Internet Access for Development

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The Internet has been remarkably successful in developing greater opportunities for communication access - and economic growth and social development - for the first billion users. The majority of the next several billion users will be mainly from developing countries and will connect to the Internet principally via wireless networks. But there are substantial discrepancies in access to ICTs between developed and developing countries and also within countries, depending on factors such as gender, rural coverage, skills and educational levels.


This book examines how the market for internet traffic exchange has evolved and explores the coherence of policies pursued by developed and developing countries. It notes the increasing innovation occurring in a number of developing countries with competitive markets and discusses how liberalisation has helped to expand of access networks and make ICT services increasingly affordable and available to the poor. The report also highlights the employment, micro-entrepreneurial and social development opportunities which have emerged as access levels have risen among low-income users. The study notes that gateway service monopolies - still in 70 countries -  raise the prices for accessing international capacity and reduce the affordability of Internet access to business and end users.




This report focused on the desirability of extending the economic and social benefits made possible by the Internet to the next several billion users, primarily in developing countries. Ideally, this should be seen as an opportunity and not a burden. Liberalisation renders access to communication services in developing countries more affordable and consumers are willing to invest in it due to the tremendous positive impact on their daily lives. These users represent a commercial opportunity for businesses and a social and economic development opportunity for policy makers. The report highlighted the employment, micro-entrepreneurial and social development opportunities which have emerged as access to communication services has risen among low-income users.


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