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Connecting the Americas: Filling in the ICT gaps


01 August 2012

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The gap in access to voice telephony has largely been met in Latin America and the Caribbean, due to the rapid rollout of mobile networks. However, the next digital divide concerns Internet access and the many rural areas in the region that are still without it.

In the 1980s, countries in Latin America and the Caribbean spearheaded reforms in the telecommunications sector, and many countries around the world followed suit.

They started by privatizing state-owned incumbents and then opened up the sector to new entrants which led to a competitive market, particularly for mobile operators. The gap in access to voice telephony has largely been met now, due to the rapid rollout of mobile networks. However, the next digital divide concerns Internet access and the many rural areas in the region that are still without it.

The Connect Americas Summit 2012, hosted by the International Telecommunication Union in Panama City, brought together leaders from the public and private sectors, as well as international and regional development agencies, to identify resources required to close information and communication technology (ICT) gaps in the region.

Doyle Gallegos, the World Bank's lead ICT policy specialist who attended the summit, says, "We are now at the base of the next wave of reforms which will position the region to fully benefit from all the infrastructure that has been put in place. In this next stage, we will need to focus on connecting the rural areas and on the uptake of ICT applications to boost productivity, improve access to information and to innovation platforms."

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Source : World Bank

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