A global strategy to bridge the digital divide is being considered at a telecommunication conference in Doha.
Called the Doha Action Plan, it will spell out measures to be implemented in the next four years to achieve the goal.
The World Telecommunication Development Conference 2006 was opened on Tuesday by Abdullah Bin Khalifa Al Thani, Qatar's prime minister. It follows last November's World Summit on the Internet Society (WSIS) in Tunis.
The Tunis meeting had recommended that all villages, schools, libraries and local governments across the world should have access to information and communication technologies by 2015.
Yoshio Utisumi, secretary-general of the International Telecommunication Union (ITU), said his organisation now had the political mandate to carry out the Tunis recommendations.
On 9 March, there would be a meeting in Doha in which plans to set up a global information and communication infrastructure would be discussed, Utisumi said.
Qatar's prime minister (R) and
the ITU chief at the conference
"People look to ITU for leadership. It is the oldest institution facilitating communication worldwide. And now it is time for fresh blood and ideas," he said.
In a recent "One Laptop per Child" initiative to bridge the digital divide, the ITU collaborated with the Massachussetts Institute of Technology's Media Lab. The outcome was a "$100 laptop" designed for use by schoolchildren in developing countries.
Hissa al-Jabir, Secretary-General of the Supreme Council for Information and Communication Technology (ICTQatar), said the conference would help developing countries to share their experiences in setting up communication networks.
The conference is also expected to consider two new global initiatives, one benefiting persons with disabilities and the other concerning telecommunications for disaster preparedness.