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 Friday, September 22, 2006

As part of the ITU's work in follow-up to the WSIS, the World Information Society Report 2006 is addressed to all stakeholders and intended to provide insights as well as useful benchmarks for building the Information Society. The Report gives practical examples of how the DOI can be used, and highlights projects around the world that are working to meet the commitments made at the WSIS.

Chapter five, Beyond WSIS: Making a difference globally, focuses on WSIS implementation and follow-up in different countries. The WSIS called for governments to move from principles into action. There are many efforts underway, both large and small, to implement the WSIS goals, involving a range of stakeholders at the community level, regionally, nationally and internationally. This chapter of the report highlights some of these initiatives to implement the WSIS Plan of Action, from national strategies to grassroots projects. A variety of initiatives have been launched to promote digital opportunity, infrastructure and advanced ICT applications and these highlight fresh approaches and innovative new solutions to ICT development.

One of the biggest challenges for the uptake of ICTs and for building a people-centered and development-oriented Information Society is the affordability of the services. The Digital Opportunity Index monitors the mobile communications that promise to bridge the digital divide in many parts of the world, as well as more recent technologies such as broadband and mobile Internet access. The price of broadband continues to fall worldwide, by as much as twenty per cent a year over the last two years according to ITUís analysis, while broadband speeds continue to increase. The lower cost of ICTs greately facilitates their diffusion and utilization, and contributes to increased digital opportunity.

Internet affordability (cost of 20h internet connection as a % of monthly GDP per capita)

Note: 1 means affordable; 0 means that the price of lower-user basket is in excess of average GNI per capita.

These positive trends are not restricted to developed countries, and many valuable multi-stakeholder initiatives are underway to further promote ICT development worldwide in the wake of WSIS. 

The DOI has been developed by a multi-stakeholder partnership, the Digital Opportunity Platform, comprising ITU, UNCTAD and KADO (the Korea Agency for Digital Opportunity and Promotion) and which is open to new partners. It will be reported annually in order to track progress in reaching the WSIS targets, and building a diverse and inclusive Information Society, by 2015.