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Knowledge Society Agency (UMIC)
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Forum for the Information Society

The Forum for the Information Society is a consultation and coordinating body for public policy development for the information society and brings together the main social, public and private stakeholders. It is open to the general public via interactive means. It is taken as a given that the country’s development in this and other areas requires broad participation platforms that promote working through networks and co-building joint goals.

The Forum for the Information Society’s creation was provided for in the Connecting Portugal programme that was approved at the end of July 2005, making use of a broad consultation and coordination approach as had been used for information society policies between 1997 and 2001.

The Forum for the Information Society’s first meeting (in Portuguese) was held on 10th March 2006 at the Aveiro Parque de Exposições. The opening session was chaired by the Minister for Science, Innovation and Higher Education and the closing session was presided over by the Prime Minister in Aveiro.

This Forum for the Information Society meeting (in Portuguese) was attended by more than 300 participants from companies, public bodies, universities and polytechnics, non-governmental organisations, digital city and region projects and other bodies. The current state of play was presented and discussed using the latest national and international data on the country’s development in the main aspects of the Information Society, particularly those regarding international benchmarking actions, targets and goals planned for under the Connecting Portugal programme.

For example, broadband Internet penetration in the population rose 42%, and the number of households with broadband connections grew 53%. Other up-to-date indicators have revealed that 85% of higher education establishments were covered by wireless networks including them in a unified campus (Campus Virtual e-U), 3.4 million scientific articles had been downloaded in 2005 via the Online Knowledge Library (b-On), which is available to all research and higher education institutes via national subscriptions, and all Portuguese public bodies were connected to the Internet, 73% of which had a broadband connection. As for the Citizens' Portal, there has been a 46% increase in traffic since the end of 2005, and in the month of January 2006 alone, it was visited by 191,000 people in 433,000 sessions, which corresponded to 3 million page viewings and 22 million hits from 33 countries.

Most of the Forum for the Information Society meeting (in Portuguese) was dedicated to debate sessions where participants were involved in discussing changes and actions in progress in various sectors, ranging from eCommerce to training and qualification, eGovernment to social inclusion and job creation. The topics of regulation and competition were also discussed, as were new perspectives and opportunities for information technologies.

Summaries of the speeches and debates from the Forum for the Information Society meeting (in Portuguese) are available. The respective moderators prepared the debate summaries.

The agreement between the Portuguese Government and Carnegie-Mellon University was also signed at this first Forum for the Information Society meeting (in Portuguese), in the scope of the initiative for new international partnerships for Science, Technology and Higher Education. The agreement between UMIC and Sun Microsystems for the provision of open source software was also signed.

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Last updated (09/03/2010)