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Chapter I: Programme of cooperation among the members in the Telecommunication Development Sector

1.1  Introduction

This programme is intended to incorporate all decisions of meetings of world and regional development conferences, study groups, associated working parties and those of the Telecommunication Development Advisory Board (TDAB).

1.2   World telecommunication development conferences

It is assumed that, in accordance with the Convention, the Council will convene a world telecommunication development conference in 2002.

1.3    Regional telecommunication development conferences

Taking into account the programme of meetings in the period 1998-2002 and considering the need to plan the meetings of the study groups set up by this Conference, the Director of BDT, in consultation with the Secretary-General, shall propose to the Council the regions for which such conferences should be convened.

1.4    Study groups

In accordance with Resolution 3, this Conference sets up two study groups and determines the Questions to be studied by them and their working methods. Each of the two study groups shall normally hold one meeting every year. Study groups may set up working parties and decide on their meetings within their budgetary limits.

The following Questions were adopted by the Conference for study by Study Groups 1 and 2 during the period 1998-2002. Council-98 may consider the order of priority[1].

Study Group 1
  • Question 6/1 Interconnection

  • Question 7/1 Universal access/service

  • Question 8/1 Establishment of an independent regulatory body

  • Question 9/1 Impact of the introduction and utilization of new technologies on the regulatory environment of telecommunications

  • Question 10/1 Regulatory impact of the phenomenon of convergence within the telecommunication broadcasting, information technology and content sectors

  • Question 11/1 Factors to create a climate favourable to investment

  • Question 12/1 Tariff policies, tariff models and methods of determining the cost of national telecommunication services

  • Question 13/1 Promotion of infrastructure and use of the Internet in developing countries

  • Question 14/1 The role of telecommunications in social and cultural development, including the protection and promotion of indigenous culture and identity

  • Question 15/1 Technology transfer and informatization

Study Group 2

  • Question 9/2 Identify study group Questions in ITU-T and ITU-R which are of particular interest to developing countries and systematically inform them of the progress of work on the Questions, by way of annual progress reports, to facilitate their contributions to the work on those Questions as well as, ultimately, to enable them to benefit from their outputs in a timely manner
  • Question 10/2 Communications for rural and remote areas
    • 10a/2 Communications for rural and remote areas
    • 10b/2 Development of multi-purpose community telecentres
    • 10c/2 Penetration and service targets for rural telecommunications
    • 10d/2 Definition of a set of indicators describing the state of development of a country’s rural telecommunication network and services
    • 10e/2 Sound and television broadcasting and communication for rural and remote areas
    • 10f/2 Measurement of the impact of information and communication technologies in rural and remote areas
    • 10g/2 Enhancing the capacity of non-governmental organizations (NGOs) to achieve development aims, through the use of telecommunications
  • Question 11/2 Examine digital broadcasting technologies and systems, including cost/benefit analyses, assessment of demands on human resources, interoperability of digital systems with existing analogue networks, and methods of migration from analogue to digital technique
  • Question 12/2 Examine broadband communications over traditional copper wires in regard to aspects of technologies, systems and applications
  • Question 13/2 Methods to enhance the viability of  public service broadcasting, particularly focusing on developing countries
  • Question 14/2 Fostering the application of telecommunications in health care. Identifying and documenting success factors for implementing telemedicine
  • Question 15/2 Human resources management and development to meet successfully the challenges of sector reform and transformation, with special emphasis on employment, including consideration of gender issues
  • Question 16/2 Preparation of handbooks for developing countries

1.5   Telecommunication Development Advisory Board

The Conference adopted Recommendation 3 recommending that the Plenipotentiary Conference convert TDAB into an open advisory group. It also adopted Resolution 6 establishing a subgroup of TDAB to deal with private sector issues.

1.6   Gender issues

In accordance with Resolution 7, WTDC-98 established a task force on gender issues which will facilitate, develop and engage in activities aimed at ensuring that the benefits of telecommunications and the emerging information society are made available to all women and men on a fair and equitable basis.

