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ISAD Round Table calls for active participation of business community in the Global Information Society

The Global Information Society (GIS) will not proceed without the full and active participation of the commercial and business sectors. This was the consensus of the Business Round Table which opened the Information Society and Development (ISAD) Conference in Johannesburg, So...
The Global Information Society (GIS) will not proceed without the full and active participation of the commercial and business sectors. This was the consensus of the Business Round Table which opened the Information Society and Development (ISAD) Conference in Johannesburg, South Africa, on 13 May 1996. The Round Table was chaired by Mr. Carlo de Benedetti, President and CEO of Olivetti, and attended by Mr. Bangemann, Commissioner responsible for industry.

Mr. de Benedetti emphasized that the business community would spearhead the construction of the GIS in both the developed and the developing countries. Industry, governments and international organizations must work together to create the appropriate regulatory environment for market access and stimulate market development and the participation of the less-favoured regions. He stressed that business would be the driving force, characterized by competitive markets and new technologies.

The Round Table reiterated the main principles agreed at the G7 Conference in Brussels on 28 February 1995. Those principles are: promoting dynamic competition, encouraging private investment, setting up an adaptable regulatory framework, providing open access to networks, ensuring universal provision of and access to services, promoting quality opportunities for the citizen, promoting diversity of content, and recognizing the need for worldwide cooperation.

Mr. de Benedetti stressed the global nature of the information economy and the need to find a balance between information-poor and information-rich sectors. He went on to say that the age of the global citizen was fast approaching and stressed the need for cooperation in R&D and the development of new applications.

In his contribution to the opening session, Commissioner Bangemann reiterated the priority role of business and industry in the GIS. In particular, he said that the question of standardization was proving "very tricky", but one where the issues will ultimately be decided by the market place and not governments. He further said that without global standardization and without a global regulatory framework, the private sector investment required to develop the GIS would be hindered. He stressed that it was obvious that public funding would never be able to develop the hardware, software and infrastructure necessary for a truly global information society.
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