UN launches initiative to improve Internet access in AsiaPacific region

11 March 2008The United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP) has launched a new database to promote the development of telecentres – community centres where people in the poorest and most remote areas, from farmers to students, gain access to computers and the Internet. The United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP) has launched a new database to promote the development of telecentres – community centres where people in the poorest and most remote areas, from farmers to students, gain access to computers and the Internet. The Telecentre Online Database, covering over 12,000 telecentres in 16 countries, seeks to support research and information exchange for those involved with these e-centres. It also provides statistical data and information on individual countries and specific projects, with information accessible by a keyword search. The project is part of a larger initiative of the UN’s five regional commissions called “Knowledge networks through ICT access points for disadvantaged communities,” which aims to empower poor and disadvantaged communities – women in particular – by converting selected e-centres into global knowledge hubs to bolster communities’ abilities to organize, share and disseminate knowledge. Meanwhile, a UN-backed meeting focusing on expanding affordable broadband access has opened in Pattaya, Thailand. The three-day meeting, organized by the UN International Telecommunication Union (ITU) and the Thai Government, will also assess new regulatory measures targeted at encouraging investment and growth in information and communication technologies (ICT). “Sharing of views, experiences and best practices among regulators is the only way to address the challenges posed by today’s technological and market developments,” ITU Secretary-General Hamadoun Touré noted. “It is only by working together that smart policies and practices can be put into place to ensure that the target of connecting the world to ICT within the next seven years can be met.”