Global Poll Offers New Proof of Web’s Widening, Deepening Societal Role

Nearly 80 percent of people around the world think that access to the internet should be a “fundamental right,” according to a global poll conducted by the BBC World Service.  Covering 26 countries, it surveyed 27,000 adults, including both internet users and people not using the web. The survey showed that str(79 percent) answered “yes” to a question on people’s entitlement to internet access  – a view implying both a demand for the expansion of high-speed broadband telecommunications infrastructure and also opposition to unreasonable charges or censorship on users.

Read More

Ed Richards, Chief Executive Officer at the United Kingsom’s Office of Communications (OFCOM) and Blair Levin, Executive Director, Omnibus Broadband Initiative at the Federal Communications Commission addressed issues related to the growing global push for universal broadband access, national investment in expanding communications infrastructure and the challenge of encouraging competition. As national governments look for ways to encourage recovery and sustain long term growth, expanding broadband coverage and promoting the communications market is increasingly crucial. Christopher Boam, Director of International Regulatory Affairs and Public Policy at Verizon Communications moderated the discussion and a lively question and answer period.

The Honorable Margot Wallström, Vice President of the European Commission and Commissioner for Institutional Relations and Communications Strategy discussed the challenges of communicating Europe to 500 million citizens in 27 member states, and the methods in which the European Union is utilizing to bridge the information gap between Brussels and the rest of Europe. Dr. Beth Noveck, Deputy Technology Officer for Open Government in the Executive Office of the President presented the American perspective and how methods of new media impacted the U.S. 2008 Presidential election. Ian Koski, Senior Manager at Blue State Media and Aaron Smith, Research Specialist with the Pew Internet & American Life Project, also offered their views.

Nathalie Kosciusko-Morizet, French Minister of State for Forward Planning and Development of the Digital Economy, discussed how the ICT sector can facilitate the switch to a low-carbon economy and also promote sustainable growth. The digital industry, known for innovation and the rapid deployment of new technologies, is in a position to play an important role in the transition to a green economy as it impacts on all sectors of activities.

Martin Donnelly, Senior Partner at Ofcom, the United Kingdom’s communications industry regulator, offered his analysis of global developments in terms of open markets, approaches to competition, and trends in investment flows in and out of markets, looking at national, regional and global standpoint. Commissioner Deborah Taylor Tate of the Federal Communications Commission presented the U.S. perspective.

Get updates from EI@UMD