Chapter II: Valletta Action plan Programmes


In building on the achievements of the Telecommunication Development Sector in a rapidly changing telecommunication environment, the Valletta Action Plan is focused on activities and programmes which are directed toward achievement of the purposes and objectives for the ITU‑D set out in the Constitution and Convention. In addition to the six programmes specifically enunciated in the Action Plan, the World Telecommunication Development Conference (Valletta, 1998) emphasized the importance of establishing a special programme for the least developed countries (LDCs) and elaborated a set of issues to be included as a regular part of the BDT operational plan which will be part of the programmes either as a focus group activity or as a regular activity of ITU (see Section 3.5). The Conference also emphasized the need for gender balance in its programmes and to reflect the needs of other aspects of global society such as youth and the needs of indigenous peoples. Emergency telecommunications is another area where renewed efforts are required. Collaboration with the private sector should be more clearly defined and expanded to reflect the changing roles of public and private entities in the telecommunication sector. As a matter of urgency, the "Year 2000" problem should be addressed. ITU-D should also use the mechanisms for advancing Sector goals included in Opinion B of the World Telecommunication Policy Forum (Geneva, 1998) and the opportunities provided by the ITU TELECOM Surplus Programme. In addition, the implementation of annual operational and financial planning within ITU-D is considered to be very important from the point of view of optimizing the efficiency of BDT in carrying out its work plan.Electronic information exchange is useful for multilateral decision-making processes. This should be encouraged, for all developing countries, in particular LDCs, so that they may participate in electronic exchanges on a fair basis. ITU should contribute to sustainable projects supporting these objectives.

During the period 1999-2003, the strategic processes of ITU-D will incorporate all resolutions and recommendations adopted by WTDC-98, as well as all other pertinent ITU resolutions and recommendations of other relevant conferences.

Programme 1: Reform, legislation and regulation of telecommunications


The purpose of this Programme would be to assist governments in the preparation and implementation of reform, keeping in view the technological convergence of telecommunications, broadcasting and informatics, having regard to the progressive globalization of the telecommunication and broadcasting sector.

This would entail, inter alia, the elaboration of national telecommunication and broadcasting policies, the establishment of independent or autonomous regulatory bodies, the drafting of new or modified legislations and designing optimal institutional structures.

The programme will explore various ways to assist governments in developing the structure of the regulatory body, the mechanisms to finance the regulatory bodies to ensure independence and to assist in training, licensing, staffing needs and overall management, taking into account the WTO reference paper.


1.1 Studies and reports

  • Publishing, on an annual basis, the report General Trends in Telecommunication Restructuring, highlighting trends on a global and regional basis, and using information gathered in the annual telecommunication regulatory survey (see activity 1.3).

  • Preparing and disseminating manuals and guidelines on regulation, including structural options for regulatory bodies; scope and authority of the regulator; licensing procedures; interconnection; universal service; regulation of global systems; etc.

  • Conducting case studies of different models or approaches undertaken in the reform process, identifying advantages and disadvantages.

1.2 Workshops/seminars

A series of workshops/seminars for regulators and/or policy makers will be organized in order to provide a forum for the exchange of opinions, views and experiences among countries on specific areas/concerns in sector reform. These workshops/seminars will be carried out on a regional/subregional basis, and to the extent possible, in collaboration with relevant international and regional/subregional organizations. The participants will be primarily regulators, or, where no "regulator" exists, officials having responsibility for regulatory/policy-making functions. Workshops and seminars will be carried out using traditional means, as well as electronic means, through the Virtual Training Centre (see activity 1.4).

Partnership and collaboration arrangements will be pursued with existing regulatory associations (e.g. ASEAN Telecommunication Regulators' Council - ATRC). In regions/subregions where no association exists, ITU/BDT will provide the forum for discussion.

1.3 Regulatory library

In order to keep track of the rapid reforms under way in the sector, ITU/BDT will establish an electronic library which will include key regulatory information, as well as basic laws/legislation of all ITU Member States.

Specific tasks for this activity include:

  • Documenting national communication policies and regulations through the dissemination of the ITU/BDT annual telecommunication regulatory survey.

  • Enhancing the ITU/BDT regulatory database and providing online access.

  • Expanding the ITU/BDT telecommunication regulation site on the World Wide Web to include: links to regulators that have web sites; contact information for all regulators; basic regulatory information on all countries; access to all basic telecommunication and broadcasting laws; studies and reports on key issues of regulation. A search engine to facilitate easy use of the system will be created. Assistance will also be provided to those regulators which do not yet have World Wide Web pages.

