A digital divide affecting the most vulnerable people
The development of digital technologies and services has revolutionized the means used for communication and information. For the whole of society, accessibility to those technologies and services has become a major issue in enhancing the employability, social inclusion and independent living, and in particular for people with disabilities and senior citizens. But the same population groups still face many difficulties in accessing digital services and tools, not only in order to use computers and software, but also to consult or create digital resources.
A major initiative supported by BrailleNet
Recognized as a major player in e-accessibility in France, the BrailleNet association announced in June 2015 the organization of the 1st e-Accessibility Tour de France as part of an agreement signed with Ms. Axelle Lemaire, French Secretary of State for the Digital Economy. For the first time in France, a series of events will be dedicated to digital accessibility “in all its forms”, with three objectives:
- Raise awareness among stakeholders in education, training, research, business as well as local authorities, so that they can all take up the issue of digital accessibility
- Highlight exemplary initiatives
- Encourage dialogue and networking among stakeholders
Between November 2015 and November 2016, the e-Accessibility Tour de France will be held in the form of 12 key steps throughout France focusing on six major themes:
- Higher Education & Research
- Public and community services
- Research and Development
- Access to culture
- Accessibility within companies
- Accessibility in a connected world
According to Dominique Burger, president of BrailleNet, “Digital accessibility directly or indirectly concerns every area of human activity. In order to make digital technology accessible, expertise in the field must be developed and deployed. Decision-makers as well as workers in the field must be made aware of the issues and methods involved. Opinion leaders must be involved at every level. The purpose of our Tour de France is to create opportunities for decisive meetings between experts, citizens and professionals and promote digital accessibility”
Afnic, a committed partner of the e-Accessibility Tour de France
Afnic has worked since its inception in favor of the on-line presence of French people and an Internet accessible to all, and therefore wholeheartedly supports BrailleNet’s initiative. Given that the benefits of digital technology must be accessible to as many people as possible and thus encourage the integration of the most vulnerable, Afnic is proud to become one of the partners of this special Tour de France. Underpinning that commitment, Afnic will also carry out a certain number of improvements to its own platforms in order to improve accessibility to as many users as possible.
“Recognizing that e-accessibility is an issue of genuine relevance to citizens, Afnic is proud to be part of the Tour de France initiated by BrailleNet. The rapid development of digital technologies and the potential of digital transformation need not be synonymous with the exclusion of the most vulnerable. On the contrary, access for people with disabilities and for senior citizens to digital services and tools is a challenge we must face in order to enhance their integration and participation in the country’s economic, cultural and social life,” says Mathieu Weill, CEO of Afnic.
To find out more about the forthcoming legs of the e-Accessibility Tour de France, please visit eaccessitour.braillenet.org
Afnic is the acronym for Association Française pour le Nommage Internet en Coopération, the French Network Information Centre. The registry has been appointed by the French government to manage domain names under the .fr Top Level Domain. Afnic also manages the .re (Reunion Island), .pm (Saint-Pierre and Miquelon), .tf (French Southern and Antarctic Territories), .wf (Wallis and Futuna) and .yt (Mayotte) French Overseas TLDs.
In addition to managing French TLDs, Afnic’s role is part of a wider public interest mission, which is to contribute on a daily basis, thanks to the efforts of its teams and its members, to a secure and stable internet, open to innovation and in which the French internet community plays a leading role. As part of that mission, Afnic, a non-profit organization, donates 90% of its profits to its Foundation for Digital Solidarity. Afnic is also the back-end registry for the companies as well as local and regional authorities that have chosen to have their own TLD, such as .paris, .bzh, .alsace, .corsica, .mma, .ovh, .leclerc and .sncf.
Established in 1997 and based in Saint-Quentin-en-Yvelines, Afnic currently has 80 employees.