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 Monday, July 29, 2013

ITU-T events in Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso have strengthened African regional positions on standardization to enhance environmental responsibility and quality of service (QoS); calling for harmonized regional policy on imports of ICT equipment and the management of e-waste, and sharing knowledge of national experiences in maintaining adequate QoS for Africa’s rapidly expanding communications networks.

Organized by ITU and hosted by Burkina Faso’s Autorité de Régulation des Communications Electroniques et des Postes (ARCEP), two capacity-building workshops – free of charge and open to all – accompanied meetings of the African ‘Regional Groups’ tasked with coordinating African contributions to the standardization work of ITU-T Study Groups 5 (Environment and climate change) and 12 (Performance, QoS and QoE).

A workshop on "Building a Sustainable Future through Green ICT Standards", 15-16 July, introduced participants to the activities of SG5 and its Regional Group for Africa (SG5 RG-AFR). It discussed the role of ICT in tackling climate change in Africa and challenges and opportunities associated with e-waste, also offering a technical tutorial on Green ICT standards. A session sought to refine the priorities of SG5 RG-AFR to fuel the discussions of the Regional Group meeting, 16-17 July, which subsequently reached significant conclusions:

  • Emphasis was placed on the need for a Green ICT Roadmap for the African region.
  • Recognizing that local ICT players are predominantly importers, rather than manufacturers, of ICT equipment, participants stressed the need for countries to harmonize their relevant trade policies accordingly; a move which would strengthen their collective bargaining position.
  • Participants noted the need for a regional e-Waste Roadmap and support was expressed for the multi-stakeholder approach to e-waste management recommended by the East Africa Communications Organisation (EACO).

A second workshop on “Benchmarking QoS Evaluation of Multimedia Networks”, 18 July, fulfilled a similar function to the ‘Green ICT’ workshop by providing an opportunity for high-level discussion and information exchange in the run-up to the meeting of the SG12 Regional Group for Africa (SG12 RG-AFR) on 19 July.

Ensuring QoS in today’s converged, increasingly IP-based, communications ecosystem is a complex challenge, and even more so for African countries experiencing an unrelenting surge in demand for communications services and consequent network performance concerns.

The workshop and meeting of SG12 RG-AFR attracted regulators as well as operators, with discussions around ‘Mobile QoS’ highlighting the importance of the topic to the region. Participants discussed the draft new Recommendation ITU-T E.MQoS on mobile QoS parameters, a methodology which looks at mobile QoS parameters from a user’s perspective, and Morocco presented its national experience in mobile Internet QoS evaluation. ‘Broadband Internet QoS’ followed, introducing the country cases of Burkina Faso, Mauritius and Rwanda, and discussing QoS contractual parameters (with reference to Recommendation ITU-T E.803) and the way to harmonize non-standardized parameters with standards.

More information on ITU-T, the Environment and Climate Change is available here.

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