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G7 Looks To Infopike

The Group of Seven, the richest industrial countries in the world, will hold a summit in Brussels at the end of this month to discuss the infopike and how to regulate or deregulate emerging new media markets.

In anticipation of the meeting, several American, European and Asian high-tech companies including IBM, Olivetti and Hitachi met recently to map out a common plan to accelerate the creation of needed regulation and infrastructure.

Included among the companies’ recommendations were the need for worldwide technical standards, information network security guarantees and methods to ensure the respect of intellectual property rights.

Attendees urged government officials last to remove the regulatory road bumps from the information superhighway that are slowing its expansion and issued a joint policy paper urging governments to relax high-technology export controls, liberalize telecommunications markets and to allow all locally based companies to take part in subsidized research programs.

Call for unity

“If we can encourage the governments to act in a unified manner, and not beggar their neighbors, we will roll this (superhighway) out even faster,” said Marshall Phelps, a spokesman for the U.S.’s Information Technology Industry Council.

If the recommendations are implemented, countries will be able to more quickly implement aspects of the information superhighway such as online services, video-on-demand technology and electronic news gathering and dissemination.

IBM’s CEO and chairman for European Operations, Lucio Stanca, spotlighted Europe as a region needing a lot of prodding in implementing the information superhighway if it wanted to keep up with the U.S. and Japan.

“We need to make technology work for us, not against us,” Stanca said.

“In the global market place, the jobs created by information technology will go to those parts of the world that are flexible and well-positioned to compete in the 21st century. To win in this marathon race, Europe must get into better shape.”

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