1.4 Training

This activity will provide relevant training to regulators of developing countries, together with the human resources development and management programme (i.e. Programme 6). Training will be based on the manuals and guidelines elaborated under activity 1.1 and using both traditional and electronic means. Collaboration will be continued with already established training institutions.

1.5  Direct assistance

Under this item, direct assistance will be provided to developing countries, in particular the least developed countries (LDCs). ITU/BDT will endeavour to use its own in-house expertise, to the extent possible, subject to budgetary appropriations.

This activity will include, among others, providing short-term assistance to countries in:

  • Drafting the national communication policies and strategies and setting up a national consultative mechanism.
  • Introducing or modifying the relevant legislation to facilitate reform implementation.
  • Establishing regulatory bodies, assisting in implementing the guidelines on the establishment of a regulatory, or making the established regulatory bodies functional, etc.
  •  Establishing a regulators net-line/hot-line where assistance can be provided by telephone, fax, or Internet.

Programme 2: Technologies and global information infrastructure (GII) development and applications, including GMPCS and Internet


The convergence of broadcasting, telecommunications and informatics, enabled by digital technology, offers sizeable opportunities for the implementation of appropriate new technologies by developing countries.

The purpose of the programme is to assist developing countries to plan, build, operate, upgrade, manage and maintain technologies applicable in their networks and services. Particular attention should be given to resource mobilization.

Applied research and the transfer of technological knowledge should be an indispensable part of the task of expediting the access to new technologies on a non-discriminatory basis for developing countries and countries with economies in transition and should be carried out by various means, including symposia, workshops, conferences, seminars, expert advice, etc.

The issues of network reliability and quality of service will continue to be of considerable interest to developing countries. To this end, the programme should focus on management issues, marketing techniques and the introduction of new services, taking into account the recent trends in the development of telecommunications, broadcasting and informatics.

In accordance with the wishes of the regional development conferences and relevant forums, it is proposed to give priority to the following technology-related domains:

a) Spectrum management and monitoring

Strengthening of regulatory entities in administrations together with a national structure for spectrum management, supported by the necessary frequency assignment registration and monitoring facilities, is proposed. It is proposed to continue activities on implementation of the basic automated spectrum management system (BASMS) while shifting the emphasis to speedy establishment and implementation of an advanced spectrum management system (ASMS) including the elaboration of specifications, development of relevant software and accompanying documentation based on those specifications, taking into consideration the design guidelines for the development of such systems as approved in Recommendation ITU-R SM.1370.

b) Network and infrastructure planning

Optical fibre networks, terrestrial radiocommunication networks and satellite communications networks will form the future global information infrastructure (GII) of the world. Moreover, global mobile personal communication by satellite (GMPCS), cellular mobile telephone systems and data broadcasting will have a growing importance in enhancing the GII. Programme activities should focus on relevant technological developments and be accordingly documented to enable developing countries to modernize their networks. The needs of various services including sound, television and data broadcasting should be reflected. Assistance and advice on information infrastructure matters should be made available to Member States and Sector Members from the developing world. PLANITU assistance would continue to be provided upon request.

c) Innovative technological applications

Internet, World Wide Web and multimedia applications should be closely monitored and relevant advice be made available to developing countries. Further innovative applications of new technologies should be promoted via pilot projects (such as rural telecentres, telemedicine, life‑long distance learning, protection of the environment, etc.). Relevant technological solutions should be integrated into overall network planning with the aim of improving project sustainability and enabling relevant system standardization. The Buenos Aires Action Plan (BAAP) experience showed that the approach of focusing the actual planning work and operational responsibilities on a national task force was quite productive and cost-efficient and should be encouraged.


2.1  Elaboration of technology-oriented guides, planning manuals and professional engineering training material.

2.2  Development of user-friendly personal computer (PC) software tools/software support and provision of training courses.

2.3  Regular organization of regional seminars, symposia, workshops, etc. on new technologies, with documented proceedings in print and electronic form.

