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Conclusions from the public debate “Increasing broadband internet penetration in Macedonia”

Following conclusions emerged from the debate

Metamorphosis Foundation organized public debate about “Increasing
broadband internet penetration in Macedonia”. The public debate was
held in the premises of Economic Chamber of Macedonia in Skopje on
February 27, 2007.
 
nsrekit
The aim of the public debate was to address the challenges and
opportunities for increasing broadband internet penetration and to
contribute towards enhancing the quality of the text dedicated to
broadband in the realms of the National strategy for development of
electronic communications and information technologies (NSDECIT) that
is prepared by a working group within the Ministry of transport and
communications of the Republic of Macedonia.

Representatives of the internet service providers, cable operators,
academic community, civil sector, media participated in the panel
discussion. The organisation of the public discussion was supported by OSCE Spillover Monitor Mission to Skopje and Technical Assistance to the Telecommunications Sector Project.

Following conclusions emerged from the debate:

1.    Statistical data in the text on broadband within the
NSDECIT should be improved (new, according to EUROSTAT, defining
indicators);
2.    Overview of the concept of eventual state intervention on multiple levels:

  • Different views regarding the need and realm of state intervention
  • Intervention
    needed for MARNet to evolve into national research and education
    network that will connect all universities in the country with larger
    bandwidth
  • Need for rural development, especially taking into consideration the sustainability of MK Connects project

3.    Possible inclusion of internet access as part of universal
service, noting that this issue is currently subject to debate in the
EU;
4.    Need of better consistency in terminology of the strategic ICT documents;
5.    Need of prompt adoption of regulations regarding broadband
wholesale on multiple levels (especially IP bit stream access as incite
for competition in DSL market);
6.    Need of better information campaign for the citizens and campaigns on raising awareness as well as mass ICT trainings;
7.    Institution in-charge should constantly monitor ICT indicators,
while project development and implementation should be monitored by
National council for development of information society which will also
influence on the quality and range of ICT indicators and measurements;
8.    Necessity of establishing of fund for ICT development and
research considering the fact that services and added value of the
products bring bigger profit and investments compared to outsourcing
among which are:

  • Financing domestic research projects and centers
  • Joint fund for additional financing of projects supported by foreign institutions, especially EU programs.
  • Academic network support

9.    Lease of services (links, internet access) by the Government and
banks should be more diverse, thus increasing competition and
developing independent networks;
10.     e-content, e-services and ICT knowledge are equally important
as access to network and special attention need to be paid to them in
next broadband strategy;
11.     Need of text on radiofrequency spectrum for development of
broadband especially in rural areas (apart from the chapter dedicated
to radiofrequency spectrum in NSDECIT).

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