Excellency Mr. DUAN Lunyi, Vice Governor, Hubei Province
Excellency Mr. LIU Lihua, Vice Minister, Ministry of Industry and Information Technology, China
Distinguished delegates, Ladies and gentlemen
It is a great pleasure to be here with you today in Wuhan, Hubei Province China, for this Seminar jointly organized by the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology and the International Telecommunication Union.
I should like to express my gratitude to Your Excellences and through you to the Government and the people of China for the very warm welcome and the excellent facilities and arrangement for this seminar.
The topic this year "Broadband Networks and Cloud Computing", is of the utmost importance. Accelerating the roll-out of broadband at the global level and bringing to all the incredible benefits of being online, is for the ITU a matter of the highest priority. This is why, indeed, the ITU and UNESCO set up in 2010 the Broadband Commission for Digital Development. Through this Commission, we are making sure that broadband development is accorded the place it deserves on the national and international policy agenda.
Broadband is revolutionizing the way goods and services are created, delivered and used in the digital economy. Broadband is a set of transformative technologies that can help ensure sustainable social and economic growth not just in the rich world, but in developed and developing countries, and in urban and rural areas. It is therefore entirely appropriate that the importance of ICTs was reflected in the outcome document of the Rio+20 Conference on sustainable development.
By the end of last year, 2.4 billion people had got online; and developing countries now account for almost two thirds of the world's internet users.
Mobile broadband, one of the fastest growing service, has significantly increased access to ICT services. By the end of last year, there were approximately 1.2 billion mobile broadband subscriptions, in more than 160 countries.
Distinguished delegates, Ladies and gentlemen
As we talked about these figures we should not forget that nearly 50% of the world's population are below 24 years of age; almost 20% are between 10 and 19 years of age.
The development of broadband related services is an anchor of hope for these young people across the world. We must make everything possible in order for them to tap into the huge potential of ICTs. Equally importantly, broadband will help us address climate change and environmental sustainability, two of the biggest issues of our time and of huge importance to future generations.
Mindful of broadband's critical role, over 130 governments have adopted or are planning to adopt national broadband policies and strategies.
Cloud computing has added a further dimension to the potential of broadband services. Through the use of the cloud, a whole new range of possibilities for delivering services has emerged, offering great scope for the expansion of internet services in developing countries. As with almost all new technological developments, there are a range of issues to be addressed and policy responses to be coordinated. I am thinking here in particular of the issues of privacy, security and interoperability that I am sure many of you have been reflecting on.
While creating the broadband network and developing new applications is very important, it is equally important to make sure that we focus on improving human life, on ensuring security and on being environment friendly. Our endeavors to harness the potential of broadband should be perceived by our forthcoming generations with pride.
We, at the ITU, are of course passionate about the emerging world of ICTs, and especially at the Telecommunication Development Bureau, which I have the privilege to lead, we are delighted that we continue to make such solid progress together with you in our mission to 'Connect the World'. We just completed with great success the Connect Americas Summit on 19 July in Panama and we will be organizing the Connect Asia Pacific Summit in 2013. The discussions that we are having here today are sure to feed into that event.
In closing, let me say how privileged I feel to be contributing with you to the broadband world. A broadband world where individuals, rich and poor, are connected to the global knowledge society. A broadband world where what matters is human ingenuity, not where you were born, or how wealthy your parents were. A broadband world that offers equitable sustainable social and economic development for all.
I wish you very successful deliberations.