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 Thursday, April 17, 2008

Secretary-General addresses Space Business Round Table in Washington D.C.

Geneva, 27 February 2008 — ITU Secretary-General Dr Hamadoun Touré addressed the Washington Space Business Round Table: Looking Forward to Space held in conjunction with the Satellite 2008 Conference and Exhibition. Fifty years after the launch of the Russian Sputnik, the first manmade object in outer space, satellites have become the mainstay of telecommunications worldwide.

As the leading United Nations agency for information and communication technology (ICT) issues and the global focal point for developing networks and services, the International Telecommunication Union plays a key role in managing radio-frequency spectrum and satellite orbits. ITU is the international forum where the rights and obligations of Member Administrations in obtaining access to the spectrum and orbit resources are agreed. ITU also carries out vital work recording frequency assignments and orbital positions in the Master International Frequency Register and processing satellite filings to ensure that orbital positions and frequencies are compatible and interference-free.

Dr Touré outlined the outcomes of the ITU World Radiocommunication Conference (WRC-07) which met in Geneva for four weeks last autumn to address the worldwide use of radio frequencies and to meet the global demand for spectrum, fuelled by rapid technological developments and growth in the ICT sector. Attended by over 2800 delegates, representing 161 Member States and 94 observers, WRC-07 focused on the impact of the latest technological developments in satellite services, mobile communications, digital broadcasting and spectrum/orbit resources for satellite applications, including voice, data, digital and high definition TV, and the Internet.

Satellite communications aid remote communities

Dr Touré highlighted the role of satellite communications in providing access to communications in remote and isolated communities to bridge the so-called digital divide. He said ITU had embarked on a major initiative to connect the world, beginning with Africa, aimed at attracting investment for infrastructure development by developing an enabling environment through appropriate policy and regulatory frameworks and capacity building. The Connect Africa Summit, held in Kigali, Rwanda last October brought together African leaders and business from around the world "seeking not aid or charity but to mobilize investment and business resources to support sustainable growth, employment and development," said Dr Touré.

More information on ITU's press releases website at  http://www.itu.int/newsroom/press_releases/2008/NP02.html