Teledemocracy: Using Information Technology to Enhance Political Work

Pål Ytterstad, Sigmund Akselsen, Gunnvald Svendsen

Telenor Research and Development
PO Box 1156, N-9001 Tromsø, Norway.

Richard T. Watson

Department of Management, University of Georgia
Athens, GA 30602-6256, USA.


Norway's Telenor Research and Development developed and implemented a communication system to support local politicians. The system's highly graphical interface makes it easy for politicians to make phone calls, set up telephone conferences, and send and receive e-mail and faxes. An integrated document handler supports the exchange of documents between politicians and local government officers. A two year field trial, involving 35 municipal politicians and their administration, demonstrated that the system, referred to as POT (the politicians' channel in the telecommunications network), has the ability to provide useful and effective information technology support for local government politicians. The field trial also gives some insights into furthering the development of teledemocracy.


Teledemocracy, interface design, graphical interface, local politics, telecommunications, field trial, participatory action research, telephony

ISRL categories

AI0101, BC0102, CA10, HD01


Permissions: The photographs and maps in this document are reproduced with the permission of Telenor, with the exception of the one photograph from Troms Folkeblad, which are reproduced with the permission of Ørjan Nygård (photographer), and an article including one photograph from Åpen Linje reproduced with the permission of Rune Wikstøl (journalist) and Ørjan Nygård (photographer).

Questions: Send any questions or problems regarding this document to Pål Ytterstad (

Date of publication September 1, 1996

Last modified by RW on March 27, 1997 and SS on July 7, 1997.