David N. Townsend & Associates

Communications Economics, Policy, Regulation

Telecenters and Universal Access
Information and Communication Technologies

Telecentres present a vital response to the need to provide universal access to information and communication technologies (ICTs)

See DNTA policy paper: "Telecenters and Telecommunications Development:Options and Strategies" for comprehensive discussion of these issues.

The concept of community-based Telecenters has recently gained widespread attention as a strategically vital response to the perpetual lack of access to information and communications technologies and services in economically deprived areas. While telecenters are not an entirely new idea, the strong emphasis on this new policy option offers an intriguing and encouraging approach to overcoming the wide disparities of access in the Information Society, and to provide opportunities for developing societies and historically disadvantaged populations to participate in the newly emerging social and economic order. Different telecenter models being implemented throughout the world offer numerous development opportunities for the communities they serve.

DNTA has taken a leading role in the development of telecenter ideas and initiatives, and the redefinition of universal service policies. Most recently, DNTA developed a comprehensive Telecentre Implementation Plan for the Universal Service Agency and the Department of Communication in South Africa (July 1999).  In addition, DNTA has provided assistance to strengthen the institutional structure of the South African Universal Service Agency.

DNTA's analysis in this area includes, among other topics, the following:

In the context of industry and regulatory restructuring, DNTA has also provided policy advice on universal service issues in many countries, including as Tanzania, Kenya, Botswana, Philippines, Thailand and Uganda.  David Townsend has also written and spoken extensively on new theories of universal service policy.  In addition, DNTA experts have been extensively involved in the analysis of universal service policy and cost models at the state and federal levels in the US, and have participated in numerous regulatory proceedings dealing with these issues.

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1999 DNTA