2.4  Provision of methodological and expert assistance to national task forces in planning and implementation of innovative pilot projects and making available relevant information to interested parties. Close cooperation and partnership with Sector Members and industry should be encouraged.

2.5  Technical assistance to Member States and Sector Members in developing project documents, project implementation, producing feasibility studies and the provision of technical consultation and advice on technology-related matters by means of short missions or correspondence.

2.6  To provide consultancy support in engineering matters to the study groups, to the United Nations or relevant United Nations specialized agencies.

Programme 3: Rural development and universal service/access


The purpose of this programme is to continue to promote universal access, not only to basic telecommunications, but also to broadcasting and to value-added services and, in particular, the Internet, as tools for development. To this end, BDT will continue to work collaboratively with other development agencies and the private sector in the field of information and communication technology (ICT) development, with particular focus on rural and remote areas.

Priority will be given to continuing support to the ongoing programme of rural multi-purpose community telecentre (MCT) pilot projects, started by the BAAP Programme No. 9 and the Spacecom project. The objective of this programme is to develop and test sustainable models for provision of universal access to ICT-based services in rural and remote areas.

The pilot projects will provide answers to questions relating to choice of technology, policy and regulations, tariffs and financing strategies, partnership arrangements, capacity building, marketing of services, etc. They will explore appropriate concepts for providing broadcasting service to underserved rural populations. They will also provide a test bed for development of content and services adapted to the particular needs and conditions of developing countries. Thus, they provide ideal platforms for cross-sectional private-public sector collaboration, and the experience gained will assist decision makers in the development of appropriate information and communication policies and infrastructure plans.


3.1  Implementation and evaluation of multi-purpose community telecentre (MCT) pilot projects

BDT will continue to support the rural MCT pilot projects already started or planned. Funding has in many cases been pledged by ITU and its international partners. Some additional pilot projects may be justified to ensure the development of a wide range of alternative models adapted to different socio‑cultural and geographical conditions. BDT's participation and assistance is particularly essential in the impact evaluation and identification of sustainable, replicable best-practice models and appropriate technologies, with a view to promoting the implementation of MCTs on a large scale and, hence, universal access.

3.2  Awareness and capacity building activities (training)

This includes the organization of symposia and training courses for information and communication service managers, technicians, developers of services and applications, such as telemedicine, tele‑education, teletrading, as well as for end users. Several such events are already planned or proposed as part of ongoing collaborative planning, e.g., regional symposium on telematics for development in the Americas, Asian and European regions, where such symposia have not yet been held and the Internet related training programme for Africa within the framework of the UN Special Initiative for Africa and the African Information Society Initiative.

When possible, such activities will be linked with the MCT pilot projects which provide "laboratories" for developmental testing of applications relevant to rural populations.

3.3  Web site development

Development and maintenance of a fully-fledged BDT web site, describing programmes and activities, opportunities for partners, etc., and including links to all relevant documents produced by BDT (ITU-D study groups contributions and reports, studies made, non‑confidential mission reports, description of pilot projects and pipeline projects). Databases should be designed in such a way that it could be easily used to update the PICTA[2] database maintained by the International Development Research Centre (IDRC) for donor coordination purposes.

Programme 4: Finance and economics, including WTO issues, tariffs, accounting rates, etc.


The purpose of this programme is to help the developing countries, and in particular the LDCs, to adapt to the new telecommunication environment by the putting into place the appropriate financial policies, with emphasis on the following activity areas:

  • a framework to assist in the follow-up to WTPF-98;

  • assistance to governments in the introduction of new financing schemes for the development of their telecommunication networks, including public service broadcasting networks;

  • assistance to governments, particular in collaboration with the WTO, the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) and the World Bank in the negotiation process of the GATS;

  • assistance to governments in dealing with the consequences of the reform of the international accounting and settlement system.

The following areas will be accorded particular attention:

Financing strategies and policies

The provision of assistance and guidance to telecommunication and public service broadcasting organizations (administration, regulators, operators, regional organizations) in order to set up financial policies and strategies, advising policy-makers on the options available in tailoring policies (expert missions to countries, participation in regional and subregional workshops, publication of annual reports).

WTO agreements on basic telecommunications and the GATS

The provision of assistance to developing countries, particularly in collaboration with WTO, UNCTAD and the World Bank, on issues related to the GATS, from a development perspective.

