Increasing internet access

Increasing internet access involves; a) broadening access to technologies such as computers, the Internet, and high-speed networks; b) providing people the skilled teachers and the training they need to master the information economy; and c) promoting online content and applications that will help empower all people's to use new technologies to their fullest potential.
Access to computers and the Internet and the ability to use this technology effectively are becoming increasingly important for full participation in economic, political and social life. Unequal access to technology and high-tech skills by income, educational level, race, and geography could deepen and reinforce the divisions that exist within societies.

In 2002, only two percent of the world population now has Internet access. They are, for the most part, wealthy, white and Western.

Internet access remains relatively expensive particularly because local calls remain generally in the hands of the former telecommunications monopolies. The price of Internet access is the key determinant of usage. Country comparisons show that there is a strong relationship between usage price and Internet penetration. A study which analysed this relationship concluded "virtually all countries with high access costs have low penetration." Therefore, reducing prices through increased competition is a priority.

Up to now, access to the Internet has mainly been by using a PC but this is about to change. Technological developments are leading to wider and simpler access. Small mobile devices are already on the market which can be connected quickly and allow information to be available anywhere, anytime. These devices are just the start. The technology will permit a wide range of new equipment to be linked to the Internet. Examples include in-car travel information systems linked to central congestion data; medical devices that can monitor the body and £report' the results to doctors.

Europe has a dynamic fast growing telecommunication industry that had revenues of 238 bn. ECU in 1999 - up 13.2% from 1984. Tariffs are falling, services are diversifying, customers are offered more choice. Despite these successes, a major concern is to increase competition in the local loop, the last mile of the telephone network that connects users to their local exchange. To let the market work through more competition is preferable to a US style flat rate subsidised system as such price distortions discourage investment in alternative forms of Internet access. These alternatives, such as xDSL technology which gives 'always-on' connection or access via digital TV cables, promise must faster access, which, in the long run may be even cheaper than a dial-up connection using a PC and telephone modem.
Constrained by:
Restricting internet access
Type Classification:
E: Emanations of other strategies
Related UN Sustainable Development Goals:
GOAL 9: Industry, Innovation and Infrastructure