UAE exemplifies use of ICT to drive growth, says Toure

DUBAI — The UAE is “a great working example” of the true power of information and communication technology, or ICTs, for economic growth, social development and modernisation in the 21st century, the head of International Telecommunication Union said on Tuesday.

By Issac John

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Published: Wed 21 Nov 2012, 10:46 PM

Last updated: Tue 7 Apr 2015, 2:46 PM

Dr Hamadoun Toure, secretary-general of the ITU, said ICT has become a driving force for growth in the UAE.

“It is a fundamental component used in creating employment; in attracting skilled labour into the region; and in transforming public services by increasingly taking advantage of new technologies,” he said at the opening of the World Telecommunication Standardisation Assembly 2012 in Dubai.

The assembly is taking place for the first time in the Middle East. Hosted by the TRA, this United Nations event takes place once every four years and is organized by the ITU, the UN’s specialised agency for ICTs.

Toure said Dubai has transformed itself into one of the Middle East’s most important economic centres and is one of the greatest symbols of human achievement in the modern world.

Toure said the mandate of the WTSA — which gathers every four years — is to define the roadmap for standardisation in the world telecommunications. “Global standards in ICT will help avoid costly market battles over preferred technologies. And for companies from emerging markets, they create a level playing field, providing equal access to markets. Standards are also essential for international communications and global trade. They are also fundamental in assisting developing countries in rolling out infrastructure and encouraging greater levels of social and economic development. Standards can also reduce costs for manufacturers, operators and consumers, through economies of scale,” Toure said. “We have seen mobile telephony become almost ubiquitous, with over six billion mobile cellular subscriptions worldwide, and well over 100 countries now have mobile penetration rates of over 100 per cent,” said Toure.

According to him, the next big challenge is clearly to replicate the mobile miracle for broadband, to ensure that all the world’s people have affordable and equitable access to advanced communications services.

He said the ITU and UNESCO set up the Broadband Commission for Digital Development – to advocate for increased global broadband infrastructure rollout and access. Toure said over the past four years, ITU has also strengthened its resolve to bridge the

Five hundred million customers around the world are now connected using broadband equipment based on the work of ITU’s Standardization Sector, and 95 per cent of all international traffic runs over optical fibre, the standards for which are based on ITU’s work. ITU chief said standardization and interoperability are at the core of information communication technologies.

“They are essential to ensure that the host of different devices, communication networks and protocols can communicate and work in parallel to deliver services to end-users with reliability, affordability, and without delay no matter their circumstances,” he said.

Toure said ITU has been the driving force pushing forward the frontiers of the future ICT. “These new frontiers of ICT include cloud computing, the Internet of Things, intelligent transport systems, the transition to IPv6, advanced multimedia, and Internet Protocol TV (IPTV).”

He said ITU’s technical standardisation work is helping to realize the vision of a fully-networked society, as users expect to be able to access high-speed services anytime, anywhere, over any device.

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