cr> International Internet NewsClips (fwd, excerpts)


Richard Moore

Date: Mon, 1 Apr 1996
From: madanmohan rao <•••@••.•••>
To: •••@••.•••
Subject: International Internet NewsClips (@)

Hello folks -

     Here are excerpts from this week's edition of my
column, "International Internet NewsClips." The full version
plus archives are at MecklerMedia's Internet World site
( You can also find my
reviews of books on Internet-related subjects at this site
     Comments, feedback, etc. most welcome as always.
                                                      - madan
  Madanmohan Rao (•••@••.•••), Communications Consultant,
     United Nations Inter Press Service bureau.

Net In The Third World: Level Playing Field Or Cyber-Imperialism?
Though the Internet is being extolled for leveling the playing
field between  the First and the Third Worlds, it can also be as
elitist, undemocratic and as imperially expansionist as any
empire in history. Currently, non-English lanaguage speakers are
at a disadvantage on the Internet. Furthermore, due to all the
hype about the Internet, there is no financial support or time
for developing local networks or BBSs. "Local BBS-style networks
just aren't sexy enough," says Eric Ruston, who examines computer
communications issues in Africa for the Ford Foundation.
"Everyone wants to surf the Web. "The result is that just as all
roads once led to Rome, all the electronic modem-links of  the
developing world's slowly expanding infobahn now lead to the
Internet. And 90 percent of the Internet, according to Toolnet, a
Netherlands-based nonprofit specializing in technology transfer,
exists in North America, Europe and Australia. As during colonial
times, so in the cyberspace era conducting  business between
Visakhapatnam in India and New York in the U.S. is faster and
more economical than conducting business between Visakhapatnam
and a smaller town like Vijayawada just 120 miles away. Even for
the enterprising villager in South Asia who learns how to type in
English and earns enough money to afford the expensive computer
class, the exorbitant Internet subscription fee and the long
distance telephone call to an Internet server in Bombay or Dhaka
or Karachi, Internet access will never be like "surfing." "Having
an Internet server doesn't guarantee fast communications," says
Jeron Jonk of Toolnet. "Egypt has one Internet link for the
entire country. The link was so overloaded that when I was in
Cairo, I had to wait a couple of minutes for  every keystroke to
travel out of the country and bounce back to me."
(Pacific News Service; March 27, 1996)