Address for the ITU-APT Workshop on NGN Planning
16 March 2007
Ladies and gentlemen,
It is a pleasure for me to be with you here today. It has always been a
pleasure for me to visit this region, and since I have always encouraged
greater collaboration between ITU regional offices and the regional
organizations, I wanted this to be my first mission as an elected official
since it is an excellent example of close collaboration between the two
offices. I would like to congratulate Mr Narayan and Dr Kim for the
excellent partnership they have developed here. I had the pleasure of
visiting the two offices this week and was very impressed with the
facilities and the close proximity of the offices. We are very grateful to
the government of Thailand for its support. It is a pleasure for me to
return to Bangkok after a long time, especially during this year of
celebration of the 80th anniversary of the King.
As many of you will be aware, the subject of this workshop has dominated
ITU-T work over the last few years and will continue to dominate the work
The shift from the traditional PSTN to a fundamentally different
infrastructure is a massive challenge for the telecoms industry. I have
heard it described as like replacing an aeroplane’s engine, while it is
still in flight! Certainly, it is one of the most complex transitions ever
to have occurred in telecoms.
ITU will play a vital part in this transition, as it did in the past, when
shifting from telegraphy to telephony, introduction of satellite
communications, and more recently fibre optic networks, and IMT-2000. ITU-T
will play a central and critical role in ushering in this new converged
environment, coordinating global efforts, promoting technical excellence and
impartiality in standards development, and building the consensus needed to
ensure new technologies and equipment are embraced worldwide.
Given the breadth of work related to NGN in ITU-T, one Study Group, SG 13,
coordinates the work across seven others under the banner of the NGN Global
Standards Initiative (NGN-GSI). In fact, the scope of the work is being
continually expanded to include new developments, for example, RFID and IPTV.
In April 2006, a Focus Group on IPTV was launched and has seen considerable
interest. The January 2007 meeting of the Focus Group on IPTV, hosted by
Microsoft, saw significant progress on documents relating to IPTV
architecture and requirements, two fundamentally important areas in
Wherever appropriate, ITU-T will reference the deliverables of other
standards bodies rather than duplicating their work. Good cooperation and
collaboration is essential between ITU-T and those other bodies. We have
various mechanisms in place to facilitate this, but we must further
elaborate these, and this is something I believe the Global Standards
Collaboration (GSC) must do more.
Regulatory issues are also important as we move towards NGN. With the
convergence of services on NGN, companies that used to be in separate
industries: telephone operators; Internet-service providers; and cable-TV
firms etc. are now all competing for the same business. Most countries have
separate regulators for telecommunications, spectrum, broadcasting, and
content. Different rules apply to each, but as the distinction between them
starts to blur that will have to be addressed.
The distinction between carrier and enterprise in NGNs is less an issue of
role, and more a question of who owns what network component and where it is
located. Regulatory policies must consider the freedoms in ‘who does what’
and ‘where’ inherent in NGN architectures. Regardless of who provides a
service, the server hosting it can be located in the same or another
country. It is important to ensure that unnecessary requirements to locate
functionality within national borders do not lead to inefficient network
structures and hence increased costs to end users.
Regulation will therefore need to be harmonized to the greatest extent
possible. Such harmonization will result in economies of scale throughout
the supply chain. The deployment of NGNs provides an excellent opportunity
to agree improved interfaces in ITU-T to enable service providers to
interconnect and cooperate on the delivery of applications and services.
Agreement on such interfaces, based on ITU-T defined global standards, opens
the door to the provision of an unlimited range of applications and services
available to all.
In terms of the impact of NGN in developing countries, I believe NGN has the
potential to accelerate the deployment of telecommunication networks and
services. There are two drivers: cost and revenue. The capital cost of
deploying NGN technology, both in the core of the network, and the operating
costs, are significantly lower than circuit switched technologies. This will
enable a more rapid expansion of network capabilities. NGN will also enable
a range of multimedia services to be provided easier with less cost, and so
increase potential revenues. It offers the opportunity for developing
countries to jump several generations of technology.
The ubiquitous network that will seamlessly connect anyone, anytime,
anywhere, by anything, requires global standards, and a global standards
body like ITU-T clearly has an increasing role to play. But, ITU-T must also
meet the unique requirements of each local market, and to do this it is
essential to collaborate with regional organisations such as APT, as well as
with other standards development bodies. NGN must ensure end-to-end security
and deliver value to all stakeholders. Citizens, enterprises, service
providers, government and civil society must all benefit. Global standards
developed in ITU-T will make this possible.
ITU-T standards can avoid costly market battles over alternate technologies,
and for companies from emerging markets, they create a level playing field
which provides low-cost, assured access to new markets. For manufacturers,
they facilitate access to global markets and allow for economies of scale in
production and distribution, safe in the knowledge that ITU-T-compliant
systems will work anywhere in the world, they provide the assurance that
equipment will integrate effortlessly with other installed systems. They are
an essential aid to developing countries in building their infrastructure
and encouraging economic development.
This workshop has brought together leading experts to speak to these very
timely topics. I wish you all an enjoyable, productive and informative
Thank you for your attention.