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The concept of global information infrastructures-global information society (GII-GIS) encompasses the development and integration of high-speed communication networks, and a set of core services and applications in digital format, into global integrated networks capable of seamless delivery. Such networks provide fully interactive access, to network-based services within countries and across national borders. These services may be traditional voice services, data, video services, or more sophisticated combinations of these services (multimedia services) destined for business, government and residential users, as well as for social purposes.
The physical infrastructure of GII-GIS is not limited to any one technology; on the contrary implicit in the GII-GIS concept is the interconnection and interoperability of a range of competing and complementary infrastructures, applications and services made possible by digitization. Communication and computing technologies form the basis of GII-GIS, but hardware, software, multimedia skills, content and information also play a key role. A harbinger of GII-GIS is the explosive growth of the Internet.
The concept of GII-GIS also encompasses the notion of the transformation of existing economic markets to a marketplace where communication networks bundling together transport, access and market transactions will play a major role. The driving forces behind economic growth and development in such a networked economy will not be natural resources or physical goods but based on information viewed as providing the foundation for the transformation of existing social and economic relationships.
While the GII-GIS will ultimately benefit all users, including individuals, governments and business, it is primarily the business sector which may be expected to provide initial stimulus and investment for the GII's development. Financial institutions, for example, have already developed ubiquitous and sophisticated infrastructures for the transfer of money and the conduct of financial services on a global basis. Other examples of networking accomplishments spearheaded by the private sector, include the travel industry, which has developed state-of-the-art infrastructures, and the manufacturing sector, which has developed the ability to manufacture and source on a worldwide basis. As business continues to build and merge these structures to achieve its own goals the benefits will spillover to individuals and governments.
Underlying the notion of information infrastructures, and service delivery based on these infrastructures, is the fact that all information flows will, from the viewpoint of transmission, be undifferentiated because they are digital in form. Further, information infrastructures and applications can, by the nature of the technology, provide services and be accessed on a global scale. In most cases, geographical and political boundaries do not pose barriers to these technologies. As a result, the legal, economic and social frameworks in which GII-GIS developments take place needs to be global in perspective.
- communication facilities (switches, transmission technologies), computing technologies, [[software] and standards;
- terminals connected to the networks providing access for users to integrated services;
- services (i.e. information, electronic commerce, applications and content) available on these networks;
- software and interfaces tying together facilities, terminals and applications.