Research Papers Internet Radio

The second section of the chapter looks at some of these projects, grouping them into three broad and occasionally overlapping categories: Finally, there are some preliminary conclusions and suggestions for the way forward.

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Over the past few years there have been countless seminars, studies and statements about it and various related issues such as digital opportunities and Internet for development.

Governments have adopted national IT policies and liberalized the telecommunications sector to try to attract investment.

60 percent of US adults have Internet access, while in Africa, around one percent of the population is online - half of them in South Africa and virtually none in rural areas.

And let us not forget that one third of the world's population has no access to electricity, billions have never made a telephone call, and there are nearly twice as many illiterate adults (98 percent of them in less-industrialized countries) than there are people online.

A second similarity between the Internet and development issues such as education and healthcare is that local participation is essential if projects are going to address local problems or be attuned to local capacities.

As Alfonso Gumucio points out in his contribution to this book (chapter 2), the history of development aid is strewn with the carcasses of “white elephants”, massive projects that failed because they did not adequately consult with local communities.In the past decade the international community has expended tremendous effort and expense in telecom development.Major initiatives have been taken to encourage the privatization of State telephone monopolies, to invite foreign direct investment in the sector and to introduce competition.The debates around the digital divide and Internet for development have focused uncovering new areas of global inequality and imagining new opportunities for development.However, with an enthusiasm for the new, these often overlook lessons learned in earlier efforts to understand and change other social, economic and quality of life divides that separate rich countries from poor ones.Hundreds of new NGOs have sprung up in the last decade, first to affordably extend the network to civil society sectors in both industrialized and less-industrialized countries, and later to promote effective use of it.On the intergovernmental level many UN agencies, the G7 (later the G8) group of industrialized countries, the World Bank and several regional bodies have put ICTs and development high on their agenda.For those in the centres of global economic activity, it was a harbinger of the information society.For those on the periphery, it was the analogue precursor of the digital divide.This chapter will first examine characteristics of the two information and communication technologies that feature in this book - radio and the Internet.We will look at the imbalanced global expansion of the Internet and some of the limitations that this imposes when applying North American or European models for its use in the less-industrialized regions, especially in rural areas.


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