ICTs are basically information-handling tools—a varied set of goods, applications and services that are used to produce, store, process, distribute and exchange information. They include the ‘old’ ICT of radio, television and telephone, and the new’ ICT of computers, satellite and wireless technology and the Internet. With appropriate content and applications, these tools are now able to work together, and combine to form a ‘networked world’—a massive infrastructure of interconnected telephone services, standardized computing hardware, the Internet, radio and television—which reaches into every corner of the globe.
ICTs present a revolutionary approach to addressing developmental questions due to their unequalled capacity to provide access to information instantaneously from any location in the world at a relatively low cost. This has brought down global geographic boundaries faster than ever thought possible. The resulting new interconnected digital world heralds the fluid and seamless flow of information, capital, ideas, people and products.
Five characteristics describe the modern ICTs:
-Interactivity: ICTs are effective two-way communication technologies.
- Permanent availability: the new ICTs area available 24 hours a day.
- Global reach: geographic distances hardly matter any more.
- Falling costs: relative costs of communication have shrunk to a fractional of previous values.
- Multi-media: The digital ICTs permit the exchange of information in writing, sound and picture.
If appropriately deployed, ICT can help facilitate crucial economic and social development objectives in all sectors:
·Efficiency gains: ICT reduces the unit cost of information by increasing the speed with which it can be collected, maintained, and disseminated.
·ICT applications enable the linkage to global markets, groups, and organizations.
·The rapidly decreasing cost of technology makes access more widespread. At the same time, the nonproprietary nature of the internet makes more information available to everybody.
·Because it makes information freely available to all, ICT is potentially empowering and democratizing.
·The speedier information flow and its public availability combine to create greater transparency and accountability in the functioning of organizations.
·New ICT applications, especially using mobile technology, can deliver services to remote, otherwise unreachable locations.