Global Trends that will Impact Universal Access

to Information Resources


Submitted to UNESCO

July 15th, 2000




Christine Maxwell, Editor

On behalf of:

The Internet Society


The following Internet Society members contributed significantly to this paper, and very kindly gave permission for extensive sections of their own works to be used in this paper, along with additional original commentary. Their names appear in alphabetical order below:

(Biographical information on these special contributors is included in the Appendix 8.2 at the back of this paper. A full list of all the contributors can be located on the Internet Societyís web site at:

Thanks are also due to Internet Society Trustee Manel Sanromá , Scott Bradner, VP Standards and David Maher VP Policy for their editorial contributions. Internet Society members Arana Greenberg, Sheryl Hiatt and Jonathan Robin are to be thanked for their special editorial support in the preparation of this paper. The Internet Societal Task Force and other individual Internet Society members provided additional commentary and reference articles and input in the development of this discussion that helped to guide key areas o f focus of this report. (see


Vice Chairman Internet Society, July 15, 2000.

1.0 Introduction

The following discussion attempts to list key issues related to extending universal access to ensure that information resources are available to all at affordable prices (with special emphasis on emerging economies). Each of the considerations below is discussed in context of the main challenges and suggested solutions to meet these challenges.

Section 2 of this discussion paper covers the importance to the goal of universal access, of the true relationship between the importance of implementing accessible design solutions and compatibility with low bandwidth. Section 3 examines the critical issues of telecommunications deployment and elucidates the complex and critical issues around peering and the next generation Internet. Section 4 looks at the importance of e-commerce to emerging economies. Section 5 provides further recommendations with a comment on legal barriers. Section 6 provides the Final Conclusions.

It is the Internet Societyís hope that this discussion paper will serve as a precursor to actions undertaken by UNESCO for developing policies and formulating basic principles for a broad, modern concept of universal access for the twenty first century.

2.0 Main Challenges to Universal Internet Access

Today, if we examine the apex of human development, we can bear witness to the birth of new ëtribesí. For the first time, skills, wealth and culture are forming the basis of preferences rather than the age - old kinship of blood ties and physical location.

We are indeed facing massive conflicts between blood ties and knowledge ties, where the new structures of knowing are far outpacing the ability of traditional governments, institutions and all kinds of other entities to process and respond to information.

Geographical boundaries are fast becoming barriers of no consequence. This is bringing about mass dislocation in governmental institutions around the world.

The transformation in the structure of global communications systems has redefined the basis of participation in development and modernity by creating new levels of entry into the global economy. Today, participation in the information economy has become the revised standard and fundamental precondition for economic development. The growth of the information sector in lesser industrialized countries is now the latest barrier in access to capital and development resources.

At the same time, universal Internet access holds great promise for:

The Internet, unlike other media, represents a new collective mental space. It is critical to ensure that all societies gain the opportunity to merge their existing worlds into, and become a part of an expanded world ‚ that includes the new virtual world. Leaving the creation of this newly expanded world of ours to technocrats, engineers and the sway of multi-nationals is a recipe for a world that we would not want to bequeath to future generations.

With the advent of the Internet, nations, regions, cities, villages, and individuals are able to work and to come together within global, networked communities based on shared interests at a speed and inclusiveness never before possible.

UNESCO can play a vital communications role in helping to educate and galvanize governments and the public at large to understand how fundamentally important it is to put into place a free public communications framework. One that is non discriminatory to all voices, commercial and non-commercial; and that ensures that adequate space on the network, regardless of technology, is reserved for undistorted ‚ substantive forms of information, dialogue and debate. Universal access to the Internet will then be able to happen and to flourish through one critical mediating institution: namely, the institutional infrastructure of public space.

Universal Access cannot materialize as a reality unless and until specific key challenges are fully addressed:

2.1 The Right to Access Information

It is important to understand that lowering the barriers to Internet access is helpful to everyone in the context of gaining easier access to information. An argument can be made that every individual should have the right to access information - regardless of disability, economic situation, or geographic location. Without this realization there will be no consistent progress in the effort to provide global access. Global access itself is not enough. Cost of access has to come down to where not just the elite in emerging nations can afford to get on the Internet. The issues of inaccessible design should be addressed. Once the access is available then the content should be usable by all. Access to the Internet without the ability to use the content is a hollow shell. Access to the Internet without the ability to use the features or participate in e-commerce is nothing more than lip service to the idea of universal access.

The benefits of addressing the problems of inaccessible design extend to include all people, including the community of people with disabilities. (About 10% of the worldís population are disabled, with a disproportionate amount falling into the poor population in emerging economies). It is imperative that there be some way to insure that people with disabilities in the developing world are not separated from everyone else. There must not be even more of a Digital Divide opened between people with disabilities and the efforts to provide Internet access to all in emerging economies. Once it is understood that accessible design is always in synch with low technology solutions, then big steps can be made to help everyone gain access to the information society.

2.2 Enforcing Accessible Design Solutions

Universal Design simply stated means that as many people as possible can use Whatever process, object, or electronic or information technology that is being made available. By definition this includes low bandwidth areas or the principles of Universal Design are not being adhered to.

The Web Accessibility Initiative or WAI of the W3c at seeks to make web pages available and usable by the largest audience possible.

This is the goal, not just for people with disabilities but for people everywhere.

Below are some interesting examples:

2.3 Examples of Accessibility being Compatible with Low Bandwidth.

Users want to access any information they choose to look at as fast and with as little deductive effort as possible. One of the basic underpinnings of easily accessible web pages is good page and site design. This involves such things as, clear navigation schemes consistent placement of items on a page, and not using "leading edge" technology just for the sake of using it. Nowhere on sites that recommend good design, (such as Jakob Nielson's site, or anywhere on the W3C site ( can one find recommendations that in and of themselves require high bandwidth to implement. In fact on the (Usable Information Technology web site of Nielson) it clearly states that a web designer has from 10 to 30 seconds to grab and hold the attention of the visitor. Sites that do not load quickly as is suggested clearly do not fit into this category.

One of the easiest things that can be done to make a site accessible is the use of ALT (alternative text) attributes on image tags ‚ (See: for a more detailed explanation of these tags and their use.)

When these attribute tags describe an image or tell its function, they can also provide information about the destination of a link. This effort requires no extra bandwidth. In fact in areas where bandwidth is low, the use of ALT attributes on image tags, allows a user who has turned off the images in their browser, or is using at text browser such as Lynx, to know what the image is, or what it does as well as the destination of a linked image.

To be accessible in a low bandwidth area, a site that offers a download of video of a speech should also offer a text alternative to the speech such as a transcript for example. In a low bandwidth area, this would be the media of choice.

The fact is that many people who attend tutorials on accessibility do so in part or in whole because they wish to use accessibility techniques to increase the usability of their sites in low bandwidth areas. According to Accessibility experts, in 99% of all cases, implementing accessibility techniques do not require adding substantial bandwidth to the needs of a web site ‚ on the contrary, application of the kinds of accessibility techniques alluded to here, result in the reduction of bandwidth necessary to load web pages. People with slow modems and low bandwidth can access the electronic content of the Web even if they do not have the state of the art computer equipment. Likewise, people with personal digital assistants and cell phones can access the content of web sites incorporating accessible web design features.

Inaccessible design of information technology is a serious issue when it means that people cannot access many content sites on the Internet. It also means that people are encountering substantial software incompatibility with adaptive devices and other means used to gain access to the Internet. Today, there are now standards that should be enacted so as to ensure maximum Internet access for everyone.

Awareness of issues and solutions is critical to providing access to the Internet for people. A critical component of raising this awareness is a central entity (which could so well be UNESCO) that can provide outreach, education, standards support and a central repository for resources and solutions to access problems for those who need such information. This resource could also serve as a repository for global legal and policy briefs that can serve as models for laws and policies in all regions of the world where they are needed.

2.4 Issues

The main challenges related to extending universal access to information resources at a reasonable price are:

Currently none of these items exist in enough quantity to provide the needed level of access. This access should be provided for all and the solutions specific to people with disabilities need to fit within the larger solution. Solving these issues is actually critical to providing global affordable access.