Tariffs, international accounting and settlement rate issue

Helping the developing countries to participate in, and make contributions to, the work of the focus group of ITU-T Study Group 3 and, more generally, helping countries to review their international settlement policy.


4.1 To assist in developing new configurations of joint financing, management and revenue sharing.

4.2 To publish and update, on an annual basis, the report on financial institutions, creating a financial institution Web site to disseminate information.

4.3 To disseminate information (case studies and models) on the financing of rural telecommunications which meet the criteria of affordable cost and an acceptable rate of return.

4.4 To assist countries in setting up a mechanism for financing universal service and access suited to their specific conditions.

4.5 To enhance collaboration with, among others, the development banks and WorldTel.

4.6 To build national negotiation capabilities in order to be able to participate fully in negotiations with their partners.

4.7 To assist countries in integrating into their financial strategies the changes in the evolving international telecommunication environment, by organizing:

  • a series of workshops for countries to enable them to plan the stages of the financing restructuring process;

  • subregional information seminars to describe the implications of the WTO agreements on basic telecommunications and models of commitments already undertaken by countries.

4.8 To promote transitional arrangements in accounting rates and settlement and tariff reforms, by organizing a task force of national experts in every region under the leadership of BDT regional experts. This task force will be charged with organizing regional group training workshops for public and/or private entities on the following themes:

  • financial management of enterprises;

  • price and cost calculation methods;

  • methods for reducing the impact on the developing countries of the reforms in the accounting rate system and tariff rebalancing.

In addition, BDT will organize training on the introduction of cost accounting (for example, within the Centres of Excellence) and will help countries implement such practices by developing appropriate computer programs.

4.9  To support the work of ITU-T Study Group 3 in:

  • compiling a database and Web pages to establish basic information for comparisons of macro-economic data, cost data, trends and scenarios for tariffs and international settlement rates;

  • presenting, at regional or subregional level, case studies already conducted, and validating the results in ITU-T regional tariff groups or any other relevant regional working group (recognizing the need to avoid overlap with the work of the regional tariff groups). The results of the work of these groups should allow contributions to be made to the work of the focus group established under the responsibility of ITU-T Study Group 3.

4.10 To promote, in collaboration with other relevant international organizations, the application of tariffs for the use of telecommunication networks by publicly funded services such as education, health care and public service broadcasting.

Programme 5: Development partnership with the private sector


To promote various types of partnership arrangements with the private sector in activities related to telecommunication development including, inter alia:

  • participation in government or internationally financed pilot projects, such as telecommunication training, telemedicine and distance learning;

  • establishment of joint ventures and strategic partnerships with public and private entities of all sizes and types in all countries, with particular emphasis on building private sector partnerships in developed countries and developing countries in order to strengthen the private sector in developing countries; and

  • facilitating activities related to telecommunication sector development of mutual benefit to all partners;

  • working for an improved understanding between the developing countries and the private sector for the mutual benefit of all ITU-D Members.


5.1        BDT cooperation

BDT will undertake:

  • to encourage participation by new private sector members in ITU-D, highlighting opportunities to take part in the development of all telecommunication activities beneficial to potential customers, with emphasis on those in developing countries;

  • to develop its capabilities as an important source of information for partnerships and business opportunities with telecommunication entities in the developing countries, and in particular in the least developed countries, to enhance the interest of the private sector to participate in ITU‑D project activities;

  • to assist in promoting transnational partnerships for the creation of industrial and service telecommunication enterprises in developing countries, through the use of knowledge-based enterprise incubators.

5.2           Private sector collaboration

The scope of tasks of the private sector should include, inter alia:

  • To recommend ways by which the private sector, through ITU-D, can better participate in and advise on BDT strategy development, programme design and project delivery, with the overall goal of increasing mutual responsiveness to the requirements of telecommunication development.

  • To identify means to enhance cooperation and arrangements between the private and public sectors, as well as between private sector entities in developing countries and in developed countries.

  • To advise on the means by which partnerships with the private sector can be enhanced; to seek means to reach out to the private sector of developing countries and the many small companies in industrialized countries that are not knowledgeable of BDT activities; and to determine modifications to ITU-D processes, practices and projects that would facilitate and encourage private sector support, cooperation and participation.

