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[SANTIAGO] Chile has launched a five-year strategy for developing an information technology society to contribute to the country's economic and social development.

The Digital Strategy 2007–2012 was launched in Santiago last week (3 January) by Chilean president, Michelle Bachelet. It consists of three parts.

The first is to generate programmes and projects to promote information and communication technologies (ICTs) in areas such as education, government and the private sector, and to improve connectivity and Internet access. 

The second will develop technology policies for using open source software, use and protection of personal data, and patenting of technology development. 

The final part aims to boost the ICT industry, including the provision of ICT services both locally and abroad. 

A committee of ministers, with advisement from a council of government and industry representatives, will implement the plan.

Bachelet has pledged to provide one computer for every ten children in schools by 2010, and to double access to broadband Internet connections through subsidies — achieving two million connections by the same year.  

"The advantage of the strategy is that it deepens the government and public-private collaboration in the medium term, proposing and identifying priority areas of action," says Raúl Rivera, president of the pro-innovation nongovernmental organisation Foro Pro Innovación. 

But Rivera thinks that more must be done in strategic development areas such as education.

He adds that further efforts are needed to increase the export of professional and technical services, especially in informatics — increasing revenue from the US$250 million reached in 2007 to US$5 billion a year by around 2015.