One little addressed fact is the level of computer literacy needed for performance of even common rudimentary tasks in day to day living. Users should not (as Alan Cooper states in his seminal work, "The Inmates are running the Asylum" have to acquire computer literacy to use computers for common rudimentary tasks in every day life.

2.5 Solutions

The solutions listed below cannot be separated out from the overall solutions proposed for achieving Universal Access.

Today, there are areas that show some hope, for example, the European Union has accepted Web Accessibility Initiative (WAI) standards. The US on both a Federal and Local level is accepting standards to improve web and electronic and information technology accessibility for people with disabilities. Australia and the United Kingdom are instituting web accessibility regulations and Portugal has done so as well. Singapore has made huge efforts to include Internet access to all of its citizens, including those that are disabled.

These areas are models for the rest of the world. UNESCO could look to support these efforts and collect and disseminate the solutions as well as contributing to the solutions by outreach, and raising awareness of the accessibility situation. Having coherent "Best Practices" for this area that can be used by everyone. Further encouraging all players in the Internet arena to produce accessible solutions, be they makers of access devices, software or assistive technology, should be a goal of UNESCO. There should also be a Center devoted to collecting and disseminating accessibility solutions.

To accomplish global access and access to all content, outreach and educational programs should be initiated and sustained to raise the awareness of accessibility issues. The efforts of organizations like the W3C and the Internet Societyís Internet Societal Task Force Accessibility working group are to be encouraged in this regard.

What type of global backbone and access system can support anytime anywhere usage?

Whatever system is developed it should be standards based in so far as it should be easy to use and economically viable to access this system with low cost devices and devices that support Assistive Technology. The system should be based on the principles of Universal Design since it must as much as possible be usable by everyone not just a privileged few. (It should be noted that the advent of web on wireless phones might actually help to push the kinds of important design principles being talked about here.)

2.5.1 Infrastructure

The first area that should be addressed is the Infrastructure issue. This may take many forms, such as wireless as in Tonga, or fiber, or satellite, or some other as yet not developed architecture. Whatever form it takes, it should be usable by a large number of affordable and access devices and devices using assistive technology. Much of this technology is being developed now. As it is developed in the areas with higher economic standards, those areas should be encouraged to use that technology to help develop infrastructure solutions that are economically feasible for other areas of the world. The pay back for this of course is long term. As those areas develop access to the Internet and it services they will become more economically viable markets.

This infrastructure is a pre-requisite for all other aspects of access to the Internet for anyone. A required feature of the infrastructure will be access by a variety of standard economically affordable devices. (An interesting example of such an economic device would be closed captioning of television programs making it possible to index recorded video by captioning.) That way, everyone benefits from the ability to search the associated captions for words of interest and then be in a position to play the associated video.

2.5.2 Access Devices

These devices should be designed using the principles of Universal Design. Access devices should be designed to operate in a variety of modes such as audio, or video. This will benefit all those who operate in an environment that requires one mode or another. Ideally these devices will be multi-modal. These devices should also be usable with various types of assistive technology. Lastly they must also be affordable. Access technology that cannot be used by most of the world because of cost, is not a feasible solution. Public access centers, where people can use public facilities to access the Internet and its features, are one important solution. Properly developed and distributed, multi modal access devices will allow areas, which are mostly permeated by low technology, to access the information, which is stored on a high technology Internet.

2.6 Development of Content Information Networks

The dominant content of information networks in emerging economies should be comprised of educational applications and public information applications, rather than commercial applications that stimulate ever ‚ greater demand for environmentally unsustainable consumer products. Community access for public services in the areas of health education and government services by means of public access points in the information infrastructure will help a great deal in the distribution of access to priority content of this kind.

2.6.1 Presentation of Content

Using the principles of Universal design and standards such as those developed by the W3c Web Accessibility Initiative (, will allow the largest number of people to successfully access content on the Web This will allow access to content from almost any location and with almost any device. This is particularly important not just without advanced infrastructure to support high speed access, but it is also critical to accessing information using alternate access devices such as cell phones and PDA's (Personal Digital Assistants). In the United States this is becoming a preferred way to access information for large portions of the population. In many parts of the world it may well be that wireless technology will become the most economical way to access the web. In some cases it may be the only way to access the Internet.

This adherence to the principles of universal design will also have to include non-verbal ways to communicate information as well as ways to present information in languages other than English. This is vital to the idea that the Internet is for everyone. Methods to easily translate or present content in languages other than English should be developed. Translations that are verbal as well as written should be provided. In addition non-verbal methods of conveying information must also be developed for those who cannot read, or who have other learning problems.

For example weather reports can be vital information to farmers who may not necessarily be able to read. However they still have a right to access the information to receive information vital to their existence. Ways need to be found to present this information in low bandwidth areas, places where access maybe via alternate devices, or to an audience that may not be able to read. These types of presentations are crucial to the successful implementation of an Internet that is accessible to all people.

2.6.2 Encouraging Placement of Content on the Internet in Native Languages ‚ other than English.

Many governments are aware that the lack of content on the Internet in their native languages, is a serious impediment to Internet use in their countries. Even in the developed world, the preponderance of English on line poses a serious obstacle to universal access. For example the Government of Canada has pointed out as recently as 1999, that 31.2 % of Quebec Net surfers speak only French, and that this is an obstacle to use of the Internet. (See the full report at Governments should be encouraged to work on an integrated strategy with regard to the presence and quality of their native language/s content and services on the Internet. The European Unionís MLIS (Multilingual Information Society Program) offers interesting insight into European efforts to promote linguistic diversity and stimulate the provision of multilingual services etc.

(See: report on "Multilingualism on the Web" at .

The question of placement of a critical mass of content in languages other than English is a fundamental issue to address whenever the issue of universal Internet access is in question.

2.63 The Storage of Content

The ideal way to store content is as a separate entity and then tailor the presentation to the audience. This could be translation to another language, graphical or verbal presentation for those who cannot read, or must have an audio presentation of the content, or almost any other presentation imaginable. This of course is an expensive way to store and present content and will not be economically feasible to most people who wish to present information on the Internet.

The next best thing and far more practical are to examine ways of building this capability into the devices that access the Internet. While this does place the burden of providing this capability on the producer of the device, it also spreads the cost out over a much larger area. It also allows the user some flexibility in choosing the type of device that best suit their particular situation.

If content is produced in a way that adheres to such standards as are being developed by the W3C Web Accessibility Initiative (, then there will be a much better chance that it will be usable by a large and diverse audience regardless of disability.

The use of these standards needs to be encouraged. As a first step, UNESCO could put together a review series online of "Best Practices" and keep it updated. This could be based on current work being done and on the current standards. Just as This would be similar to what Bangladesh has shown with their micro-credit and village cell phones, - both of these efforts show imaginative approaches, which can easily bring the poor into the e-commerce Internet loop.

As a second step UNESCO could sponsor an international center to gather public domain solutions to various accessibility problems involving Electronic and Information Technology. Just as the European Union recently accepted the Web Accessibility Initiative (WAI) for web pages, the UNESCO Accessibility Center could serve as a global central clearinghouse to help promote and disseminate accessible electronic technology of all kinds. This center could also run outreach programs teaching accessibility techniques and workshops on legal and policy issues dealing with accessibility.

2.64 Creation of Repositories of Basic Information

UNESCO should seek to create repositories of basic information that can help improve and assist nations in their development. This information should be stored and presented in ways that are usable by all people including those who cannot read. A good start would be for the UNESCO to also encourage the United Nations to make sure they also set an outstanding example. This would mean, ensuring that all of their web site efforts strictly adhere to guidelines for accessibility such as the W3C/WAI Web Content Authoring Guidelines to be found at UNESCO could design these repositories so they are usable in low bandwidth areas as well. From the point of view of language in general, it will be important over time for UNESCO to put into place on its own web sites, access to text to speech converters capable of working in multiple languages.

They could contract with a non-profit organization to build and maintain these repositories or they could build them themselves. Private industry, governments, and foundations interested in improving access to information on a global basis could jointly fund these repositories.

The Internet Society and other non-profit organizations could manage and co-ordinate these efforts on a worldwide basis. Among other efforts would be a translation effort to disseminate knowledge from one language base to another. It is not reasonable to assume that everyone will speak the same language and the only way to improve two way communications is to be able to translate information on both and auditory and text basis.

