I have just sent these notes to CIVIC in the Caribbean, but it occurs to me that there are lots of Diplo people who may also be interested.
The Commission on Science and Technology for Development (CSTD) panel on Universal Service funds and rural broadband would be well worth the investment of time to have a look at it (the whole recording is 3 hours) if those things are within your interest. Several of the presentations are already available at https://docs.google.com/folder/d/0B6acTKXdMRPxRE9BM1ZBd1VjUTA/edit?...
Panel was organised by USAID Global Broadband and Innovations (GBI) Program
I overslept so joined the meeting at the end of the presentation from Ghana. The speaker made a point at the end about how broadband is necessary if you want to see as well as listen. In the context of all the discussion of new learning styles his casual remark seems rather significant.
Colombia came next with what sounded like a very successful broadband roll-out. They tried satellite provision but it was unsuccessful - insufficient investor interest - so back to broadband. They had a problem with inflexible contracts and low take-up - there is a need for awareness raising, local content etc Main problems - articulation of all the different plans - national, regional, local, and sustainability - need to build local participation.
Pakistan presented largely on their USF model - centred on a not-for-profit company that managed the fund between the government policy committee as trustees and the ICT operators.
The GBI presenter mentioned the importance of finding the market/access gap - that communication is very important to people who find the money somehow so spread of access a how question - how soon, how much will it cost??
There was a lot of discussion of telecentres - as a public service? (public funding for sustainability then possible) - as a coordinating point for training, egovernment, knowledge sharing, business incubator
Capacity and awareness building now seen as critical components - those who share concerns about the human side of the internet will be encouraged
Should USF support local content production?
Problem of co-ordination - suggested that usf could co-ordinate
Also usf should be seen as investment fund not charity - initially social benefit but subsequently profit
Technology - should be appropriate to environment
electricity problem also needs solution
some new business models suggested
During discussion -
in Colombia schools used outside class time for community
Portugal (very supportive of human issues all week) asked about digital inclusion and the data divide; need to look at issue from the demand rather than the supply side; people without secondary education in trouble with information flood; suggested public policy could drive demand
Austria (also strong on human issues esp. education) digital broadband for social benefit; computer adds status so important as attraction for literacy projects; ICT cuts out middlemen eg for fishers, farmers ; ict in prisons for rehabilitation, qualifications; train the trainers; include least privileged - people with disability in rural areas
Costa Rica - importance capacity building/content creation; hard to find right approach - big projects but need to have small projects too; importance of mobile space - PC now old-fashioned
Ghana - rep. said he had learned more from Ghana project in Geneva than in Ghana - another casual remark but i think it's VERY IMPORTANT because it happens so often; broadband to stop urban drift; suggested that benefitting companies might also be asked to contribute to fund (USF).
Tunisia - suggested creation of "toolkit" - successes, problems, business models.
I hope this gives you a taste. For technical reasons I took notes on paper so have tried to communicate the essence. Discussion this afternoon will be on CSTD report document.