|It is no exaggeration to say that over time, the impact of broadband communications on Canadian life will be at least as great as the impact of railways, highways, airlines, traditional telecommunications and broadcasting.
- The National Broadband Task Force 2001
The Digital Divide Policy Forum is intended to assist individuals, organizations, corporations and governments in developing sound, workable and cost effective strategies on how to bridge the digital divide in B.C.
The Digital Divide Policy Forum's role will be:
- To support the lead taken by the provincial and federal governments;
- To work with individuals and groups to ensure full and effective participation in the development of B.C. strategy, objectives and work plan;
- To work to develop, wherever possible, consensus positions that are widely supported and, where consensus has not been acheived, to clearly present alternatives and options;
- To create follow-up consultation vehicles to continue to support all the various stakeholders to mee the goals and objectives of the B.C. Strategy.
The Digital Divide Policy Forum will encourage and enable understanding, debate and cooperation in solving the task of connecting all British Columbians to the knowledge economy.
Our policy for "Briding the Digital Divide" will be derived from the following process:
- Position Papers: To assist in the development of the plan, a series of position papers will be developed on the major issues that must be addressed in developing the strategy. These will then be vetted, added to and modified through discussion and debate.
- Meetings: A number of meetings have been planned. Although the time available is short, a number of meetings throughout the Province need to be held. By working with a number of organizations that have already scheduled meetings dealing with related matters, it should be possible to ensure a number of meetings where face-to-face discussion and debate can take place.
- On-Line Discussion: A Digital Divide Policy Forum website will be established to support and add to the discussion. An interactive forum on the major issues will support the face-to-face discussions and encourage an on-going debate. All of the issue papers and related materials will be made accessible, and the final Digital Divide Policy Forum Report will be posted to the site.
- The Product: The objective of the forum is to produce a detailed ACTION PLAN that sets out specific recommendations, goals and work plans dealing with all aspects of the digital divide within British Columbia. This ACTION PLAN will be developed through consultation and discussion.'
- Timing: The ACTION PLAN will be completed no later than the first week of November 2001. Although the timeframe is rigorous, the Action Plan must be completed by this date to be fully and completely considered by the Premier's Council, and by the Federal Government as it develops its response to the National Broadband Task Force.
- Presentations: Once the Report has been prepared, the results will be presented by a number of spokespersons from the Initiative to the Premier's Council, Federal Representatives, Ministers and other interested bodies.