Development of the above type of technology is already in its infancy. With the advent of worldwide access to computers it should be encouraged. To a limited degree this can be accomplished today through the use of database and XML technologies. These efforts could be encouraged and enhanced for this type of project.

With server based repositories set up to serve many different areas in many different ways no one area will be left out, no one person will be left out as long as they have some type of

Internet Access. These repositories should be designed for access by any type of device in any type situation. They should follow Universal Design Principles mentioned earlier in this paper. This will insure that whatever technical situation the user who wishes to access the information finds themselves in, they will be able to use the repositories. (By implication information needs to be stored in many different forms to accommodate variations in access speeds and costs, for example.)

In many rural situations access to basic information such as weather and other time critical information, and to local and national government information, can make a huge difference. This type of repository can hold information to help improve the technical base in many areas, not just in computers, manufacturing, agriculture, and other basic areas where the sharing of information can lead to economic improvement.

Since it is not realistic to expect great improvements in Infrastructure on a global basis in a short time frame, it is more likely that server based repositories can be designed to serve these areas with the infrastructure that exists. To be available as the access situation is improving as well. This is a solution that can adjust to any situation in which the user may find themselves. This will basically allow low technology to access high technology and will grow with the improvement of Internet access in regions around the world.

2.7 The Importance of Supporting Audio Communications

Bringing out the Importance of Audio Communications illustrates the importance of bringing focus to bear on audio communications via the Net, to start with: audio "dumb terminals" (the telephone, radio) are more or less universally available. It is also becoming apparent that many advanced methods of accessing the net will use audio and other modes of access. These methods can be used to improve the techniques of access on a global basis in environments where what is considered traditional access may not be feasible. At the same time, it is critical to not only find a way for all people access such Net content, but also to be able to produce content for placing on the 'Net themselves. The Net cannot be a one way communications device, and all that access the net should be able to share their ideas in one way or another.

To insure this there needs to be simple clear mandates for accessibility regarding all public information put out by Governments for the information of their Citizens. The same information should be contained in important Guidelines to all other Internet users to bear in mind as they construct web sites and databases for online access by fellow Internauts.

2.8 Further Considerations in Evaluating Universal Access as a Goal

2.8.1 The Impact of Open Source Software (OSS) in Emerging Economies

The impact of open source software in less developed countries can result in:

2.82 Issues of Accessibility and Bandwidth in the Context of Socio-Political Evolution

Evolving political and structural institutions typically produce deregulated markets in many emerging economies. However, incumbent network providers (telephony or otherwise) either retain large power (cases like Telmex in Mexico, Telgua/Guatel in Guatemala), or are acquired by much stronger international companies (witness C&W in Panama). Therefore, governments have to apply efforts in order to promote competition with a goal toward equity for the benefit of the general population.

Bandwidth does not arrive on its own. The market for bandwidth provides a profitable business to Incumbent Local Exchange Carriers (ILECs) and again governments have to press for its provision in open markets.

In countries where favorable forms of deregulation are incipient, it is recommended that governments make every effort to develop more access to health, education and government services by means of public access points in the information infrastructure at low or no cost, with clearly defined rules.

The rapid rise and evolving compatibility of cellular and other mobile communications gives governments and companies extraordinary opportunity to encourage the development of wireless devices with full Internet access in order to provide immediate enhanced access to the Net for mobile users. Tenders and auctions for promoting wireless devices should be considered urgent. So should be the development of content designed for access through these devices and oriented to education and training or their support and continuation in the workplace.

Accessibility rises only in the context of a political and cultural evolution, which promotes respect among people, enlightens and sensitizes people to the critical problems of others and creates new job opportunities for the emerging new economies.

2.9 Telecommunications Deployment

More than a century after the emergence of telecommunications, developing countries still do not share in the benefits of a universally distributed basic telecom service. Extension of existing and new telecom networks too rural and lesser economic zones will be the necessary conditions of any participation the Information Society.

The new information technologies are cheap and becoming cheaper - but not without cost. Communication networks are cost effective when being implemented for large populations; the primary challenge is the initial infrastructure investment. Countries with low or low-density populations cannot afford the initial costs associated with advanced communication infrastructures. Hence they require partnerships with the private sector as well as other investment. It is however often the case that the most modern telecom equipment is often cheaper today than the older equipment; so it may well be the right decision to acquire and put into place new telecom equipment.

3.1 Regulatory Frameworks and Information Infrastructure

The regulatory framework in developed countries enforces protection of investment, intellectual property and individual privacy in the information market. The legal framework addresses private sector involvement, skilled human resources, standards and implementation. In most emerging economies regulatory frameworks concerning information do not exist. Although the rapid growth in information technology is changing methods of doing business at home, at work and in organisations in both developed and emerging economies, regulatory frameworks have had very little effect on emerging economies.

While information technology, including telecommunications, has penetrated every market in the developed world, emerging economies still view information technology as a means to support management information systems, finance and accounting facilities, and data processing. Computer penetration per capita in both China and India in the area of small office/home office (SOHO) is still not significant in relation to population numbers.

Telecommunications still remain a major issue in almost all-emerging economies. In the context of countries like China and India, if information infrastructure were to cover the widespread Chinese and Indian populations and technology were to be made available to access global information through the Internet, then the economic scene would be revitalised. Awareness of the Internet and its importance for policy makers exists only at the executive level, but unfortunately, not at the political level. This needs to be addressed urgently in such populous countries.

3.2 The Current "Digital divide": Implications of Restrictive Telecommunications Regulations.

A growing difference in the levels of market liberalization in the supply of Internet access service is leading to one form of "digital divide" on the global scale.

Many countries have introduced or are introducing telecommunications regulations that discourage the development of Internet access service through competition. Granting monopoly in Internet access service to a national incumbent operator or charging high license fees for the Internet access service are examples to barriers of market entry. Most of such regulations are found amongst emerging economies. Examples of these national regulations are exhibited in the table below.

At the same time, many some emerging economies have introduced incentives to encourage the use of the Internet. For example, some countries in Latin America provide incentives to reduce a retail price of PSTN for the access to the Internet. The supply of Internet access service is free from a regulatory burden in the majority of developed countries.

It has become evident that the IT-use in economic activities, especially the use of the Internet for a variety of economic transactions, such as electronic commerce, has stimulated positive impact on the national economy. This has been demonstrated by the recent economic growth in the US.

As Internet use in business activities substantially contributes to economic growth in general, the gap in economic development will widen between those countries where end users enjoy the benefits of the Internet, without financial or any other obstacles, and those where they do not. This difference largely coincides with different national telecommunications regulatory regimes, i.e. those countries that are open to competition and others that are not, as the regulations create costs to Internet users and service providers. Thus, telecommunications regulations create a "digital divide" in economic development on a global scale.

Table I: Examples of Countries Known to Have Barriers to Entry for Internet Access


Type of Authorization

Foreign ownership

Can own and operate International gateway?




up to 50% fgn ownership permitted





35% max.





40% max.




Licenses: Internet access and Internet exchange.


No, except for at a customer premise.

IASP, IXSP Licenses.

Equant applying for both.





Need to check if the existing data license includes Internet access.



License system under consideration



No policy or regulations on VOIP.

Cote díIvoire






License or authorization






40% max.







License fee: US$ 2K/Year


Internet franchise



Must enter a contract with national PTT.


Value added service license



Subscription fee



Value added service license



Included in the current license application.



Licenses: Internet access and IP Telephony.



VOIP is legal under the data regulation and may be provided by licensed providers.


None but may be established shortly.


Yes, with licenses for local loop, long distance or international services.

VOIP: Under a voice license.



License from IDSC (Monopoly PTT)





Data license includes Internet access.



License fees: One time ‚ USD 35,250, Annual fee ‚ USD 3,525, revenue tax (10 %), and connection charges to PTT.


Limited categories of users are allowed, esp. researchers.


Full service: SP 2K/m

E-mail only: SP 0.1K/m.

Usage charge: SP 60 for every 15 min.



Application filing with EET.



Need to check if the existing data authorization includes Internet access.





