infoDev and the International Telecommunication Union (ITU), the United Nations specialized agency for telecommunications, announce the beginning of work on the long-awaited universal access module of their collaborative online ICT Regulation Toolkit.
The module will develop a set of definitions for universal service and universal access that will cover the gamut from traditional telephony and mobile phones, to shared public facilities such as payphones, telecenters, and Internet access points in shops, post offices, libraries, and local government offices, to broadband and next-generation networks. It will also encompass the provision of access to underserved groups such as disabled users, women, youth, and indigenous peoples, as well as coverage in urban and rural environments, schools, health facilities, and other public services. The module will highlight the key role that regulatory reform plays in promoting universal access and will provide regulators with an array of both traditional and innovative tools and approaches that they can consider in formulating their own policies, including universal access funds, output-based aid targeted subsidies, incentives for infrastructure sharing, and authorization and interconnection for local operators.
The module, to be available in October 2007, will be authored by Intelecon Research and Consultancy Ltd. of Vancouver, BC, Canada, a leading ICT strategy consulting firm with extensive expertise in universal access for developing countries, including projects in Uganda, Peru, Nepal, Tanzania, Malawi, Mongolia, and Mozambique.