European Commission eInclusion Stakeholders Conference, Brussels, 25 April 2006

One day meeting of government officials and experts, industry representatives, NGOs and project leaders to discuss the new Commission programme on “eInclusion”.

Introduction by Paul Timmers, Head of the eInclusion Unit in the European Commission’s Information Scoeity Directorate General.

The rationale for the eInclusion agenda is:
-using ICT as a tool for empowerment (opportunity)
-overcoming barriers to ICT (danger)

The programme will cover six main areas of interest:
– accessibility
– aging
– inclusion and competence
– cultural diversity
– georgraphic inclusion
– eGovernment

Instruments:
– R&D
– Development, Good Practices and financing
– Analysis, benchmarking
and International Cooperation

Presentations
1st session: General Policy

Erik Koch, Intel
working with local government on eInclusion
Huge ICT gaps in Europe (geo, social) – no market provision for “proble” areas: state intervention needed – Intel provising support
Use of PPPs, Intel heads an ICT Consortium
Provision of a “sustainable package” (PC, installation, training, Internet access)

Graham Colclough
anecdote of a start-up in remote
Need to be “Mutually exclusive and collectively-exhausting”

– Participation: not necessarily significant:
– Geography: depopulation of rural areas, adding to pressure for provision
– Ageing: what happens when the “baby boomers” of the 50s start retiring: very demanding group, could contribute to growth and development in this area: a potential large opportunity not a cost
– Digital literacy (Cox index) indicates that EU is way behind US

Is political will backed up by investment? Show links between eInclusion and social cohesion and quality of life

Discussion points:
-role of WiMAX vis-�-vis profit model of the mobile phone companies and “hot spot” providers

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