Need to check if the existing data authorization includes Internet access.


License from Turk Telekom (monopoly PTT)



License fee

$ 25K ‚ 50K

Source: US Dept. of Commerce. Data above is as of September to December í99.

3.2.1 Telecommunications Deployment

To address the question of telecommunications deployment, it is useful to consider a closely related question: what makes the Internet different from other telecommunication services, such as those which run over the public switched telephone network (PSTN), There are arguably a number of differences.

Although there is a similarity in the underlying technology of the Internet and telecommunications services; (both the Internet and the voice telephone network run over the essentially the same wires) but the equipment attached to those wires, and the use made of them is different. On the Internet messages are broken down into digital "packets" of data which means that the wires can be used much more efficiently, to carry a much higher volume of information, at a lower cost. The dilemma occurs over pricing. Pricing

The public switched telephone network has traditionally been priced on the basis of usage. By contrast, the dominant pricing principle that has evolved for the Internet is flat rate pricing. The model for wholesale pricing differs too. A service provider terminating a particular telephone call receives a fee for doing so. By contrast, on the Internet, there is almost no flow of cash on an end-to-end basis. On the telephone network, emerging economies are net recipients of financial flows, but on the Internet they make net out payments for carriage of their traffic. Traffic flows and value flows

In most telephone calls, the traffic flow is approximately even between the caller and the called party. But with web browsing, the traffic flow is highly asymmetric with the main flow being towards the party, which originated the call, who also gains most value from the call.

3.3 Advent of Internet Telephony

Another area of serious concern in the context of telecommunications services and the deployment of those same services over the Internet, is the advent of Internet Telephony. This presents the biggest dilemma for PTOs. On the one hand, it promises to reduce the price of international telephone calls for the citizens of the country. But on the other hand, Internet Telephony could be viewed as a threat to the pricing structure of the incumbent PTO and undercut its profitable business in originating and terminating international calls. The bottom line is that protectionism is not what works, so it is actually important that PTOís look at the advent of Internet Telephony as a global opportunity rather than as a local threat.

Emerging economies are trapped between the need to attract private capital (general international capital) to upgrade and expand their telecommunications network, on the one hand, and development goals on the other. The case of India is perfect for illustrating how this trap can derail the most powerful of developing country economies. Unless development goals in information infrastructure are recognized as legitimate and necessary at the international level (such as the World Trade Organization, (WTO), with risk guarantees provided by global institutions such as the World Bank, few nations will escape this trap.

International investors will continue to boycott telecom markets where development goals are imposed on operators and providers. Such goals could be universal access, education, health, etc. The reality is that trade law which governs the telecom services market often does not explicitly make concessions to development goals. Thus governments must undertake at their own initiative the construction of a nationwide network of public access points both for telecommunications and the Internet. Most simply cannot afford the cost. As countries realize that technological and communications advances constitute the driving force for social and economic betterment, the lack of telecommunications infrastructures has major implications for global competitiveness and economic sustainability in a networked world.

3.4 Common Misunderstandings about the Nature of Internet Service

In the area of Internet services, many believe (mistakenly) that:

  1. Since there is the over- concentration of Internet backbone business in the USA, with no requirement for the operators there to share costs of leased circuits that this means that ISPs in other countries must in most cases pay the entire costs of two-way links.
  2. This situation is further aggravated by the high costs of leased lines from the countries concerned.
  3. The end result is that Internet providers and users in the United States gain free Internet access to rest of the world at the expense of other countries, including the poorest of them.

This line of reasoning reflects several misunderstandings about the nature of Internet service. To begin with, there is an increasing amount of local or regional "hubbing" that reduces the need to obtain pairwise international connection to US backbones. Moreover, an increasing amount of content is being found locally and is of high value, especially when it is in the local language. More important, however, is understanding what Internet service is and in particular, the difference between private or public peering and the offer of transit service on the Internet.

3.4.1 Peering is not Free

Every ISP must assure that any packets sent by customers will be delivered to the destination anywhere on the Internet. There are two ways to achieve this goal:

By buying international transit service from a third party and reselling it or by arranging for a sufficient number of local and international connections to achieve global connectivity by means of pairwise exchange of traffic between the customers of the pair of "peering" ISPs. Peering is not free. It costs money to create the necessary connectivity. Indeed, it may well cost much more to achieve connectivity by means of peering than by purchasing transit services. The transit service must deliver received traffic to any Internet connection in the world. While the purchaser of this service need only deliver traffic to customers of the purchaser's network. The burden of cost lies with the transit Internet service provider.

It is primarily for this reason that international transit services providerís position their service offerings to recover the cost of international access circuits. It is also important to keep in mind again that "peering" is not free. There are significant costs associated with achieving sufficient connectivity to allow global service on the basis of pairwise peering. International Internet service providers must recover those costs to sustain their business.

As the economics of Internet service provision continue to change with time - as costs come down and as connectivity increases, it will be useful to revisit cost recovery mechanisms for all ISPs to determine whether changes in traditional compensation are appropriate.

3.5 The Need for Next Generation Internet

With regard to the next generation Internet, including mobile Internet, the need for vastly increased Internet IP address space has made the transition to Internet Protocol version 6 (IPv6), (which provides far more addresses than current version 4,) a matter of urgency.

The European Commission intends to take several steps to facilitate, where appropriate, the timely transition of the information economy to the IP addressing system. This will include the timely introduction of next generation Internet addressing (IPv6).

ISOCís support for IPv6, is not inconsistent with its support of universal access for all - in terms of what it is actually going to cost to governments and private enterprise, to push for this next generation Internet protocol, and to ask that products be shipped IPv6 ready. Having researched this matter with IPv6 experts, the Internet Society is very aware that the transition from IPv4 to IPv6 will be a significant challenge and that it will take some years to fully implement. The vendors of router equipment and of computer operating systems into which IPv6 capability should be placed have not felt strongly motivated by their customers to move more rapidly on implementation of IPv6. It has become apparent, most especially at the recent INET2000 in Yokohama, that mobile Internet access may prove to be the primary driver of need for the larger address space inherent in IPv6. The mobile telephone vendors anticipate that on the order of 1.5 billion Internet-enabled mobile telephones will be in the market by 2004. Adding to that the continuing growth of personal digital assistants, laptops, desktops and various world-wide web and e-commerce servers, and one has a recipe for running out of IPv4 address space in a few years. The use of Network Address Translation devices has been shown to be flawed by the Internet Architecture Board because it interferes with important end to end functions including encryption and digital signatures that are critical to successful e-commerce development. Consequently, the Internet Society and its technical branches are strong proponents of movement in the industry towards the newer IPv6 protocols.

4. The Importance of e-Commerce to Emerging Economies.

The Internet can level the competitive playing field by allowing small companies to extend their geographical reach and secure new customers in ways formerly restricted to much larger firms.

At the same time, however, there are significant barriers to the participation of SMEs,

(Small and Medium-sized Enterprises) in the global electronic marketplace:

The growth of electronic commerce should have great significance for emerging economies, allowing them to participate more actively in the global economy. Indeed, some believe that information and communications technologies can serve as mechanisms enabling emerging economies to "leapfrog" stages of development. A recent study found many areas in which Internet could strengthen economic policy programs: economic research and analysis, public transparency and advocacy, professional networking, institutional networking, distance technical assistance, distance education, regional approaches and business-oriented Internet programs.

4.1 Payment Standards for e-Commerce.

There are currently no payment standards for e-commerce. There is a global trend towards increasing usage of credit and debit cards as payment tools for goods and services sold on the Internet. Electronic cash has failed to find a standard and is out of use everywhere. Smart cards have not yet reached the necessary critical mass. Electronic order of physical goods to be paid on delivery is popular for internal trading in some countries.

As a result, countries without a well-developed and pervasive system of plastic money cannot benefit easily from electronic commerce.

4.2 Tax Jurisdiction Issues

The key problems of how to tax Internet transactions arise from three areas:

Perhaps the single biggest problem is the issue of determining in which tax jurisdiction a particular transaction takes place. Most taxation authorities rely, by and large, on the physical evidence of a transaction to determine which taxation authority has jurisdiction over the transaction in question. However, with Internet commerce, the buyer, the seller, the point of transaction, and the actual provider or fulfiller of goods or services can be in different countries. Because there is no physical evidence, it is difficult to make a tax ruling.

