Ladies and gentlemen,
It is a great pleasure to welcome you to the 2013 edition of the Global Symposium for Regulators – organized by ITU in collaboration with Poland’s Ministry of Administration and Digitalization and the Office of Electronic Communications.
On behalf of Dr Hamadoun Touré, the ITU Secretary-General, who cannot unfortunately be with us here today, I would like to express our sincerest gratitude to our hosts here in Poland, and in particular to His Excellency President Komorowski, for his patronage and support.
Let me also thank our hosts, His Excellency Michal Boni, Minister of Administration and Digitization of Poland, and Magdalena Gaj, President of the Office of Electronic Communications, who has kindly agreed to chair this year’s GSR.
We have made extraordinary progress in the new Millennium. There will soon be as many mobile cellular phones as there are people on the planet, and by the end of this year some 2.7 billion people will be using the Internet. This is a marvellous modern human achievement.
Among other things, the right policy and regulatory environment has been a key contributor to this success.
At ITU – and particularly within our Development Sector – we place tremendous emphasis on the importance of establishing an enabling environment in furthering ICT development, and facilitate sharing the ideas and experiences among our membership through events like the GSR.
Ladies and gentlemen,
This year’s theme – ‘4th Generation regulation: driving digital communications ahead’ – is particularly appropriate in a world whose citizens expect to be able to have access to the latest communications applications and services.
The theme will help us focus on the biggest challenge we face; mobile broadband. We need to do for the Internet and broadband what we have already achieved so successfully with mobile.
In my opinion, there are two things which need urgent actions.
Firstly, governments need to ensure that broadband stays at the top of the development agenda, so that rollout is accelerated and the benefits are brought to as many people as possible.
Secondly, we need to ensure that Internet access – and especially broadband access – becomes very much more affordable than it is today.
This is where the GSR can play an important role.
Effective regulation and sound regulatory frameworks are absolutely key for stimulating growth, increasing access to ICTs for all, extending broadband rollout, and ensuring that we speed up progress in meeting the MDGs.
For the ICT industry, good regulation delivers predictability and stability. It reduces risk. It encourages investment in ICT infrastructure and rewards competition and innovative business models.
At the same time, it protects consumers, by delivering a transparent market place and a fair system for resolving disputes.
In closing, therefore, let me encourage you to pursue your discussions over the next three days and wish you all very productive debates and fruitful dialogue here in Warsaw. I am confident we will all be happy with the results. Let me also thank our hosts once again for their exceptional hospitality and expertly organized arrangements.