It was also an important milestone for the rapid globalization that was one of the most significant phenomena of the last century, and of the large-scale social and economic consequences that accompanied it.
By today's standards, sending the letter S from one side of the Atlantic to the other is a modest achievement, but Marconi's transmission was the first real-time, speed-of-light, global communication.
Hundreds of new NGOs have sprung up in the last decade, first to affordably extend the network to civil society sectors in both industrialized and less-industrialized countries, and later to promote effective use of it.
On the intergovernmental level many UN agencies, the G7 (later the G8) group of industrialized countries, the World Bank and several regional bodies have put ICTs and development high on their agenda.
First, the innovations that accompanied this early radio transmission were the same ones that enabled modern broadcast radio.
Technology advanced at the pace we grew accustomed to in the 20 century and only five years after Marconi's historic transatlantic broadcast, radio operators on ships in the Atlantic were surprised to hear a human voice emitting from the Marconi-built equipment instead of the dots and dashes of Morse code.A second similarity between the Internet and development issues such as education and healthcare is that local participation is essential if projects are going to address local problems or be attuned to local capacities.As Alfonso Gumucio points out in his contribution to this book (chapter 2), the history of development aid is strewn with the carcasses of white elephants, massive projects that failed because they did not adequately consult with local communities.Three years after that, the first regularly broadcasting radio station was transmitting news and recorded music programmes every Wednesday night to a handful of pre-Silicon Valley residents of San José, California who had bought radio receivers before there were stations to listen to.Second, the wireless communication afforded by Marconi's experiment was more than just a technological advance.One of the most important of these is that the reason people in poor countries do not have wide access to the Internet is because they are poor - the same reason they have inadequate water, education, healthcare, electricity, and transport.And, while investment in the Internet could help them improve their lives, so could investment in water, education and healthcare.Over the past few years there have been countless seminars, studies and statements about it and various related issues such as digital opportunities and Internet for development.Governments have adopted national IT policies and liberalized the telecommunications sector to try to attract investment.This chapter will first examine characteristics of the two information and communication technologies that feature in this book - radio and the Internet.We will look at the imbalanced global expansion of the Internet and some of the limitations that this imposes when applying North American or European models for its use in the less-industrialized regions, especially in rural areas.