4.3 The Economics of Internet Connectivity

In the beginning, all aspects of cost for the Internet were borne by the US Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency. When the NSFNET (National Science Foundation Network) was created, the US National Science Foundation bore the cost of operating the NSFNET backbone network. Universities and research institutions bore the cost of networking their respective campuses/buildings and NSF subsidized the founding and operation of the intermediate level networks (such as NYSERNET, SURANET, MIDNET, BARRNET and so on). NSF also sponsored the interconnection of non-US research networks to the NSFNET backbone through an International Connections program operated for NSF by Sprint.

Similar kinds of government sponsorship are to be found around the world, augmented with a variety of non-profit cost-sharing arrangements, such as those leading to the formation of EBONE and NORDUNET, for example [3].

Each ISP would exchange routing information with the other connected ISPs and this information would serve to pass traffic between the commercial customers of each of the ISPs by way of the paths connecting each participating ISP with the CIX (Commercial Internet Exchange). The exchange of such routing information was called "peering" because each of the ISPs effectively acted as equals or as "peers". No charges were made between the peering ISPs on the basis that each ISP received equal value from the exchange of traffic with its peering partner.

4.3.1 Commercial Peering

The US Government endorsed the practice of commercial peering when the NSFNET backbone was retired in 1995. (Note that the ARPANET backbone had long since been retired in 1990). The formal establishment of Network Access Points (NAPs) by the National Science Foundation formed the basis for a competitive collection of Internet backbones to interconnect and exchange traffic - assuring full Internet connectivity in the US that had formerly been assured through interconnection with the NSFNET backbone.

Observers often misunderstand that peering is somehow cost free. Nothing could be untrue. To understand this, it is vital to appreciate that "Internet service" means that a packet sent by a customer can be delivered to literally any possible destination on the Internet. (To achieve this connectivity, an ISP either has to arrange to be connected to a sufficiently large number of NAPs (or peering points or Internet exchanges) and/or engage in sufficient direct (peer-to-peer) network interconnections to assure full connectivity. Or the ISP must purchase what is called "transit" service from another ISP that IS fully able to route traffic to any destination in the Internet.)

A new ISP often starts out by purchasing transit service from another ISP (e.g. a backbone service provider) and re-selling this service to its customers. As the ISP grows, it may negotiate peering arrangements with other ISPs either at NAPs or by direct (or "private") peering in addition to purchasing transit service to reach those destinations not reachable through the peering interconnections. It is important to note that whether the interconnection between ISPs is accomplished by peering or by purchase of transit service there is cost to the ISPs either for the cost of connecting to a NAP, establishing a private peering connection or purchasing transit service. The Economics of Establishing Peering Relationships

Generally speaking, ISPs agree to peer if they conclude that it is more cost effective to pay the cost of access to a common NAP and then to exchange traffic between their customers than it is to achieve this same goal by purchase of transit service. The cost of transit is reduced because some of the traffic is now diverted to the peering streams, but there IS a cost for the peering, namely the cost of access to one or more exchange points. Typically, peers interconnect at multiple NAPs or with multiple private interconnections to assure reliable operation. The balance between the cost of transit and the cost of peering is one element of the economics of Internet service.

Full Internet connectivity is established by any particular ISP through direct connection to customers, through peering relationships and through the purchase of transit service. A large ISP might achieve full connectivity through a combination of peering and direct customer interconnection without the need for purchasing transit. Because peering has costs, it is usually the case that only an ISP with a sufficiently large revenue base can afford to utilize peering and customer interconnection as the exclusive means of achieving full Internet connectivity.

4.4 Economics and Internationalism

As telecommunication prices for leased circuits drop, domestically and internationally, more options are opening up for ISP interconnection. In recent months, nearly two -thirds of traffic originating or terminating in Europe is kept in Europe while two years ago, two- thirds of the traffic originating or terminating in Europe went to the United States. This is also indicative of the grown of web-based services in Europe - providing more local sources of information than ever before.

Historically, international Internet transit services have been purchased by ISPs outside the US by connecting international leased lines to US Internet Service Providers. The factors leading to this architecture are changing.

As international service prices drop, more regional interconnections can be expected, reducing costs for servicing out-of-region traffic (more will stay in-region, less has to go outside the region). Regional networks are already emerging in Asia, Latin America and will eventually emerge in Africa as well. Moreover, global Internet Service Providers will be able to offer transit services on domestic links, reducing the costs to resellers considerably.

4.5 A Note on Monopolies

For many years, telecommunications services were the province of monopolies chartered in each country. To achieve international telephone and communication services, one simply had to agree to interconnect the monopoly telephone services of each country on a bilateral basis (setting aside cases where one country relays traffic to a third party). There was no choice in the matter. If country A wanted to be able to exchange traffic with country B, there was no question about having to interconnect the unique monopoly networks of country A and country B. Each monopoly would have paid its costs for the half circuit connecting them and then negotiated a so-called settlement rate that each monopoly would charge the other for termination of traffic. In many countries, high settlement rates have meant that the telecommunications companies were bringing into the country substantial revenues.

Furthermore, if international communication services are in the purview of a single monopoly provider, competing ISPs within a country, to the extent they must rely on international connections to achieve full Internet connectivity (e.g. through purchase of transit services on international links), are potentially at risk. The monopoly service provider can charge whatever it wants for international circuits linking to transit service providers. The situation is exacerbated when the same monopoly provider also competes for business from end-users. This scenario only underscores the potential value of domestic competition to drive down costs, including costs for international service.

In the presence of competition between carriers in country B, it is no longer a foregone conclusion that any particular network in country A must connect to all of or even more than one of the networks serving customers in country B. The settlement system is giving way to pairwise business negotiations between telecommunication service providers who have a choice of interconnection partners. Competition in the domestic and international telecommunications markets has had a powerful effect on the costs of operations both for Internet services and more generally for telecommunications services.

4.5.1 The Economics of Emerging Economies

The term "emerging economies" brings along with it many connotations. Consider a new ISP just starting out in country Z. The ISP will need to rely on local telecommunications facilities provided by local telecom providers or it will have to put into place its own facilities to reach its customers. To achieve full Internet connectivity, it will need to connect to at least one and possibly more than one ISP capable of delivering transit service to the rest of the Internet. Historically, customers for international transit service typically pay the full cost of the circuit linking them to an international transit ISP. While past history has favored US-based ISPs for this service, thanks to the relatively low costs for international services in the US, the rapidly evolving infrastructure in other regions of the world are permitting new ISPs to connect to transit services on a less-costly regional or even domestic basis. Equally important is the expansion of global Internet backbone services on a highly competitive basis. The global backbone providers have points of presence in many countries and regions and the cost of the international circuits are subsumed within the cost of operating the global backbone. Consequently, there is sharing of these costs among customers and the prices are subject to vigorous global competition.

Furthermore, unless local rules prohibit sharing of circuits, consortia of ISPs could share the cost of a regional or international transit service circuit. Or a single ISP could purchase the transit service and resell it to downstream ISPs, reducing the average cost per ISP.

The formation of local peering points (packet exchanges) can potentially reduce costs by allowing new ISPs to exchange traffic among their respective customers for the cost of access to appropriate peering points, reducing the absolute capacity needed for international transit service. All of these scenarios suggest that the historical model of pairwise interconnection of monopoly carriers is giving way to a richer mesh of interconnections among competing service providers in local, regional and global settings. These trends should lead to reduced costs for Internet services everywhere, including the emerging economies.

Where telecommunications infrastructure is lacking, there are several paths to bridging the so-called Digital Divide. One is to make deliberate government investments in infrastructure (e.g. through loans from the World Bank, through the UN Development Program). Another is to establish a business climate in which foreign and domestic capital is available and competition is encouraged so that substantial resources are brought to bear on the problem of developing infrastructure.

