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.



Executive Summary

The Internet, in little more than a decade following its commercialisation, has been remarkably successful in developing greater opportunities for communication access for the first billion users. The challenge for all stakeholders is to expand the economic and social opportunities made possible by the Internet for the next several billion users. This report examines where these users will come from, as well as the large shifts in communications policy which enable expansion to be a practical possibility. It also considers how different government policies affect Internet accessibility. The question of whether these policies – in OECD or developing countries – are conducive to development and poverty reduction is discussed as part of the OECD’s programme on policy coherence for development.


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