Lessons for Developing Countries
Edited by Mitsuhiro Kagami, Masatsugu Tsuji and Emanuele Giovannetti
Chapter 8: Information Policy and Information Technology in Central and Eastern Europe with Emphasis on Estonia
Tanga McDaniel* 1. INTRODUCTION This chapter highlights various policies and programmes that have affected the information and communications sector and the use of information products in Central and Eastern European countries. Countries in Central and Eastern Europe (CEE) are diverse in their infrastructure and policies toward information technology. Organizational affiliations and preparations to join the European Union affect these national differences since membership in international organizations requires candidates to meet threshold criteria on infrastructure development and competition legislation. As in most regions of the world changes in and changes resulting from the information sector are rapid. Monopoly concessions in the telecommunications sector that have helped to keep the price of local phone service from falling are ending; combined with the existing policies of liberalization in wireless technologies and in Internet service provision, liberalization of local voice telephony could help to provide more depth to the IT sector (for instance, by making existing connections faster). Achieving greater network range requires forward-looking policies possibly involving both the public and private sectors. Many CEE countries have national policies for expanding and enhancing IT use; these policies often begin with the liberalization of the national telecommunication companies and plans for bringing government itself into the information age. Education policies and rural initiatives have also been adopted, and the use of multipurpose communication centres has helped to make these national policies feasible. This chapter has two parts: Sections 2 and 3 provide a general discussion of the IT situation in CEE while Section 4 focuses...
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