Among the surprises in Internet economics is the observation that a country can take advantage of Internet for business purposes even when the Internet is not widely deployed in the country. For example, India has a modest but growing Internet infrastructure, but in cities such as Bangalore, there are many well-educated engineers who have strong Internet skills. These engineers use the Internet to export their designs or their outsourcing services to other countries where Internet is more widespread. In a sense, this is a bit like exporting talent without having talent leave the country. This can certainly help to reverse the brain drain. It is a portent of a globally competitive future.

5. Further Recommendations

5.1 Roles and Responsibilities of the Public Sector

While national information policy in emerging economies concentrates on trade, international relations, national security and technology, very little attention has been paid to accessing information electronically through the Internet and to deriving benefits. Emerging economies, in order to achieve faster economic growth, and should include in their official documents high-priority plans for implementing electronic information delivery systems. Policy statements should be integrated into national planning documents such as five-year plans and should be implemented on schedule. Sufficient funding should be allocated at the planning stage and should be made available quickly for implementation.

Emerging economies will need to pursue a balanced approach to the information sector, maintaining an emphasis on development goals even while remaining within the powerful constrictions of international trade law. According to a key Internet Society member expert in this area of research, Dr. Shalini Venturelli, (, it is vital that these economies evolve effective mechanisms to promote and enforce the public interest function of communications industries in serving education, social and cultural development, and public-opinion formation.

In the absence of such institutional and legal mechanisms, the information sector will tend to serve the high end user market and the advanced information service needs of multinational industries based in these countries. The international content industry is seeking expanded markets for their cultural and information products in categories such as film, television programs, Internet Services, news, books, magazines, and data services, ultimately resulting in full-scale commercialisation of conventional and digital networks. It will be difficult if not impossible to retrospectively impose public service, development-oriented obligations, once the emerging information sectors of developing nations have been thoroughly integrated into the structure of global commercial communications.

5.2 Innovative Uses of Hybrid Technologies to Build Telecommunications Infrastructures.

It is recommended that emerging economies, in particular, consider the use of hybrid technologies to achieve universal access; this is important when the costs and timeframe associated with building infrastructures are prohibitive. For example, low cost packet switch technologies can be implemented with a small scale radio transmitter, a cheap sound card and a Linux PC with radio modem software (a small, 9600 baud modem is implemented in software and is usable on very low cost personal computers).

With more economical resources available, low cost 80-to-110 kbps radio modems can be considered as technology options to more expensive infrastructures. With low speed access, server technologies can be used effectively. Content rewriting, online compression, active caches can all be used to increase the perceived transmission rate. Very low bit rate audio and video can also be effectively used in this context.

Broadband is more difficult, but it should be considered that even in industrialized countries high-speed interconnections are not always feasible at low cost. Lower cost hybrid technology options emerging in the marketplace include utilizing satellite technologies, television signals, and the Internet to produce innovative, lower cost options to providing greater access at lower costs. Although lower cost at the component level, the costs associated with developing innovative hybrid technologies lie in the requirement for skilled systems integration technologists to design, implement and maintain these infrastructures. The key to successful implementation is investing in sound design and planning.

All efforts to improve access to the Internet infrastructure such as wireless or other access should include the requirement that devices using this type of access should be usable with standard types of assistive technology, or include these technologies in the devices themselves. Ways to encourage this type access should be found and incentives to providers should be supplied to keep the cost within reason.

5.3 UNESCOís Potential Role in Identifying & Showcasing Best Practices

UNESCO could put together a review series online of "Best Practices" and keep it updated. (For example, Bangladesh has shown important successes with their microcredit and village cell phones - both of these efforts show imaginative approaches which can easily bring the poor into the ecommerce Internet loop.)

Access to knowledge is fundamental: basic principles are based on easing all the three points mentioned above (access, use, and creation of knowledge). There should be equal access to technology for creating communication links. If possible, interconnections through research networks should be eased in terms of economical access, interconnection equipment, skills needed to create the connection and routing. Access to open source software and knowledge should be organized and, if possible, localized. More co-operation should be sought out by the many projects actually running: UNESCO, EU, etc. with duplicate and competing efforts. UNESCO could contribute to the solution significantly by assisting in the development of a repository for all Internet "Best Practices" worldwide.

5.3.1 Promoting the Concept of Libraries as Centers for Global Information Access.

A corollary is that UNESCO can obtain large effects for its efforts if it promotes an accelerated education for librarians in matters of information and communications technologies, (known as ICTs). They can be effective change agents, as has already been shown in countries like the US and France, but in the developing world they are in a situation of lack of resources, low self-esteem, and very poor technical knowledge. Establishing the concept of libraries as centers for access to information and, not only book repositories will undoubtedly have a large result in a relatively short term.

5.3.2 The Importance of Telecenter Initiatives

The Internet Society thinks that promoting telecenters in emerging economies around the world, is an important step in helping to achieve significant steps forward in making access to Internet and Internet services more general, especially in rural areas. As a result, it is specifically working on implementing self-sustaining Internet training centers in regions

around the world. This will eventually allow the population in these countries to keep pace with developed countries, as it will give them access to technological and academic information as well as Internet training at a variety of levels. The benefits they gain will affect every aspect of personal and professional life and enhance efficiency in administrative, educational, cultural and economical levels.

The Self Sustaining Internet Training Centers, (SITC) project, initiated by the Internet Society, is based on a close partnership and cooperation between local authorities, members of local Internet Society chapters and other relevant organizations involved in the development of the country or area in which the centers are set up. The Internet Society will be asking for all community efforts such as mobile or static SITCs, should include some standard assistive technology as part of their access efforts. Examples would be voice input, screen readers for the blind and those who cannot read, and technology to help people with mobility impairments to access Internet features, especially the Web and email. Examples of Areas Notable for Telecenter Activity

A major effort in Telecenter activity can be seen in Tunisia. Since October of 1998 the Tunisian Government has been putting into place tens of "Publi-centers. The key purpose of this effort has been to make access to Internet and Internet services general throughout Tunisia, especially in rural areas and to create jobs for young university graduates. The Tunisian Governmentís overall approach to information technologies aims at giving the largest possible number of people access to modern means of telecommunication. This has been achieved through reductions in phone and Internet access rates in combination with promotion of the use of Internet among families, the opening of public Internet access centers and concentration on placing more and more Tunisian content and Tunisian ecommerce web sites online. (A primary example being

In Latin America, a number of Telecenter initiatives have flourished and a few of them, notably one in Peru, are already providing extraordinary services. It still is true that the collaboration of academic institutions, particularly universities, is vital for projects in emerging economies.

As an example, some of the most effective Telecenter initiatives in Mexico are undertaken by UAM (Metropolitan University, Mexico City) with a small number of public libraries, and in a joint project among UNAM (National University of Mexico), Universidad Tecnologica de Tecamachalco and ISOC Mexico for rural/small-town conditions. The main focus of these kinds of efforts is to:

Consortia for the exploitation of excellence centers have proven to be a good way to use the locally available resources (for example, a local link or university). Examples of these research networks include the European Center for Excellence and the various exploitation and exchange centers. Community facilities can be employed if they are significantly low cost. In this sense, portals and information centers are better than large-scale infrastructures. Of great importance is the lifting of legal impediments and allocation of resources in a quick and low cost way (for example radio spectrum allocation).

One should look at existing research and advanced training facilities already available in emerging economies and enhance them through easier and less bureaucratic access to funding for equipment, academic exchange travel. And Diaspora populations, whose interaction with the receiving institution are enhanced by distance-education media and procedures, as well as scholarships and fellowships for students. If implemented successfully, this strategy can result in the creation and development of important links between universities, think tanks and the private sector.

Research networks in emerging economies can achieve much and should be aided to defeat significant obstacles.

It is recommended that countries with weak legal frameworks cooperate to define international standards. These policies include allowances for cryptography and legal acknowledgment of digital signatures to protect consumer and privacy rights.

5.4 Legal Barriers

1. In May 1998, the UNCTAD secretariat issued a study entitled "Electronic commerce: Legal considerations". This study reviewed many of the legal issues raised by paper-based legal rules: the requirement for a "written document", "signature" or "original", the evidential value of electronic messages, the storage of electronic messages, documents of title and negotiability, allocation of liability, validity and formation of contracts and incorporation by reference.

2. Many of these issues had been raised in prior studies by the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (ECE) and have been dealt with in proposed national and international instruments, the most significant of which is the "Model Law on Electronic Commerce".

