectivity. The analysis uses Gramsci's ideas about hegemony to show how the disproportionately large representation of one culture can dominate network information to that one culture's advantage. Granovetter's theory concerning the strength of weak ties is discussed to explain how the differential spread of this new technological advancement can affect a country's development level through the unequal distribution of information. Data on the Internet's international spread is presented and analyzed to demonstrate the unequal spread of the network in favor of a few nations currently already in advantageous positions. This information is relevant to understanding which nations are benefiting most from the network and how they can increase their powers through it.

The Most Regulated Service in Developing Countries  - Paper 405

Michel ELIE
Observatoire des Usages d'Internet  France

The first part of the paper shows how network statistics can be used in order to stress some possible factors of growth of the Internet throughout the world. It examines the evolution of the geographical repartition of the Internet during the last two years on the basis of Network Wizards host distribution statistics.

The relation between the global distribution of Internet servers per unit of population and the level of development of each country as measured by gross domestic product (GDP) per capita or by the human development indicator (HDI) is shown, as well as the correlation between the level of development of countries, measured by the per capita GDP, and the number of Internet servers per inhabitant, which is somewhat similar to its correlation with the number of main telecommunications lines per capita put in evidence by the ITU in the classic Gipp curve.

The influence of other possible factors (such as the practice of English, type of government, insularity, and commercial dynamism) on the Internet situation in the different countries of the world is considered. In the future, the impact of the Internet on global development will also depend highly on the evolution of the Internet technology and of the services provided.

In the second part, another viewpoint, from the outside, is proposed to better understand the Internet relationship with global development based on the observation and study of the uses and practices of the Internet.

This implies collecting typical Internet uses which might differ from place to place, depending on culture and economics.

In conclusion, a worldwide network of observatories of the uses and practices of the Internet is strongly needed. The network would establish a set of basic public Internet statistics, observe its uses and practices, detect emerging ones, and facilitate the dissemination of uses which are profitable to the social, economic, and cultural development of the people. In France the "Observatoire des Usages d'Internet" is being started with this purpose.

This effort should be part of an international effort for more equity in the availability of the Internet tool worldwide, for the benefit of all, in order to keep developed and developing countries in the same planetary village.

The Internet and Global Development - Paper 263

Michel ELIE
Observatoire des Usages d'Internet  France

The first part of the paper shows how network statistics can be used in order to stress some possible factors of growth of the Internet throughout the world. It examines the evolution of the geographical repartition of the Internet during the last two years on the basis of Network Wizards host distribution statistics.

The relation between the global distribution of Internet servers per unit of population and the level of development of each country as measured by gross domestic product (GDP) per capita or by the human development indicator (HDI) is shown, as well as the correlation between the level of development of countries, measured by the per capita GDP, and the number of Internet servers per inhabitant, which is somewhat similar to its correlation with the number of main telecommunications lines per capita put in evidence by the ITU in the classic Gipp curve.

The influence of other possible factors (such as the practice of English, type of government, insularity, and commercial dynamism) on the Internet situation in the different countries of the world is considered. In the future, the impact of the Internet on global development will also depend highly on the evolution of the Internet technology and of the services provided.

In the second part, another viewpoint, from the outside, is proposed to better understand the Internet relationship with global development based on the observation and study of the uses and practices of the Internet.

This implies collecting typical Internet uses which might differ from place to place, depending on culture and economics.

In conclusion, a worldwide network of observatories of the uses and practices of the Internet is strongly needed. The network would establish a set of basic public Internet statistics, observe its uses and practices, detect emerging ones, and facilitate the dissemination of uses which are profitable to the social, economic, and cultural development of the people. In France the "Observatoire des Usages d'Internet" is being started with this purpose.

This effort should be part of an international effort for more equity in the availability of the Internet tool worldwide, for the benefit of all, in order to keep developed and developing countries in the same planetary village.

Explaining Variations in Internet Deployment Across Developing Countries

Ben A. Petrazzini, ITU

Although the Internet has experienced booming growth, the diffusion of this powerful communication technology has not been even throughout the world. Some countries have achieved a surprisingly high penetration of Internet host computers per inhabitants, many others are in the early stages of adoption of the technology, and there are still a few that do not yet have direct access. The African continent (excluding South Africa), for example, has fewer Internet hosts than the Slovak Republic, Estonia, or Iceland.

Then, the obvious question to ask is: Why does Internet development vary so much between countries? This paper explores possible variables affecting Internet growth and assess their impact against the backdrop of current experiences from around the world—in particular in developing nations.

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Cultural Aspects of Internet Globalisation

Cultural Recognition and the Internet - Paper 121

Erik Chia-Yi LEE
National Taiwan University  Taiwan

Ever since the advent of Internet, the issue of cultural recognition is already part of the cultural struggle for visibility on the global network. When English is taken as the net Latin by many netizens and predominates most of net communications, it is also time for people who take the Internet seriously to reconsider the potential as well as the limitation it possesses in realizing the recognition of different cultures. This paper will thus focus on the possibility of implementing cultural recognition on and by the Internet.

