UN broadband working group: eAgora to speed up broadband advancement in developing countries
UN broadband working group: electronic data application to speed up broadband advancement in developing countries
According to a working group operating as part of the UN Broadband Commission, the advancement of communications and broadband connections in developing countries requires that an electronic data application, an 'eAgora', be set up, bringing together data and providing searches and opportunities for new contacts in an open and easily accessible format.
The working group met in Levi, Lapland, on 6-7 March. Led by Finland's Minister of Communications Suvi Lindén, the group aims at creating a model for improving and securing e-government services in developing countries and making them available for the citizens.
According to the working group, it is essential that an optimal enabling environment be created for e-services. This environment should be premised on effective and secure connections that are affordable and widely available to people.
Sharing good practices at 'eAgora'
A key aspect in service development is utilising and sharing information on existing models and best practices. However, the models need to allow modifications to ensure that they suit the local circumstances. In this regard, actors such as civil society organisations have an important role to play.
Using the 'eAgora', actors in the field can obtain information on the environment in which information networks and services are going to be designed and built. The purpose is to make use of technological solutions such as the social media on the 'eAgora', as these enable shared and interactive access to information.
Both the public and the private sector could make material available on the 'eAgora'. This way service developers would have expertise from different countries at their disposal, along with information on government, legislation and other elements essential for service development.
Public e-services can also be efficiently developed in cooperation between government and businesses. It is essential to produce services for widely-used equipment. The use of services should also be possible through simple methods, such as text messages.
Group's work to continue until autumn
The working group will submit its interim report in June. The recommendations drafted at the meeting in Lapland will be included in the report. The group's term will end in the autumn.
According to Minister Lindén, the meeting was an excellent forum for presenting Finland's communications policy and ICT expertise to international guests.
'Finland is one of the world's leading countries in the development of mobile networks and associated systems and services. Through spectrum and licence policies, we have created a well-functioning commercial market. I believe that the experiences gained in Finland will be useful for other countries, too', Ms Lindén said.
Parties represented in the working group led by Minister Lindén include the International Telecommunications Union ITU, the OECD, and some of the world's largest international ICT companies. Dr Hamadoun I. Touré, Secretary-General of the ITU, also participated in the meeting.
In addition to 14 members of the working group, some ten Finnish ICT experts attended the meeting.
Ms Anna Anttinen, Special Adviser to the Minister of Communications, tel. +358 40 759 7883