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Smart policies to close the digital divide: Best practices from around the world Key findings presentation Kim Andreasson Report author September 19 th 2012. Purpose of Research. Presentation overview. New imperatives for bridging the digital divide Research goals and methods

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Smart policies to close the digital divide: Best practices from around the world

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Smart policies to close the digital divide best practices from around the world

Smart policies to close

the digital divide:

Best practices from

around the world

Key findings presentation

Kim Andreasson

Report author

September 19th 2012


Purpose of research

Purpose of Research

Presentation overview

  • New imperatives for bridging the digital divide

  • Research goals and methods

  • Defining digital divides

  • Six areas where smart policies can do the most

  • Conclusion: Preparing for future divides


Smart policies to close the digital divide best practices from around the world

New imperatives for bridging the digital divide

“The economy of the future is digital,” says Neelie Kroes, vice-president of the European Commission responsible for the Digital Agenda, the European effort to maximise the benefits of the information society. “Today it’s hard to think of many jobs where familiarity with computers and the Internet is not helpful.”

  • Three imperatives:

  • Economic benefits

  • Social inclusion

  • The need for speed


Smart policies to close the digital divide best practices from around the world

Research goals and methods

  • The EIU conducted interviews with experts and policymakers to uncover successful policies to close gaps in digital access

  • The 17 interviewees come from 15 different countries and represent a cross section of academia, international organisations, NGOs and the public and private sectors

  • Since we’re here… One interviewee comes from Russia and another from Kazakhstan

  • Lessons learned were drawn from countries as varied as South Korea, Australia, India, Brazil and Germany, to name a few


Smart policies to close the digital divide best practices from around the world

Defining digital divides

From ability to usage: A summary of divides

  • Ability

  • Access

  • Age

  • Broadband

  • Content

  • Culture

  • Education

  • Gender

  • Income

  • Language

  • Location

  • Measurement

  • Mobile

  • Skills

  • Usage


Smart policies to close the digital divide best practices from around the world

1. Making the case at the highest levels

“[W]e try to reach as many people as possible to ensure that everyone can enjoy the digital benefits and that nobody is left behind,” explains Felicity Singleton, head of policy for the Government Digital Service in the Cabinet Office

  • Benefits of e-inclusion

  • Digital by default in the UK

  • Different paths to broadband’s economic promise


Smart policies to close the digital divide best practices from around the world

2. Access still comes first

“[Overcoming the access divide] is still the biggest challenge we are facing,” says Hamadoun Touré, secretary-general of the ITU

  • Mobile technology has increased access

  • Developed world: Metrics mask challenges

  • Laggards to leapfrogs


Smart policies to close the digital divide best practices from around the world

3. Competition leads to lower costs, more usage

“Competition has proven to be a crucial parameter, not only in providing access but also in providing affordable access,” says Torbjörn Fredriksson, head of the ICT Analysis Section Science, UNCTAD

  • Latin America and South Asia: A study in contrasts

  • Competition and costs

  • The Finnish model


Smart policies to close the digital divide best practices from around the world

4. Measure what matters, especially “useful usage”

“[T]here is a wide gap remaining in terms of using ICT devices or information in a productive way," says Doojin Choi, executive director at the Digital Inclusion Policy Division at the National Information Society Agency”

  • Access does not always equal more use

  • The ICT skills divide

  • Tracking progress through international initiatives and bespoke metrics


Smart policies to close the digital divide best practices from around the world

5. Enhancing ICT skills

“Governments should work with NGOs and companies to make solutions sustainable,” says Rodrigo Baggio, founder and president of the Center for Digital Inclusion in Brazil

  • Governments cannot go it alone

  • A role for the private sector and NGOs

  • Global examples illuminating the potential for other sectors: Telstra in Australia, Center for Digital Inclusion in Brazil, and the Digital Opportunities Foundation in Germany


Smart policies to close the digital divide best practices from around the world

6. Stimulate local content creation and consumption

In China, says Yuanfu Jiang, director of the E-Government Department, in the E-Government Research Center at the Chinese Academy of Governance, the three primary digital divide challenges are access, skills and content. The government pays a lot of attention to the first two, he notes, but not enough attention has been paid to content

  • The need to focus on content

  • Mobile payments in Kenya

  • Beyond traditional IT support


Smart policies to close the digital divide best practices from around the world

Conclusion: Preparing for future divides

  • Compared with just a decade ago, governments have made significant progress in expanding ICT access

  • But just as social divides have always been part of history, digital divides are likely to continue well into the future, especially since the two are increasingly intertwined

  • Countries that take a proactive approach in implementing smarter policies now will be better prepared to respond to future challenges, and thus reap the benefits of more inclusive communities and richer economic prospects


Smart policies to close the digital divide best practices from around the world

Thank you

  • Download the report:

  • www.managementthinking.eiu.com/digital-divide.html


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