3. In addition to the concern about paper-based requirements as a barrier to electronic commerce, there is also concern that lack of harmonization in the rules generally applicable to electronic commerce would also result in effective barriers to trade. Areas that have been identified as involving legal issues relevant to electronic commerce include data protection, taxation, customs duties, security and authentication, intellectual property rights, liability of Internet service providers, illegal and harmful content, Internet governance (more specifically, domain names), electronic payments systems and consumer protection.

4. In the case of countries that lack appropriate infrastructures, the ability to prioritize international cooperation for the deployment of communication networks, promoting technology transfers and sharing communication resources satellites and others should be reinforced through strong policies and effective implementation actions

6. Final Conclusions

In conclusion, multiple solution sets are emerging for online access. Each case needs to be evaluated and customised to meet individual country needs. Priorities should be determined, depending on available resources. Indigenous resources should be harnessed and other resources tapped, including funding from international organisations and private enterprise.

The Internet itself needs to be used to mobilize support among specialized ministries, universities and industries to produce and manage information, and to emphasize institutional arrangements to influence policy makers and information purveyors to promote the Internet for the countryís development. The question of access to the Internet for all people including those with disabilities are closely tied to all other issues involved with deploying a global and affordable Internet that is usable by all. These issues cannot be separated and the questions of accessibility and the solutions involved will improve access for all at the same time.

The benefits of addressing the problems of inaccessible design extend out to all areas of the world where lack of telecommunications infrastructure and bandwidth pose serious problems. Most importantly, the fact is that accessible web design enables low technology to access high technology, thereby contributing to a stable, sustainable electronic infrastructure. People with slow modems and low bandwidth can access the electronic content of the Web even if they do not have the state of the art computer equipment. Likewise, people with personal digital assistants and cell phones can access the content of web sites incorporating accessible web design features.

Unless basic laws concerning telecommunications enforce the making of Internet access as part of the basic services offered by governments and local governments to their citizens, other moves will be very difficult, and subject to ad hoc negotiations.

Given the pervasiveness of electronic information, access to ICTs is becoming a pre-requisite for people to enjoy many of the rights established in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. As information is recognised as playing a central and strategic role in everything we do, from politics to banking, from education to consumption, from the organisation of the state and the socio-legal system to organisation of culture and self-identity, it will become necessary to start debating a political settlement on the fundamental principles of information rights. just as debates to secure human rights and environmental security have gained some incremental ground in human awareness during this past century. This is indeed a future potential role for UNESCO to consider as it strives to find the best solutions to the problems of Universal Access at the dawn of the 21st Century.

7. References

IPV6 Information Resources:

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The Internet has significantly changed information management in developed countries through creating pressures to improve communication systems and develop more user friendly environments for information sharing. Now the Internet is penetrating developing countries, changing information practices in various sectors.

The Journal of International Communication Copyright © 1997, Macquarie University. Technical enquiries email: © copyright 1997- 2000 Macquarie University

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Venturelli, Shalini (1998c). 'Cultural Rights and World Trade Agreements In the Information Society,' Gazette: The International Journal for Communication Studies. Vol. 60, No.1:. 47-76.

Venturelli, Shalini (1997a). 'Prospects for Human Rights in the Political and Regulatory Design of the Information Society,' in J. Servaes & R. Lie (eds.) Media and Politics in Transition: Cultural Identity in the Age of Globalization, pp. 61-74. Leuven, Belgium: ACCO Publishers.

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THE HARRIS POLL #30, June 7, 2000 How the internet is improving the lives of Americans with disabilities by Humphrey Taylor

"An Overview of Law & Policy for IT Accessibility" Cynthia Wadell, June 2000
Specialist in Universal Access for People with Disabilities
A resource for State and Municipal IT Policy makers This report is intended as an introduction to the issue of electronic and information technology accessibility for governmental policy makers at the State and Local level. The Authors do not intend for this to be a complete discussion of the complex issues involved, nor do they intend this resource to be the "final word" regarding the changing regulatory and technological environment.

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Cynthia Wadell, 1999
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This paper was requested by and published in iMP: The Magazine for Information Impacts, a publication of the Center for Information Strategy and Policy, an affiliated organization of the Association of Computer Machinery Digital Library.

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Venturelli, Shalini (1998c). 'Cultural Rights and World Trade Agreements In the Information Society,' Gazette: The International Journal for Communication Studies. Vol. 60, No.1:. 47-76.

Venturelli, Shalini (1997a). 'Prospects for Human Rights in the Political and Regulatory Design of the Information Society,' in J. Servaes & R. Lie (eds.) Media and Politics in Transition: Cultural Identity in the Age of Globalization, pp. 61-74. Leuven, Belgium: ACCO Publishers.

Venturelli, Shalini (1997d). 'Information Liberalization in the European Union: Conflicting Models of State and Society,' in B. Kahin and E. Wilson (eds.) Information Infrastructure Initiatives: Vision and Policy Design, pp. 457-489. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.

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8. Appendixes

8.1 Biographical Information on Main Contributors

Burks, Michael
Title: : AT&T Network Product Manager
Affiliation: Internet Society Member.

Biographical Details:

AT&T Network Product Manager and Expert on Accessibility of AT&T Web Based Products and electronic and information technology. Advisory Board Member The International Center for Disability Resources on the Internet at .

Member of State of North Carolina Advisory Committee on Accessible Electronic and Information Technology helping to write the policies of the state government on accessible Information Technology. Member of the Advisory Board of the AWARE Center Chairman of the Internet Societal Task Force(ISTF) Work Group on Accessibility to the Internet for People with Disabilities.

Chairman Internet Society SIG for Access to the Internet for people with Disabilities:

Member Advisory Board International Center for Disability Resources on the Internet:

Cerf, Vinton
Title: Senior VicePresident of Internet Architecture and Engineering, WorldCom
Email: "vinton g. cerf"
Affiliation: Trustee Internet Society; Chairman, Internet Societal Task Force.

Biographical Details:

Vinton Cerf, Senior Vice President of Internet Architecture and Engineering, and a founding Trustee of the Internet Society, joined WorldCom (then MCI) in 1994 and is responsible for the designing and development of the network architecture to support WorldComís future data and information services. This includes the development of a common network framework that will enable WorldCom to deliver a combination of data, information, voice, and video services that businesses and consumers can use with equal ease. During the 1970s, Vint co-developed the computer networking Protocol TCP/IP and managed the development of the Internet for the US Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency.. Cerf, who was previously with MCI in the early 1980s, was vice president of the Corporation for National Research Initiatives (CNRI) in the early 1990s , where he conducted national research efforts on information infrastructure technologies.

Clavet, Alain
Title: Senior Policy Analyst Office of the Commissioner Official Languages (OCOL)
Affiliation: Internet Society, on Board of ISOC Quebec Chapter.

Articles/Papers of Reference: Author of a special study entitled:  The Government of Canada and French on the Internet (available on:

Daffara, Carlo
Title: Head of research and development for Conecta Telematica
eMail: and
Affiliation: Internet Society & Member of the European Working Group on Free Software
Homepage: www:

Biographical Details:

Open Source & free software data transmission access content availability, knowledge content creation. Co-edited European Working Group on Free Software paper on Open Source and free software for the European Community. Current job is head of research and development for Conecta Telematica, an Italian company focusing on open source development of internet platforms. He has 7 years experience in the telecommunication field, in particular for internet connectivity.; Daffara is FID's officially appointed representative on the UNESCO InfoEthics Advisory Committee.

Delgado, Rosa Maria
Title: Director, Internet Industry Relations, SITA.
Affiliation: Trustee, Board of Internet Society

Biographical Details:

1997 to present: Director of Internet Industry Relations - Société Internationale de Télécommunications Aéronautique (SITA), Geneva, Switzerland. 

Strategic planing for new IP-based applications for the air-transport industry.

Responsible for domain names, IP addressing and policy issues.

98 Internet Technology Expert - UNDP, Honduras. Plan the government national network. Nationality: Peruvian. Languages: English (fluent), French (fluent), Italian (good). Spanish (mother tongue). Education: Bachelor degree of Science Mechanical and Electrical Engineering from National University of Engineering (Peru). Master degree in "Integrated Telecommunications Systems" from Warwick University (UK).


