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Why ICT policies matter?

02 December 2009

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Association for Progressive Communication’s second The APC ICT Policy Handbook aims to build the capacity and understanding of issues surrounding policy on ICT development and regulation. It highlights the Internet issues and wireless technologies that have emerged as new ways to connect people in more locations.

The APC ICT Policy Handbook

Publisher: APC, 2009

In 2003, APC launched the first ICT policy handbook “for beginners” to critical acclaim. ICT policy was a relatively new area and very few really understood what was actually involved. The APC handbook was the first comprehensive guide for non-technicians.

Cover page of the report/ Photo credit: APC

Since then the proportion of people subscribing to mobile phone networks in many African countries has risen from under 5% to over 25%; two sessions of the World Summit on the Information Society have taken place, and the Internet Governance Forum has emerged as a new international debating arena on internet issues; and wireless technologies have emerged with the potential to deliver services in new ways to more people in more places than was imagined even six years ago.

Getting involved in information and communications technology (ICT) policy making has not been a priority for many people, even those who are generally active in other areas of public policy. It seems too remote from daily lives and too technical. Yet new communications media are so important that we cannot continue to ignore them.

This handbook aims to take the mystery out of ICT policy and make it easier to understand. In particular, it aims to build the capacity of those who want to understand more about the issues surrounding policy on ICT development and regulation, to grasp the policy process, and to become more involved as informed participants.

The document will benefit a wide range of people like members of civil society groups, researchers, activists, technical specialists interested in policy and regulatory aspects of their work, journalists looking for background information, government officials and other stakeholders.

It is not a technical handbook, although it tries to explain in straightforward language some of the technical background knowledge that is necessary in order to be able to discuss and debate ICT policy issues.

Each chapter seeks to give an objective account of existing issues, rather than presenting any specific point of view.

Four sections look at the technical, market, policy and regulatory issues affecting the four main types of ICT with which the handbook is concerned: Computing and information technology, broadcasting, telecommunications, the internet., relationship between ICTs and social, economic and development policy, and rights issues.

Rather than simply revising the original handbook, it has been entirely rewritten under the guidance of editor David Souter. The first edition was edited by the late Chris Nicol.

Source : APC

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