Following up my post about The Economists leader about the digital divide the other day, I’d like to point interested parties to the report Completing the Revolution – The Challenge of Rural Telephony in Africa, written by Murali Shanmugavelan and Kitty Wariock and published by Panos.

The guys at WSIS can talk about global internet ad infinitum, but without even basic telephone services these countries will be forever left in the dust.

At present, the lack of rural connections is often hidden behind impressive overall figures for the growth of telephony. Important development initiatives such as NEPAD and the World Summit on the Information Society focus on internet-based ICTs, and where they mention telephony at all it is in general terms.

The report provides both case studies (Uganda, Senegal, Burkina Faso and Zambia) as well as insight into the processes of privatization and deregulation. For example, how countries are interpreting the Universal Service-directive and what methods are used to give access to citizens.