Ms. Yoshiko Kurisaki is, since 1994, a senior telecommunications policy advisor in SITA EQUANT, an international corporate communications service provider covering more than 230 countries and territories over the world. She has been actively involved in policy-making process for the market liberalization in Asia-Pacific region representing international customer's voice. Her latest assignment includes active participation in several European industry for interconnection policies, cost analysis of operator licenses in major European countries and regulatory assessment of IP services.

From 1989 to 1994, she worked as a telecommunications and information policy analyst in the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), France. Before her work at the OECD, she has assumed a number of positions mainly in the product development of ISDN in Nippon Telegraph and Telephone (NTT) Co. in Japan. She has a number of publications on globalization of telecommunications industry, information technology policies and the impact of information on the economic development. She received an undergraduate degree from University of Tokyo, Japan, and M.Sc. in planning from University of Toronto, Canada.

Maxwell, Christine 
Title: Vice Chairman, Internet Society
Affiliation: Internet Society ,Vice Chairman, Board of Trustees, ISOC.

Biographical Details:

A member of the Board of Trustees of the Internet Society since 1997, to present, Ms.Maxwell is also the founder and Chairman of Chiliad, an Internet Commerce Solutions company. She was the creator of the "Magellan" online Directory and Co-Author of one of the first Internet yellow pages, "New Riders Internet Yellow Pages, first published by Macmillan Publishers in 1994.  

Ms. Maxwell has over 25 years editorial, online research and marketing experience in international, scientific and educational publishing ‚ mainly with Pergamon Press Publishers and Macmillan Publishers. A former elementary school teacher, with a degree in Latin American Studies and Sociology, Ms. Maxwell has extensive experience working and teaching in different parts of the world, and has given many international speaking engagements. Ms Maxwell is French, but has lived for extensive amounts of time in England, Mexico and the United States.  She is fluent in English, French and Spanish. See for full biographical details.

Pisanty, Alejandro
Title: Director of Computing Academic Services at UNAM
Affiliation: Internet Society
Address: UNAM - Educacion Abierta y a Distancia
Av. Universidad 3000, 04510 Mexico DF Mexico

Biographical Details:

Alejandro Pisanty is currently Director of Computing Academic Services at UNAM, the National Autonomous University of Mexico in Mexico City, Mexico. He also serves as Chairman of the Board of CUDI, Corporación Universitaria para el Desarrollo de Internet, the Mexican Internet 2 Consortium, as well as of ISOC Mexico. He has served UNAM as Coordinator of the Distance Education Project (1995-1997), Technical Secretary of the Computing Advisory Council (1991-1997) and Head of the Graduate School in Chemistry (1993-1995). He is a Professor in the School of Chemistry. From UNAM he also leads the National Network for Videoconference in Education.

Mr. Pisanty received a Bachelor¥s degree in Chemistry, and M. Sc and Ph. D. Degrees in Physical Chemistry from UNAM. He was a postdoctoral fellow at the Max-Planck-Institut für Festkörperforschung in Stuttgart, Germany (1984-1986).

He was selected for the ICANN Board by the Domain Name Supporting Organization.

Rao, Madanmohan
Title: Group Consultant, Microland/Planetasia;
Columnist, The Economic Times; Bangalore, India.

Biographical Details:

Madanmohan is principal consultant at Bangalore-based web publishing and consulting firm PlanetAsia. He was formerly the communications director at the United Nations Inter-Press Service Bureau in New York. Madan graduated from the Indian Institute of Technology in Bombay and the University of Massachussetts, Amherst, with an MS in computer science and a PhD. in communications.

He has worked with online services in the US, Brasil and India. Madan is also a journalist and is currently an online correspondent for Connecticut based Meckler Media Corporationís Internet web site, New York based Editor and Publishers, MediaInfo web site, and Malaysia-based SKALI. (The Altavista mirror site in Asia). His articles have also appeared in magazines like New Asia Review, the Internet Societyís "On the Internet", Internet Business and Express Computer. He is a contributing Editor at Web Vision Magazine and the Editor of IndiaLine, (,Indiaís first daily Webzine about the ëNet.

Madan is a frequent speaker on the international conference circuit and has given talks and lectures on Internet related issues in the US, Colombia, Canada, Brasil, Italy, Vietnam, Japan, South Korea, Syngapore, HongKong, Malaysia, India, Thailand, Indonesia and Australia.

Sanromá, Manel
Title: Chairman of the computer Engineering Department at the University of Tarragona
Affiliation: Trustee, Internet Society, member of the ISOC Catalan Chapter and associated with the Spanish Chapter of ISOC.

Biographical Details:

Sanroma is currently acting as Advisor to the Catalan government in relation to the social and cultural aspects of the development of the Information Society. Founder of TINET, the first Spanish Freenet, and of the European Association for Community Networking , with civic networks from Italy, France, Finland, Great Britain and the Netherlands. Internet for kids in W. Africa in rehabilitation and therapy, education etc. Articles/Papers of Reference: "Access to networks and services with particular emphasis on the role of public authorities" . Expertise in the field of Community Networking.

Venturelli, Dr. Shalini
Title: Professor, International Communication Policy
Affiliation: School of International Service, American University, Washington, DC , USA

Biographical Details :

Professor Venturelli specializes is international communication policy and law. She is Chair of the Communication and Human Rights Committee of the International Association of Media and Communication Research (IAMCR). Recipient of the Fulbright Scholar Award (European Union), among others, her research examines the emerging international policy framework for the Global Information Infrastructure, including content and cultural policy, intellectual property rights, free expression rights, telecommunications deregulation, and competition policy. She is an expert on constitutional reform in the European Union, particularly with respect to citizenship, political rights, human rights, and the transformation of European media and telecommunications. She has been a visiting scholar at the European Institute for the Media in Dusseldorf, Germany and at the Institute for Political Studies in Warsaw, Poland. Dr. Venturelli's most recent book, Liberalizing the European Media: Politics, Regulation and the Public Sphere is being published by Oxford University Press (1998).

Areas of emphasis: Global Information Infrastructure policies. International regulation and governance of the Internet. Information Society in Europe. Information infrastructure and developing countries. Multilateral agreements for the information sector.

Sector Specialization: Internet regulation, audiovisual policy, intellectual property rights law; cultural policy, telecommunications liberalization; national frameworks for competition policy and law in the communications sector; universal service regulation for the broadband network in the European Union and North America; broadcast regulation; content regulation; constitutional and freedom of expression rights; political rights of participation

Regional Emphasis: European Union and Eastern Europe.

Theoretical focus: Theories of international and comparative communication policy and law; theories of, democracy, civil society, and citizenship; models of freedom of information & human rights.

Waddell, Cynthia D.
Title: Americans with Disabilities Act Coordinator for the City of San Jose, California.
eMail: "Waddell, Cynthia" <>
Affiliation: ADA Coordinator, City Manager Department City of San Jose, CA USA

Biographical Details:

Cynthia D. Waddell is an internationally known expert on disability access matters and holds federal, state, county and city appointments addressing governmental policy, legislation and compliance with state and federal disability access laws. Cynthia currently works as the Americans with Disabilities Act Coordinator for the City of San Jose where she is responsible for Citywide compliance with US State and Federal Disability Access laws.

In 1995 she developed accessible web design standards which are now featured as a "best practice" model by both the federal government and the League of California Cities. Named to the "Top 25 Women on the Web" by Webgrrls International, Cynthia is a frequent author and speaker. Her seminal paper, "The Growing Digital Divide in Access for People with Disabilities: Overcoming Barriers to Participation" was commissioned by the US government for the first national conference on the impact of the digital economy convened by President Clinton. Since its publication in 1999, it has been selected for re-publication for the World Bank/IMF Summit, the United Nations Forum on Electronic Commerce in Geneva, and numerous forums around the world.

Cynthia received her B.A. from the University of Southern California and her Juris Doctorate from Santa Clara University School of Law where she graduated as a Public Interest Disability Rights Scholar.

Full List of Contributors:

A full list of contributors will be made available shortly.