  • To advise on integrating the financial contributions of the private sector more fully into the activities of BDT while ensuring requisite financial transparency to provide understanding of functions and priorities.

  • To review the essential products of ITU-D which should be developed by Sector Members and the BDT secretariat.

  • To discuss means of ensuring that increased private sector participation as built into the Valletta Action Plan and the study group cycle.

  • To coordinate its activities with those of Programme 2, especially the follow-up of GMPCS activities.

The subgroup of TDAB on private sector issues would be expected to advise on the details of Programme 5.

Programme 6: Capacity building through human resources development and management


To assist developing countries in building institutional and organizational capacity through human resources management and development and organizational development activities. These activities will use and demonstrate modern techniques such as distance learning, computer-based training and teletraining so as to increase effectiveness and reduce costs, and reflect developmental objectives related to access and gender.

These activities will be carried out in six main areas:

6.1  Transfer of knowledge: through training, by strengthening national and regional centres to cope with new technologies, centres of excellence (including broadcasting), partnerships with training institutes, emphasizing areas of interest such as spectrum management, modern management techniques and the training of managers and executives in order to adapt to the changing regulatory and commercial environment. This includes training for building business cases, managing the process of sectoral reform, introducing new services and marketing.

6.2  Sharing of experience and know-how: among Members of ITU and of the Development Sector through study visits and internships, electronic round-tables and task forces to focus on common issues, through regional and interregional HRM/HRD meetings, the programme of technical cooperation between developing countries (TCDC), and other technical consultancy support to the ITU-D study groups and United Nations agencies, and any other means which are effective and efficient for the Members of ITU.

6.3  Assistance to telecommunication and broadcasting organizations in HRM/HRD, including the use of experts on short missions, the Virtual Training Centre, analyses of training needs, feasibility studies, design and preparation of project document models, guidelines and tools for practical applications, helping in financing and providing professional support for implementation.

6.4  Dissemination of information: through enhancement of the human resources development information system, including information and data on training opportunities, best practices and case studies, training materials, and directory of training centres and through the publication of the Human Resource Development Quarterly.

6.5  Training and human capacity building: through the centre of excellence concept, utilizing both strengthened subregional training institutions and a network of institutions for senior government officials and executive level managers from the private sector, focusing on areas such as telecommunication policies, restructuring, regulatory reform, spectrum management, network harmonization, business strategies, new services and technologies, corporate management, human resources development and management, and any other area of interest identified by the Members of ITU.

6.6  The exchange of experiences and know-how between ITU Members and ITU-D Sector Members, through round-table discussions and by the formation of action groups mandated to examine issues related to the human and social dimension of the restructuring of the telecommunication sector in developing countries.

Chapter III: Special programme for least developed countries: A programme to make a difference


Ever since ITU started giving assistance to the least developed countries (LDCs) under Resolution 19 of the Plenipotentiary Conference (Malaga-Torremolinos, 1973), the assistance has been provided on an ad hoc basis to meet certain gaps at administrations' request. From 1992, the situation was partially corrected with the introduction of a programme approach to assistance, such that certain selected priority areas were addressed. The small amount of funds available meant, however, that ITU assistance had to remain catalytic and was spread rather thinly for the increasing number of LDCs.

Past actions have produced mixed results. For a few LDCs there have been noteworthy successes, but for many the situation has not improved. On the contrary, it has worsened in some cases and is likely to continue to do so for various reasons such as lack of political will, shortage of competent staff to organize the restructuring of the sector so as to engender competition, to operate and manage networks efficiently, etc. In others, civil strife has compounded the scenario. Moreover, the current telecommunication environment, characterized by, inter alia, the shift from voice to multimedia networks, globalization and deregulation, has to be considered a strategic issue which calls for innovative action.

New strategy

It is proposed to introduce a new strategy which seeks to concentrate the Union's efforts on a number of selected LDCs each year, with the support of the recipient country itself and other development partners that the Union will mobilize to help. Such assistance could be initiated through a preliminary visit by a BDT official to an LDC which has expressed an interest. This initial assessment should, in particular, take into account the existence and availability of national or subregional expertise that could be of service in subsequent stages and, where appropriate, propose initiatives, in the context of BDT's training activities, conducive to the prior emergence of such expertise.

