“Only connect,” E.M. Forster’s plea to readers not to live their lives in fragments, could just as easily have been uttered by a telecom company in 2014 as it was by Forster in 1910. But today, connectivity – the theme of Handshake’s new issue – translates into the physical networks that allow people to communicate as well as the ability to interact with another person or the services one receives from an institution or organization.
Public private partnerships (PPPs) in Information and Communication Technology (ICT) can connect people in all of these ways. Through case studies, articles, and interviews, Handshake tells the story of how transformative ICT has already been in the developed world, why these successful approaches work, and what governments can do if they are falling behind.
Just as important, Handshake highlights the holes in ICT outreach throughout the developing world, and introduces the most promising digital resources under development. Readers hear first-hand from Facebook’s Chris Weasler, the head of Internet.org, which has launched free Internet access to the base of the pyramid, beginning in Zambia. Intel Corporation’s Director of Broadband and Regulatory Policy, John Roman, talks about how Universal Service Funds can narrow the digital divide and fulfill the responsibility of the “connected” to the “unconnected.” And Susan Crawford, co-director of Harvard University’s Berkman Center for Internet & Society, advises officials creating or refining e-government strategies to “know what you know” as the best way of ensuring that local governments engage with communities through technology.
Features also include:
Political and social transformations in Myanmar have made possible reform of the country’s telecommunications sector. Liberalization has allowed a country with the lowest rates of telecom penetration to leapfrog into the digital age.
Choosing a broadband public-private partnership (PPP) is a multi-stage process. Once the scope and type of PPP are defined, examining the legal and regulatory framework can help streamline the decision-making process.
An in-depth examination of e-government strategies in four different countries that helped national and local institutions respond to citizens’ needs quickly and efficiently while streamlining internal operations.
Utilities that share their infrastructures cut costs and the time it takes to deploy networks. When governments create an enabling environment and mechanisms for partnerships for shared infrastructure, they expand the reach of the Internet, promote competition, and connect to economic and knowledge opportunities around the world.
No government can afford to ignore technology, and the momentum behind ICT is unrelenting. As the public sector searches for strategies to manage ICT, many officials have already discovered that partnerships can deliver better value for money over time – and when it comes to technology, time is essential.