Mr. IEC President John Janowiak
Your Excellency, Mr Chairman Zhang Chunjiang
Your Excellency, Deputy Minister Jiang Yaoping,
Mr. Director General Xu Qin,
Ladies and Gentlemen,
I should like to begin by thanking the sponsors of this forum, Mr John Janowiak, President of the International Engineering Consortium (IEC), and Mr Zhang Chunjiang, Chairman of Broadband World Forum Asia 2007 and Chairman of the Board of China Netcom Company Limited, for their invitation. On the occasion of this ceremony to mark the opening of Broadband World Forum Asia 2007, I should like, on behalf of ITU�s Secretary-General, Dr Hamadoun Tour�, and on my own behalf, to express my warmest congratulations on the holding of this noteworthy event.
To date, eleven Broadband World Forums have been successfully organized on an ever-increasing and ever-more influential scale. Broadband World Forum Asia, held for the first time in 2004 in response to Asia�s high level of broadband development, has thus far been hosted by the Republic of Korea, Japan and Hong Kong, China, respectively. The fact that the current forum is again being held in China, this time in the capital, Beijing, once again testifies to the world�s recognition of China�s vigorous development of the communications industry in general and broadband in particular. My full congratulations go to the Forum�s organizers!
Over the past decade, tremendous progress has been made in the telecommunication sector worldwide. In the developing countries, and particularly the least developed countries, the telecom industry has been growing at a far higher rate than in the developed countries, with the most striking progress being seen in the mobile communications sector narrowing the �digital divide� in these two areas at a rapid and, indeed, accelerating pace. In China, thanks to the exceptionally successful efforts that have been made to build up the country�s communications industry, its mobile and fixed networks have both emerged as world leaders.
Where broadband development is concerned, however, the global picture is somewhat different. According to the latest ITU statistics, in the period 2001 to 2005 broadband penetration rose from 4 per cent to 17 per cent in the developed countries and from zero to 3 per cent in developing countries, while in the least developed countries it remained at zero. In the case of China, however, the figures tell another story. By the end of 2005, 74 per cent of all the broadband users in the world resided in the developed nations and regions and 17.5 per cent resided in China, leaving less than 10 per cent for all the other countries put together. China now boasts the world�s second largest broadband user base, surpassed only by that of the United States. The rapid growth in the Chinese broadband sector has attracted world attention. As the key sector dynamically underpinning the national economy, the information and communications industry has played a unique role in facilitating access to information technology, thereby improving China�s socio-economic development and standard of living. People�s increased access to broadband services will change their way of life, habits and customs. It is ITU�s wish that China�s successful experience be drawn upon and applied in other countries so as to help the international community to reduce the existing gap in the shortest possible time. It is also its wish that China, based on its own experience and its vision for future broadband technologies, should play a major role in contributing to the development of the world�s future communication technologies. With the 2008 Summer Olympics focusing world attention on China, �Broadband Olympics� has been chosen as the theme of this forum in order to highlight the will of the sponsors to showcase to the world at large the rapid pace and high level of development of the Chinese information industry, and their confidence in China�s ability to ensure that the 2008 Beijing Olympics will be served with a dazzling array of new broadband applications in which the Chinese communications industry may take pride, and for which we express our highest admiration. It is my sincere hope that people in all ICT sectors will make the fullest possible use of this broad platform to enhance multilateral cooperation in the field of broadband communications, in a spirit of deepening friendship that will facilitate sustained and healthy ICT development throughout the world, in the interests of shared prosperity and progress for all countries and all peoples.
ITU is the United Nations specialized agency for global telecommunications. Founded 142 years ago in 1865, ITU has 191 Member States and more than 700 industry members, including virtually all the world�s leading telecommunication operators and manufacturers. Ever since it came into being, ITU has devoted itself to setting standards for the world�s telecommunication technologies and services, promoting telecommunication service interoperability and cooperation among countries, and increasing the level of access to telecommunication facilities and services. The range of broadband technology standards developed by ITU has laid a solid foundation for global broadband industry development. The broadband application service standards currently being studied by ITU relate to, among other things, NGN, IPTV, HomeGateway, RFID and ID code management, emergency communications, next-generation communications, digital TV and digital broadcasting, and are all designed to help the industry achieve further quality-of-service enhancements. ITU is pleased to note that telecom operators the world over have played an active part in its standard-setting activities for broadband technology and applications. The active participation of China�s operators, including China Netcom, has served to reinforce the impartiality and authoritativeness of the ITU-developed standards and relevant resolutions. On 20 July 2006, ITU organized a grand ceremony in Geneva to mark the 50th anniversary of the founding of CCITT, now ITU-T. Mr ZUO Xunsheng, President of China Netcom, made a special trip to attend the meeting, addressing it as representative of the global community of telecommunication operators and expressing the latter�s support for ITU and its work. For all his efforts I extend to him my sincere gratitude.
On behalf of ITU, I should like to take this opportunity to solemnly state that we are ready and willing to establish our contacts and step up cooperation with IEC, whose members we warmly invite to involve themselves in ITU�s activities, especially those of ITU-T and ITU-D. With IEC�s consent, we would also like very much to participate in those of its activities that are of mutual interest.
In conclusion, I should like to thank Chairman Zhang Chunjiang once again for his kind invitation, to wish Broadband World Forum Asia 2007 every success, and to wish the partners for the 2008 Summer Olympics an equal measure of success in providing communication services for the games!