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ITU chief sees key telecom rule revamp at Dubai event
Issac John / 1 October 2012
The International Telecommunication Regulations, or the ITRs, which came into force almost 25 years ago, are likely to be reviewed and revamped to cope with the changed world at the landmark World Conference on International Telecommunications, or WCIT 12, to be held in Dubai in December.
Dr Hamadoun Touré, secretary-general of the International Telecommunication Union, or ITU, the United Nations agency for information and communication technology, said on Sunday the impact of the event on ICT globally would be felt for the coming 20 years.
The ITU chief believes that WCIT-12 would create the right conditions for a ‘‘broadband miracle’, and would set the industry on the road to the knowledge society of tomorrow.
“The ITRs were last negotiated in Melbourne, Australia in 1988, and there is broad consensus that the text now needs to be updated to reflect the dramatically different ICT landscape of the 21st century,” said Dr Hamadoun at a Press briefing.
Last month, at a policy forum held in New York, the ITU chief sought to dispel persistent rumours that the UN agency would try to take over Internet at the Dubai event. He also voiced his support to the notion that the current multi-stakeholder model— which was advocated by the World Summit on the Information Society, WSIS — must be defended and strengthened.
Dr Hamadoun said WCIT-12 is all about putting ICTs in the hands of all the world’s people. “The event will deliberate on issues including the free flow of information; promoting affordable and equitable access for all, including people with disabilities; and the continued development of broadband — including an increased focus on energy efficiency and combating climate change.”
He said WCIT-12 would a tremendous opportunity to make the world a better place for all. Other topics to be debated include affordability – reducing the cost of international mobile roaming; how to prevent fraud; misuse of the telephone numbering system; and the empowerment of consumers. Dr Hamadoun said the WCIT -12 has the potential to bring ICTs within affordable reach of all of the planet’s seven billion inhabitants. “It also has the potential to open up new streams of revenue for businesses, and to promote the creation of new business models.”
UAE’s Telecommunications Regulatory Authority, or TRA, hosted Sunday’s media briefing. Present along with Dr Hamadoun were Mohamed Nasser Al Ghanim, Director General of the TRA, and Dr. Abdulqader Al Khayat, Chairman of the Higher Committee for ITY events.
WCIT-12, to be held from December 3-14, will be the final of the three major ITU events set to take place in the UAE in the coming months.
The other two are ITU Telecom World 2012, the leading platform for the global ICT community to connect, debate, network and share knowledge to be held at Dubai’s World Trade Center from 14 -18 October, and the World Telecommunication Standardization Assembly from 20-29 November.
Key stakeholders from across the entire industry ecosystem will come together in Dubai’s World Trade Center for ITU Telecom World to harness the power of ICTs to create real change.
According to Al Ghanim, through the TRA, the UAE has taken a leading role in the world telecommunications scene, and the hosting the three key ITU events and the UAE’s status as world telecoms capital for Q4 2012 was the crowning achievement for that effort.
Regionally, the UAE has led and coordinated the joint Arab nations’ proposals to be presented during the ITU event. The TRA has also overseen the UAE’s ascendance to the pinnacle of the regional telecommunications industry.
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