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What will the Net bring to the developing world? OECD discussion

17 February 2008
By Kieren McCarthy

OECD logoICANN is not responsible in any way for the expansion or promotion of the Internet as a network but inevitably the organisation is asked what it can do, and philosophically at least, we are dedicated to ensuring the network’s many benefits are enjoyed by as many people around the globe as possible. It is also in our interests to make sure that the organisation is in a position to effectively engage the “next billion users”.

Usually, when asked what ICANN can do to help expand access to the Internet, we point to many of the other organisations that do concern themselves with this work, most of whom have representatives that attend ICANN meetings and involve themselves in our policy-making processes. As such, we would like to draw your attention to an open consultation that the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) is having this Thursday.

Called “Ask the economists: Internet & development – towards a Wider World Web?”, there will be a live online question and answer session between 14.00 and 16.00 Paris time (13.00 to 15.00 GMT) on Thursday 21 February 2008 where Sam Paltridge from the OECD’s Science, Technology and Industry division, will answer questions. The theme is: “What benefits would the Internet bring to the developing world? How can a competitive market be created to attract investment to build networks while making Internet access affordable? And what impact would the arrival of several billion new users have on the Internet as we know it today?”

The OECD has produced a report [pdf] that will form the centre of discussions and you can send questions or comments on this issue in English or French in advance, or during the debate, to ask@oecd.org. For more information, visit the OECD’s dedicated webpage.


Kieren McCarthy