Selection of the countries could be on the basis of their interest in these activities and their willingness to help finance the projects.

On the basis of negotiations, the countries concerned, BDT, ITU-D Sector Members, the private sector, financial institutions such as the World Bank, regional banks, etc., will participate in financing these projects. The projects will cover different areas, e.g. preparation/implementation of a master plan, restructuring of the telecommunication sector, introduction of new technologies/services and implementation of a pilot activity, etc., or a combination of areas as selected by the host country in consultation with the BDT experts. In this way, those involved (experts/consultants) would be available to the country over a given period (say, one year or more), and reasonably large funds would be spent to make an impact and a difference.

It is important that the countries selected show their interest by their participation in pilot projects or other selected activities. During the period between plenipotentiary conferences, well over half of the LDCs (the neediest) will have received this type of concentrated assistance, which is designed to produce concrete results and to make a difference.

The establishment of partnerships will be an important factor in the success of the programmes. Such partnerships may be realized through formal agreements or informal arrangements, as may be determined by the partners concerned.

Objectives, targets and follow-up


  1. To reform the telecommunication sector so as to introduce new structures which are more conducive to faster and sustained telecommunication development, with well managed and modern networks.

  2. To increase the penetration of telecommunication services so as to achieve universal access to those services.


  1. To meet fully the demand for telecommunication services in urban areas. This means virtually eliminating the waiting list for services by the year 2005, which translates into an average urban main line (ML) density of 10 per 100 inhabitants.

  2. To achieve a rural ML density of 2 ML per 10 000 inhabitants. This density would not yet amount to easy access to telecommunication services as suggested in the Missing Link report, but would be a bold move in that direction.


BDT shall develop a mechanism for monitoring and evaluating the Special Programme for LDCs.

Priority areas

The regular assistance to LDCs (workshops/seminars/fellowships) would continue, but would also be limited to priority areas identified in Section 4.3 a)-d) of Document WTDC98/12, and with the addition of a fifth area as decided by the Working Group of the Plenary on LDCs, namely:

  1. Introduction of new technologies

  2. Sector restructuring

  3. Rural telecommunication development

  4. Human resources development/management

  5. Financing and tariffs.

The suggested action under each of the above priority areas follows below.

Special Programme for least developed countries, 1999-2003

NB        This is not a programme as such. It is a list of actions on the new priority areas for the next cycle as contained in Section 4 of WTDC Document 12 and as modified by the Working Group of the Plenary. The activities are generic in nature, from which the focal points concerned will each year derive an annual programme of action covering national, regional and global activities/projects.

Introduction of new technologies

a) New technologies and new services

  • Seminars/workshops on:

  • GMPCS: in accordance with Opinion 5 of the first World Telecommunication Policy Forum

  • Assistance on IMT-2000

  • Internet: to cover various aspects of a potentially complex service

  • Wireless loop access: for extending services easily to areas not yet covered by the local cable network. Assistance will compare the advantages of TDMA and CDMA while cost benefit studies will include spectrum pricing

  • Technological convergence

  • Broadband transmission over existing copper wire loops: to increase the capacity of existing local copper cables in order to connect more subscribers to the network

  • Digital audio and video broadcasting: as covered in Questions 1/2 and 8/2 of the 1994-1998 study period

  • Planning: as covered under PLANITU and other general planning issues

  • Spectrum management: as widely supported in responses to the questionnaire

  • Telemedicine, tele-education and other services

  • Dissemination of outputs of Question 1/2 of the 1994-1998 study period

  • Dissemination of outputs of Questions 3/1, 5/1, 6/2, 7/2 and 8/2 of the 1994-1998 study period

  • Dissemination of outputs of Question 2/2 of the 1994-1998 study period

b) Planning

  • Continuing implementation of PLANITU at country level

  • Updating the guidelines for the preparation of business-oriented development plans

  • Dissemination of outputs of Question 2/2 of the 1994-1998 study period

c)       Spectrum management

  • Seminars/workshops on BASMS

  • Updating/upgrading software on BASMS and translation into various languages

Sector restructuring

  • Assistance in sector restructuring (general)

