UNESCO, OECD and Internet Society study presented at the WSIS Forum 2012 in Geneva
[GENEVA, 15 May 2012]-- Research summarized in a study “The Relationship between Local Content, Internet Development and Access Prices” released this week at the WSIS Forum 2012 in Geneva shows a strong correlation between the development of network infrastructure and the growth of local content, and a connection between developed local Internet markets and lower reported prices for international bandwidth. The research is the result of collaboration between the Internet Society (ISOC), the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) and the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO). The study was released by the three organizations at World Summit on Information Society Forum 2012 in Geneva, Switzerland. The full report is available here: http://www.internetsociety.org/localcontent
The three organizations believe that societies have a rich heritage and knowledge base that should be recognized, recorded and shared for the benefits of people throughout the world. However, much of the world’s content remains inaccessible even to the local population, not to mention at a broader level.
During the joint workshop at the WSIS Forum 2012, Mr Jānis Kārkliņš, Assistant Director-General for Communication and Information, UNESCO, said that “Understanding the relationship between development of local content, Internet and access prices could help to demonstrate the economic benefits of expanded infrastructures across countries, particularly if the amount of local infrastructure fosters the development of local content in local languages. The availability of local content could also, in turn, stimulate demand for Internet services. Finally, the prices of local Internet access could prove to hinder or promote the development of local content.”
The representative of OECD, Mr Taylor Reynolds, said, “We cannot continue to think of local content, Internet infrastructure and access prices as separate issues. Progress and developments in one area can impact the others so we need to develop a broader approach to policy making that takes the cross-cutting benefits into account."
Mr Markus Kummer from the Internet Society stated, "This study confirms the strong relationship between local content and Internet infrastructure. Keeping the traffic local and building up local content is key for improving access to the Internet. As the volume of local content increases around the world, the Internet becomes more relevant and has a greater impact on improving the lives of local communities. The Internet Society is happy to collaborate with OECD and UNESCO on this study, and to continue our work as advocates for a free and open Internet and ensuring access to relevant content for everyone."
The study finds that the three elements are inter-related and likely feed into each other in a virtuous circle: (i) better connectivity is significantly related to higher levels of local digital content creation. In essence, countries with more Internet infrastructure (at all income levels) are also the countries producing more local digital content as measured by Wikipedia entries and by web pages under a given country-code, top-level domain; (ii) countries with more international connectivity have lower domestic broadband prices and countries with more better domestic infrastructure have lower international bandwidth prices. The inter-linkages between the different elements lead to three key lines of policy considerations evolving out of this research: (i) Fostering content development, (ii) Expanding connectivity, and (iii) Promoting Internet access competition.
About the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO):
Since its foundation in 1945, UNESCO as the only United Nations specialized agency for education, science, culture, communication and information, works towards creating the conditions for peace and dialogue among civilizations, cultures and peoples, based upon respect for commonly shared values. UNESCO’s unique competencies contribute as well to the realization of internationally agreed development goals.
Under UNESCO’s mandate, the Organization also contributes to the building of peace, the eradication of poverty for sustainable development and intercultural dialogue. Through its large network of field offices and National Commission around the world, UNESCO has a comparative advantage to act as a normative setter, catalyst of ideas, clearinghouse and capacity builder within the areas of its global mandate.
Fostering cultural diversity, intercultural dialogue and a culture of peace is one of the strategic overarching objectives that is seen as driving force of development, not only in respect of economic growth, but also as a mean of leading a more fulfilling intellectual, moral and social life. This is captured in the seven conventions in the field of culture and number of recommendations, which provide a solid ground for the promotion of cultural and linguistic diversity. Cultural and linguistic diversity is thus considered as an asset that is indispensable for poverty reduction and the achievement of sustainable development. At the same time, acceptance and recognition of cultural diversity – in particular through innovative use of media and ICTs, particularly the Internet – are conducive to dialogue among civilizations and cultures, respect and mutual understanding.
About the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD):
The mission of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) is to promote policies that will improve the economic and social well-being of people around the world. The OECD provides a forum in which governments can work together to share experiences and seek solutions to common problems. We work with governments to understand what drives economic, social and environmental change. We measure productivity and global flows of trade and investment. We analyse and compare data to predict future trends. We set international standards on a wide range of things, from agriculture and tax to the safety of chemicals.
About the Internet Society:
The Internet Society is the trusted independent source for Internet information and thought leadership from around the world. With its principled vision and substantial technological foundation, the Internet Society promotes open dialogue on Internet policy, technology, and future development among users, companies, governments, and other organizations. Working with its members and Chapters around the world, the Internet Society enables the continued evolution and growth of the Internet for everyone.