On the theoretical plane, the issues addressed will include the meaning of recognition regarding identity, the symbiosis of the global and the local, as well as the Internet's contribution to cultural productions for recognition. It is the present writer's purpose to argue for the Internet's potential in empowering the previously silenced, or the so-called "marginal," cultures with certain accessibility and visibility. The "band-width" of the Internet, so to speak, has to be wide enough to form a global network and, at the same time, to embrace the local without necessarily or inevitably totaling the many into the (only) one. In this respect, the Internet by means of its technological apparatus may be able to realize, though quite basically, the cultural ideal of difference-in-identity.

On the empirical part, the paper will use Chinese literary productions on the Internet to exemplify the issues addressed theoretically. The example is significant because it can be taken as a discursive locus into which converge issues like the global-local confrontations, the cultural contrast between the West and the non-West, as well as the Internet's influence on the cultural productions embodied in a language other than English. And the present writer would like to argue in this part for a more active role for the Internet in helping the local to achieve preliminary cultural recognition.

By integrating the theoretical with the empirical, I hope, the paper could make sense of the Internet as much more than a mere technological advancement, but rather as a positive force for better cultural recognition. From the very beginning, the Internet was never reality only; it was also man's dream, a dream for a better (or different) life and culture in the future. And this paper is an effort only to start to reflect on how real this dream could be and how near this future may be.

Global Cyberculture Reconsidered

Collaborative Dance, Interactive Music, Folklore Preservation: High-bandwidth Cultural Applications with Global Implications

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Overcoming Language Barriers on the Global Internet 

Using the Internet in Arabic: Problems and Solutions - Paper 190

Badr H. AL-BADR
King Abdulaziz City for Science and Technology  Saudi Arabia

This paper addresses the support required for Arabic on the Internet in the fields of content, transport, client processing, and server processing. The problems in each category are discussed and the solutions are surveyed, with the new Internet protocols that facilitate using Arabic on the Internet being taken into consideration.

One of the major problems that faces the use of Arabic is the plurality of character sets. Transporting Arabic text over the Internet is problematic because of its non-ASCII character sets. Major among the client-processing issues is display of Arabic text.

The display features of Arabic text set it apart from other languages in several ways. These features necessitate specialized text-display algorithms. One of the most important server-processing issues for Arabic text is the problem of search and indexing. These operations are more involved in Arabic than in many other languages.

Solutions have started to emerge with browsers and mail programs building on new Internet standards such as Multipurpose Internet Mail Extensions (MIME) and HTML 4.0. The trend towards Unicode also helps the exchange of Arabic on the Internet. The paper concentrates on the issues of character sets, bidirectional display, Arabic e-mail, Arabic Web browsing, and search and indexing of Arabic text on the Internet.

Web Internationalization and Java Keyboard Input Methods  - Paper 200

LEONG Kok Yong
LIU Hai
Oliver P. WU
National University of Singapore  Singapore

Internationalization (I18N) has gained much momentum in recent years. Even the latest HTML 4.0 public draft has taken great strides towards the internationalization of document, with the goal of making the Web truly "World Wide."

This paper starts by describing the various developments in HTML standards that have made the Web a more global definition. It then points out the fact that the correct display and rendering of multilingual text is only half the scenario for I18N. Users not only wish to view I18N HTML documents, but they also want to create them! Keeping this fact in consideration, the paper then goes on to explain why Java has not completely fulfilled its role as an I18N development platform, especially in the area of native keyboard input methods.

To meet this shortcoming, this paper explains how the development of a Java Input Method Engine (JIME) fills the gap. It continues with a description of the design issues and implementation of the framework -- an applet, a Netscape Composer plug-in, and a Unicode-based multilingual text editor. It ends with an account of the ongoing development of JIME.

In conclusion, it would be ideal if Java had included full native keyboard input methods support in the core APIs. An early preview of JDK 1.2 sees an input method being introduced but perhaps only the next iteration of Java releases may offer full input method support regardless of the locale of the host platform.

Information Highways and the Francophone World: Current Situation and Strategies for the Future  - Paper 068

Jocelyn NADEAU
Cécile LOINTIER
René MORIN
Marc-André DESCÔTEAUX
Centre International pour le Développement de l'Inforoute en Français Canada

At the Sommet de la Francophonie held in Cotonou (Benin) in 1995, heads of state from countries using French as a common language made a commitment "to promote a Francophone presence in new information and communication technologies" (Cotonou Declaration).

Accordingly, the Agence de la Francophonie (ACCT) asked the Centre International pour le Développement de l'Inforoute en Français (CIDIF) to prepare a status report on the development and use of the information highway in la Francophonie.

This document describes the current situation and outlines several future possibilities with respect to the development of the information highway in la Francophonie.

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