The United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP) has launched a new database to promote the development of telecenters -- community centers where people in the poorest and most remote areas can have access to computers and the Internet, the world body announced on its website Tuesday.
The Telecenter Online Database, covering over 12,000 telecenters in 16 countries, seeks to support research and information exchange for those involved with these e-centers. It also provides statistical data and information on individual countries and specific projects, with information accessible by a keyword search.
The project is part of a larger initiative of the UN's five regional commissions called "Knowledge networks through ICT access points for disadvantaged communities", which aims to empower poor and disadvantaged communities, women in particular, by converting selected e-centers into global knowledge hubs to bolster the ability of communities to organize, share and disseminate knowledge.
Meanwhile, a UN-backed meeting focused on expanding affordable broadband access opened Tuesday in Pattaya, Thailand.
The three-day meeting, organized by the UN International Telecommunication Union (ITU) and the Thai government, will also assess new regulatory measures targeted at encouraging investment and growth in information and communication technologies (ICT).
"Sharing of views, experiences and best practices among regulators is the only way to address the challenges posed by today's technological and market developments," ITU Secretary-General Hamadoun Tour said.
"It is only by working together that smart policies and practices can be put into place to ensure that the target of connecting the world to ICT within the next seven years can be met," he added.