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Information Technology Policy and the Digital Divide

Lessons for Developing Countries

Edited by Mitsuhiro Kagami, Masatsugu Tsuji and Emanuele Giovannetti

The proliferation of new information technologies throughout the world has raised some important questions for policymakers as to how developing countries can benefit from their diffusion. This important volume compares the advantages and disadvantages of the IT revolution through detailed studies of a variety of developed and developing nations and regions: Argentina, Estonia, the EU, India, Japan, Korea, Mexico, South Africa, Thailand and the USA.
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Chapter 15: Conclusion

Mitsuhiro Kagami, Masatsugu Tsuji and Emanuele Giovannetti


Mitsuhiro Kagami, Masatsugu Tsuji and Emanuele Giovannetti Deregulation and liberalization during the 1990s brought about competition in the telecommunications sector. Relaxation of market ownership restrictions and the lowering of entry barriers resulted in cross-market entry and made many combined business activities possible. Coupled with computer and wireless technologies, especially, digitization produced convergence among telecommunications, computer, and broadcasting industries. As a result, telephony (fixed and mobile), CATV, satellite, computer, and even home appliances have been connected through the Internet. Such services as voice, packet- or circuitswitched data, movies/videos, images (photos), TV, and e-business can be enjoyed by Internet users. Particularly, broadband access services have been expanding and they will be the mainstream in the future network society. From our joint study we can draw some lessons from the rapidly changing state of the IT revolution, especially from the developing countries’ point of view. Negative aspects are: (i) digital divide and universal service; (ii) monopoly and hegemony; and (iii) demand considerations, while the positive sides are: (iv) leapfrogging the industrialization process; and (v) broadband expansion. 1. DIGITAL DIVIDE AND UNIVERSAL SERVICE We noticed that disparities in Internet access among socio-economic groups are growing in all countries. It is observed that higher income groups can better utilize the Internet than other income groups. Education and ethnicity also affect Internet diffusion. In particular, large cities are unevenly distributed in Internet use and the urban poor have very limited access. In addition, the gap between rural and urban areas is also expanding. An even more...

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