  • Assistance in legislation on telecommunication entities and regulation

  • Assistance in setting up regulatory bodies and monitoring the regulatory framework

  • Assistance to newly-created telecommunication private companies

  • Policy choices in a new telecommunication environment

  • Dissemination of outputs of Question 2/1 of the 1994-1998 study period

  • Fostering partnerships

Rural telecommunication development

  • Undertake pilot projects and community telecentre studies

  • Implement pilot projects and community telecentres

  • Seminars/workshops on new technologies for rural telecommunications

  • Disseminate outputs of Question 4/2 of the 1994-1998 study period

  • Application of GMPCS in rural/remote areas

  • Establish policy to promote universal access

Human resources development/management

a)       Training

  • Support for and/or strengthening of regional or subregional training centres

  • Support for national training centres

  • Training in computerized subscriber management system (CSMS), telecommunication management network (TMN) techniques

  • Training managers of training centres in relevant training techniques

  • Management techniques

  • Computer-based training

  • Training in the convergence of cellular and wireless local loop (WLL) technologies with existing technologies

b)       Management

  • Seminars/workshops for senior/middle-level telecommunication managers

  • Seminars/workshops on financial management and resource mobilization

  • Seminars/workshops on network management

  • Seminars on legal and regulatory aspects

  • Mandevtel

  • Dissemination of outputs of Question 5/2 of the 1994-1998 study period

c)       Maintenance

  • Seminars/workshops on CSMS and TMN techniques

  • Development of CSMS

  • Preparation of TMN based guidelines

  • Dissemination of outputs of Question 3/2 of the 1994-1998 study period

Financing and tariffs

  • Fostering partnerships on investment in telecommunications and assisting LDCs in obtaining soft loans on concessional terms

  • Assistance in trade in services as per relevant WTO agreements and Opinion B of the second World Telecommunication Policy Forum

  • Dissemination of outputs of Question 4/1 of the 1994-1998 study period

  • Assistance in tariff studies and their implementation

  • Assistance to LDCs to develop a cost-based tariff policy and to modulate the effects of the reduction of the accounting rate

Other actions


Fellowships will be provided to promote the participation of LDC representatives in BDT activities, particularly study groups. These fellowships will cover mainly individual training and group training (workshops/seminars) and participation in certain meetings/conferences.


Equipment (computer software and hardware) may be donated to LDCs as it becomes available. Network equipment and test gear may be provided for pilot activities. Partners are encouraged to inform BDT of the availability of equipment that could be donated to LDCs.


Technical cooperation projects and other activities executed by BDT under UNDP and other funding arrangements.

Regional activities

LDCs may benefit from any regional or subregional initiatives such as the United Nations Special Initiative on Africa: African Information Society.

Chapter IV: Projects and direct assistance

Execution of technical cooperation projects and other direct assistance under UNDP and other funding arrangements for the regions:

  • Africa
  • Americas

  • Arab States

  • Asia and the Pacific

List of topics approved by the Conference for incorporation into  the BDT Operational Plan

A. Topics related to focus groups

  1. Maintenance-oriented investments - information and computer-aided tools for evaluation of expansion/maintenance needs of bids for procurement of equipment

  2. Guidelines/procedures for improving efficiency of maintenance of software SPC switches

  3. Computer-aided tools and error-free traffic data acquisition procedures for strengthening the traffic administration systems of SPC switches to serve the needs of competitive telecommunication markets

  4. Using telecommunication and telematics to enhance learning environments for development

  5. Collaboration between sectors of public interest and telecommunication operators

  6. Year 2000 - Millennium problem

  7. Study of various mechanisms by which to promote the development of new telecommunication technologies for rural applications

B. BDT regular activities

  1. The role of telecommunications and information technology in economic development

  2. Economic obstacles to access to telematic services

  3. How to enhance satellite telecommunication services in developing countries and, in particular, implementation of new satellite-based technology applications

  4. Telecommunication support for the protection of the environment

  5. Application issues of frequency management

  6. Formulation of a strategy for the development of telecommunication networks in developing countries

  7. Virtual knowledge city


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Updated : 2007-10-05