Digital Inclusion and literacy through open standards

11 November 2007 - A Pre-event on Openness in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil


Digital inclusion and literacy are crucial to every aspect of social and economic growth. As business, education, governance, and even social networks become more dependent on digital means, countries that use ICT standards effectively to facilitate information access will thrive and prosper. ICT standards may be “just technology,” but they can also regulate how one can use that technology in ways that impact society and the economy. Because of the increasing importance of ICT standards to the networked world, there is a rising global debate about the value of “openness” in ICT standards. Regardless of one's view on this issue, there is no doubt that “open” ICT standards require national and regional policies that support their use in a way that benefits a country’s citizens and businesses. This panel will examine the government and NGO policies and principles around ICT standardization that are essential for maximizing digital inclusion and literacy, with an emphasis on the needs of developing economies. Topics may include:

  • Ensuring access and digital inclusion
  • Benefits of open standards: consumers, competition, and costs
  • Policies and principles for leveraging open standardization
  • Promises, failures and lessons learned from current debates around digital television and  digital document formats
  • Impact of policies and practices on digital access, participation, and growth