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8 - 10 December 2004, Geneva, Switzerland

The fifth annual Global Symposium for Regulators (GSR) was held 8-10 December 2004 in Geneva, Switzerland, at the invitation of ITU Development Bureau (BDT) Director Hamadoun I. Touré 1.  The meeting focused on ways to adapt and evolve licensing and regulatory structures to cope with convergence of information and communications technology sectors.  The chairperson of the GSR was Kathleen Q. Abernathy, a member of the Federal Communications Commission of the United States.  The GSR was held in conjunction with the Second Annual Meeting of Regional Regulatory Associations, held 7 December 2004 at the same location in Geneva.

The 2004 GSR was evidence that the annual symposium continues to evolve in size, scope and in importance.  Since its creation five years ago by the Regulatory Reform Unit of the ITU’s Development Bureau (BDT), it has grown in terms of the numbers of regulators attending, the number of countries represented, the number of sector members attending (invited for the first day) and the array of issues that have come out of the symposium for further work, by both the BDT and the participating nations.  At this year’s GSR, there were 350 participants from 106 countries, including regulators representing 77 countries, as well as 34 sector members and all existing regional regulators’ associations.

This GSR was notable for an increase in the number of proposals by delegates for issues and projects to be carried out before and at the next GSR.  This included a proposal, made possible by an invitation from the government of Tunisia, to hold the next GSR outside of Geneva.  The invitation to hold the symposium in Tunis in 2005 was warmly received, supported and adopted by the GSR. 

As in last year’s GSR, this GSR reached consensus on an output document, the Best Practice Guidelines for the Promotion of Low-Cost Broadband and Internet Connectivity.  The document expresses the view of the national regulatory authorities participating in the GSR that regulatory and policy decisions can serve to encourage the growth of broadband networks and services that will improve lives around the world.  The symposium agreed that the views of regulators on such an important set of enabling technologies should be expressed to those seeking ways to build the Information Society.  These Best Practices Guidelines will be presented to the next phase of the WSIS. (The final text of the document is attached to this report).

This year’s symposium consisted of four plenary sessions, focusing on multiple aspects of licensing and spectrum management, along with two simultaneous break-out sessions – an innovation for the GSR format – focusing on “spam” and broadband infrastructure. 

Due to growth in attendance at the GSR, as well as construction going on at other Geneva convention facilities, the GSR and its allied meetings were held this year at the headquarters of the World Meteorological Organization.


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