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Preface

                                                             Héctor Mario Carril
                                        Chair of the Working Group on Basic and Universal

                                              Telecommunications Services, CITEL/OAS

                                 The observation was made during the last CITEL Assembly that we

                                 can never bring knowledge to our peoples if we fail in our attempt to provide
                                 them with adequate, ever-improving communications. Thus, at the end of the
                                 century and the millenium, it has become absolutely imperative to focus the
                                 efforts of our industry on achieving much more profound social impact.

         At a stage in the development of telecommunications in which we are moving towards market
deregulation, states must, as the Senior Telecommunications Officials of the Americas recommended in
the Plan of Action for the Americas, "... promote the establishment of mechanisms for increasing
telephone service density and coverage in rural areas and for low-income groups."

         In such a framework of transformation towards deregulation, we must determine in our countries
how to make telecommunications services accessible to all our populations, in each and every part of our
continent. We must achieve universal access to information, overcome computer illiteracy, and provide
mass access to the Internet.

         The objective of publishing the Book on Universal Service in the Americas is to provide the
information available on legislation and regulations on universal access/service in the countries of the
Americas. It seeks to become a resource for enhanced policy formulation and drafting of legislation and
regulations in this area in the framework of the mandate of the Summits of the Americas.

         I would like to thank CITEL for having entrusted me with the responsibility of carrying out this
project; the ITU, AHCIET, and the Administrations of the region for the valuable collaboration they
provided; ITU expert, Mrs. Graciela Mealla, for her coordination of the project; and CITEL experts, Mrs.
Carmen Cecilia Angarita and Mr. Harry Noblé, for their contributions on the Andean Community and the
Caribbean respectively.

         The scope of social policy objectives implied by universal access/service programs fully justifies
the publication of this book as an instrument to be used by every country, in keeping with its own policies
and its social, economic, and legal context. We hope that this Book may contribute to determining social
policy objectives so that we may enter the new century - the century of communications and information
technology - without exclusion of any type, and reach out to all peoples of the Americas.

                                                                          Héctor Mario Carril
                                                          Chair, Working Group on Basic and Universal

                                                            Telecommunications Services, CITEL/OAS

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