Connectivity in the Least Developed Countries
Information and communication technologies (ICTs) are not a
luxury, but are a critical factor in opening the door to
knowledge, wealth and power. The divide between digitized and
non-digitized countries, defined as the "digital
divide", is the result of a lack of infrastructure,
unfavourable regulatory environment, pricing and market
structure, and is threatening to exacerbate the existing social
and economic inequalities between countries and communities. The
cost of inaction is therefore greater than ever before.
To break this "vicious circle" and address the
digital divide problem, several initiatives have been developed
at the international level. The Digital Opportunity Task Force
(DOT Force), whose effort is complemented by the UN ICT Task
Force, has identified several possible actions to achieve
sustainable ICT development in poorer economies, and has
stressed the necessity to "improve
connectivity, increase [ICT] access and lower costs".
The International Telecommunication Union is taking the lead
on this particular objective and proposes a project to provide
low-cost Internet connectivity to LDCs through the utilization
of flexible, less expensive and simple technology, such as
VSATs, with the aim of engendering a "virtuous circle"
which can help to reduce the digital divide among countries.
|Least Developed Countries
countries, with a total population of about 670 million inhabitants,
are currently designated by the United Nations as "least developed countries"
(LDCs). The list of LDCs is
reviewed every three years by the Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC).
|The majority of the world
population is cut off from information and communication
technologies: 70% of the world's poor live
in rural areas, where access to ICTs is scarce, the
international Internet bandwidth is not evenly distributed and
a high percentage of the population in LDCs is illiterate. These
disparities create a barrier between different sectors of
the population, which affects the capacity to communicate.
This barrier can today be defined as the "digital
the basis for all Internet use
and applications, is the possibility for an
user on an electronic network to communicate with other
networks and can be seen as a "digital route" linking
different users. The width of this route is the bandwidth, i.e. the maximum amount of
information (bit/s) that can be transmitted along a channel
(data transmission rate). Limited or low-quality access to
international Internet bandwidth is one of the major problems
Warning: this site is not
updated regularly. Please send an e-mail to
firstname.lastname@example.org with new
IP connectivity in the Least Developed Countries (latest
In the framework of its New Initiatives Programme, the ITU organized
an expert workshop on "Improving IP connectivity in
LDCs". The workshop was held at ITU headquarters in Geneva
from the 11-12 April 2002.
Report (pdf format)
Connectivity in the Least Developed Countries,
T. Kelly, ITU (PowerPoint)
IP Connectivity in LDCs, background study presentation, C. Sarrocco,
Connectivity in LDCs, B. Abramson, Canada (PowerPoint) (.pdf)
Cost of Internet Access in Developing Countries, C. Milne, Antelope
Consulting, UK (PowerPoint)
Satellite Services, Y. Tordjman, Gilat, France (PowerPoint)
Barriers to Satellite-Based Services, M. Jarrold, Global VSAT Forum,
Media in the LDCs,
M. Minges, ITU (PowerPoint)
and VSAT: Innovative Uses for Rural Telephony and Internet
Development, S. Moroney, AITEC Africa (Word document)
ICT Task Force, Working
Group N.5 "Low cost Connectivity and Access"
Group N.2 "Improve Connectivity, increase
access, and lower costs"
- The Information for Development Program
|Other Activities of the New Initiatives
|More information on the ITU New