ITU Telecom World 2011 launches debate to global audience

Date: Wed, 10/26/2011 - 13:52

ITU Telecom World 2011 launches debate to global audience

Heads of State, ICT ministers, industry leaders join tens of thousands of participants around the world to create a ‘Manifesto for Change’

The 40th anniversary edition of ITU Telecom World opened its doors to over 250 top leaders from government, the private sector and the global technology community.
The event, which is being held in Geneva from 24-27 October, is bringing the brightest minds and most influential leaders together to debate the key issues that will shape the future of an industry that now pervades virtually every field of human endeavour.
A vibrant opening ceremony sponsored by China Mobile, the world’s largest mobile operator with over 600 million subscribers, featured President Ali Bongo of Gabon; Commodore Josaia Voreqe Bainimarama, Prime Minister of Fiji; Igor Shchegolev, Minister of Communications and Mass Media, Russian Federation; Doris Leuthard, Head of the Federal Department of Environment, Transport, Energy and Communications, Switzerland; Sheikh Abdullah Bin Mohamed Saud Al-Thani, Chairman, Qatar Telecom; Jianzhou Wang, Chairman, China Mobile; and Dr Hamadoun Touré, Secretary-General, ITU.
Dr Touré noted how, for the first time in ITU Telecom’s 40-year history, tens of thousands of people from around the world were joining the event using the full range of connected technologies. The event, he said, will be a genuine “conversation reflecting the concerns, dreams and visions, not just of people physically present at the event” but of those all around the world following the event remotely from their homes, offices, schools, and through a network of 100,000 telecentres around the world.
The official ceremony was followed by a more informal event celebration in the OpenSpace arena, where participants heard from additional dignitaries including Mark Muller, Conseiller d’Etat, Geneva; Dr Babatunde Osotimehin, Executive Director, UN Population Fund (UNFPA); and Mohamed Khalfan Al Qamzi, Chairman of the Board of the Telecommunications Regulatory Authority (TRA) of the United Arab Emirates.
Dr Reza Jafari, Chairman of the ITU Telecom Board, took the occasion to announce Dubai as the winner of the global bid to host ITU Telecom World 2012. TRA Chairman Al Qamzi welcomed the announcement, noting that UAE is now home to operators serving over 100 million customers across Asia, the Middle East and Africa. “The global position of UAE as a major gateway for three continents with trade and transit routes reaching west, east, north and south, has ICT as it heart,” he said. “Bringing ICT industry leaders to the region will help foster the development of this sector. I look forward to welcoming you to UAE and to showing you the extent to which ICT is contributing to our development.”

Latest ICT statistics
To set the tone and fuel the debate, ITU took the occasion to unveil a new mini-report, The World in 2011, which reveals impressive growth in areas such as global Internet use, particularly in developing countries. The publication confirms that ICT growth continues apace, with close to six billion mobile cellular subscriptions forecast by the end of 2011, and around 2.3 billion people using the Internet.
Growth is fastest in the developing world, and amongst the young, with almost half the world’s online population now under 25 years old. That number should continue to increase steadily as Internet penetration continues to grow in schools.
The developing world’s share of the world’s total Internet users has grown from 44% five years ago, to 62% today. Global Internet penetration has grown by over 50% in three years – from 13% in 2008 to 20% in 2011.
The new ITU figures provide a quick snapshot of broadband deployment worldwide, revealing gaping disparities in high-speed access. While international Internet bandwidth has grown from 11,000 Gbps in 2006 to close to 80,000 Gbps in 2011, Europeans enjoy on average almost 90’000 bps of bandwidth per user compared to Internet users in Africa, who are limited to 2,000 bps per user.
The report shows that the world’s top broadband economies are all located in Europe, Asia and the Pacific. In the Republic of Korea, mobile broadband penetration now exceeds 90%, with nearly all fixed broadband connections providing speeds equal to or above 10 Mbps. In comparison, broadband users in countries such as Ghana, Mongolia, Oman and Venezuela are limited to broadband speeds below 2 Mbps.
Dreams and visions of how to best use technology to improve lives will be a major theme throughout the event, culminating in a ‘Manifesto for Change’ detailing recommendations for action to help more of the world’s population get connected. The Manifesto, produced in collaboration with ITU Telecom’s Insight Partner Ernst & Young, will be created from all the discussions taking place around the event, including online contributions, echoing questions raised and views voiced by participants in Geneva and across the world.

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