Ongoing information exchange is a key element of ITU activities. One of the Union’s most widely valued and appreciated activities is its regular Indicators reports; timely, impartial regional and global snapshots of an industry in transition produced by the ITU Telecommunication Development Bureau (BDT).
During 2000, new editions of Americas Telecommunication Indicators and Asia-Pacific Telecommunication Indicators were published to coincide with ITU Telecom events held in those regions in April and December.
In the area of the Internet, ITU chose Banjul, Gambia, as the site of the world’s first African Internet and Telecom summit. Organized in collaboration with the Commonwealth Telecommunication Organization, the summit provided an unprecedented opportunity for delegates from sub-Saharan Africa to share their experiences and develop practical strategies for helping bridge the Digital Divide through the promotion of Internet access throughout the continent.
As part of efforts to stimulate Internet uptake, a number of Internet Case Studies were also conducted, notably in Bolivia, Egypt, Hungary, Nepal, Singapore and Uganda. These studies aim to help policy-makers and regulators gain an understanding of the diverse needs of emerging markets, as well as how best to expand access to Information and Communication Technologies.
Other information sharing activities of particular interest to developing countries over the course of the year 2000 included:
formulation of a universal access strategy and action plan for rural communities, including extension of the universal access concept to broadcasting, the Internet and value-added communication services;
preparation of new pricing models for the delivery of cost-oriented national and international phone service;
definition of investment criteria which developing nations can use as a guide for attracting foreign equity;
development of a Web-based tariff database;
preparation of Handbooks on a range of new technologies and services, including Global Mobile Personal
Communications by Satellite, public service applications on the Internet, teletraffic engineering and xDSL;
technology transfer strategies for rural and remote areas.
In addition, a series of seminars were held on spectrum management, 3G mobile systems, migration to digital broadcasting, GMPCS, maritime radiocommunications, rural telecommunications and universal access and service.
A report which identifies issues relating to standards-setting and spectrum management in the ITU-T and ITU-R Sectors
which are of particular relevance to developing countries was also prepared, with a view to facilitating the understanding of countries not in a position to regularly participate in the work of these two Sectors owing to lack of resources, both human and financial. Awareness-raising on issues relating to the impact of the World Trade Organization agreements on telecommunications trade was also conducted in preparation for the next round of negotiations, commencing January 2001.
In the field of radiocommunication, a new bi-weekly publication was launched in 2000: the BR International Frequency Information Circular. Published in CD-ROM format, the Circular represents a consolidated regulatory snapshot of activities in the satellite and terrestrial radio markets, replacing the former Weekly Circulars and Special Sections.
For the space services market, each Circular incorporates the latest notification information, advance publications, coordination requests and special sections relating to space plans. For terrestrial services, it contains a complete, continually updated International Frequency List, updated versions of terrestrial frequency assignment plans, and details on transactions in progress.
During the course of the year 2000, the results of compatibility analyses for high-frequency broadcasting schedules were also made available online, while the MARS (Maritime mobile Access and Retrieval Systems) online database, accessible 24 hours a day, was enhanced by incorporating additional search and rescue information for authorized users around the world.
in the area of telecommunication standardization, ITU continued to produce its invaluable bi-monthly Operational Bulletin, which provides administrations, operators and service providers with essential information on changes to international telecommunication networks and services. The Bulletin also contains important information on maritime services and the various codes, numbers and indicators allocated by ITU to countries and service providers.
In addition, the Union’s Telecommunication Standardization Bureau maintained its important role as a facilitator of
technical information exchange through provision of a number of key public databases offering information on terminology, patents, international country codes, reserved and assigned E.164 network codes and National Numbering Plans.