ITU to world leaders: Accord priority to broadband growth

ITU to world leaders: Accord priority to broadband growth

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[blockquote right=”pull-right” cite=”Hamadoun I. Touré, the ITU Secretary-General of International Telecommunication Union (ITU)”]“The broadband universe is evolving incredibly quickly, especially with the advent of mobile broadband, which is the fastest growing technology in human history. Most of this growth will come in developing countries, if the pattern of recent years continues to be repeated – with 90 per cent of the mobile growth and over 80 per cent of the growth in Internet users coming from the developing world over the past four years.”[/blockquote]
Hamadoun I. Touré, the ITU Secretary-General of International Telecommunication Union (ITU) has called on the global community to accord policy and other needed priorities to broadband growth because of the key role that fast-growing high speed Internet connections play as huge drivers of sustainable development.

The ITU chief made the call at an Executive Strategic Dialogue on Broadband for Sustainable Development held weekend at the ITU World Telecommunication Development Conference taking place in Dubai, United Arab Emirate.

The event provided a platform for an interactive debate on the trends, challenges and opportunities of the telecom/ICT sector. It particularly focused on strategies and policies directed towards broadband development worldwide.

Noting that there are almost 1.5 billion smartphones in use, and that number is likely to double in the next few years, the ITU Secretary-General Hamadoun I. Touré said, “The broadband universe is evolving incredibly quickly, especially with the advent of mobile broadband, which is the fastest growing technology in human history. Most of this growth will come in developing countries, if the pattern of recent years continues to be repeated – with 90 per cent of the mobile growth and over 80 per cent of the growth in Internet users coming from the developing world over the past four years.”

Touré stressed that we need to continue measuring progress in order to see what still needs to be done and added: “What we decide and define here in Dubai over the next two weeks will shape not just the future of ICT development over the next four years – but the future shape of the very world we live in.”

In his opening remarks, Brahima Sanou, Director of ITU’s Telecommunication Development Bureau said, “We still have the huge challenge of bridging the ‘broadband divide’ by exploring, debating and innovating the best ways to reinforce impact related to deploying broadband infrastructure and making broadband-based services and applications affordable.”

Sanou added that “I do not doubt that the impact of broadband is significantly reinforced by the power of the mobile revolution. With more than 6.8 billion mobile subscriptions worldwide, we need, now more than ever, to join forces to empower people – no matter where they live – and contribute to socio-economic development.”

The keynote speaker was Gerd Leonard, Futurist and CEO of The Futures Agency (Switzerland). Panellists included John Nasasira, Minister of Information and Communication Technologies, Uganda; Mohamed Nasser Al Ghanim, Director General, Telecommunications Regulatory Authority, UAE; Yoon Jong-Rok, Vice-Minister, Ministry of Science, ICT and Future Planning, Republic of Korea; Kathryn C. Brown, Chief Executive Officer, Internet Society; Samer Halawi, Chief Executive Officer, Thuraya; Luigi Gambardella, Chairman of Executive Board, European Telecommunications Network Operators’ Association and Lobna Smida, Policy Expert in Accessibility, Tunisia.

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Kayode Oladeinde Technology Journalist at Technology Times. Mobile: +234 (0) 7031526929