Archived Newsroom • Press Release
Sri Lanka welcomes top tech policy makers for world’s leading international
telecom regulatory gathering
Policy experts to tackle challenges, opportunities
broadband-driven ICT development
Colombo, 2 October,
2012– Over 500 high-level international delegates from
information and communication technology (ICT) policy-making bodies around the
world are gathering this week in Colombo, Sri Lanka, to debate how to create the
appropriate market conditions for the rapid proliferation of broadband networks
across a range of different market types.
The ITU Global Symposium for Regulators, which has earned a reputation as the
pre-eminent global gathering of the regulatory and policy-making community, is
intended to foster multi-stakeholder dialogue between regulators, industry
leaders and other key ICT stakeholders.
Chaired this year by Mr Lalith Weeratunga, Chairman
of the Telecommunication Regulatory Commission of Sri Lanka (TRCSL), the event
is hosted by ITU and TRCSL under the High Patronage of the President of Sri
Lanka, Mahinda Rajapaksa, who presided over this morning’s opening ceremony.
In his address to delegates from some 100 countries worldwide, President
Rajapaksa said “Sri Lanka recognizes the need for rapid progress in the field of
ICT, a technology that is racing ahead with innovations and new applications
that make our world smaller each day. It opens pathways to progress to the
people, breaking down the barriers of race, ethnicity, community, faith and
geography … We see how mobile communications can bring revolutionary changes to
the lives of people in new life skills, new employment opportunities, and new
links to markets in one’s country and abroad. It can bring new educational
opportunities, expand health and healing services, have a positive impact on
sustainable development, increase production in agriculture, and expand the
market potential of small industry.”
President Rajapaksa was joined on the podium by Dr
Touré; Mr Weeratunga; Mr Ranjith Siyambalapitiya, Minister of Telecommunication
and Information Technology; Mr Keheliya Rambukwella, Minister of Media and
Information; Prof. Tissa Vitharana, Minister of Science and Technology; Dr
Sarath Amunugama, Deputy Minister of Finance & Planning; Mr Anusha Palpita,
Director-General of TRCSL; and top ITU officials Mr Houlin Zhao (ITU
Deputy-Secretary-General) and Mr Brahima Sanou (Director, ITU Telecommunication
Dr Touré said the theme of this year’s event, ‘Why Regulate in a Networked
Society?’, focuses on the critical role of regulators worldwide in facilitating
the rapid roll-out of broadband, particularly in low-income countries where
high-speed networks can serve as effective conduits for essential public
services. “Broadband is a transformational technology, and nowhere is this truer
than in the developing world, where it will help connect disadvantaged and
isolated communities to services that are often chronically lacking, such as
education, health care, financial services and access to government information.
This meeting is the place where experts will forge the innovative funding and
implementation policies that will help make high-speed networks a reality for
all the world’s people,” said Dr Touré.
Speaking of the challenges to be addressed by this year’s symposium, Mr
Weeratunga emphasized the importance of ICTs to socio-economic development.
“This symposium brings together some of the stalwarts in the global
telecommunications industry. Among them are inventors, academics, key industry
players such as CEOs of large telcos, and of course the regulators who handle
very tough situations in their respective countries…It is their thoughts,
viewpoints and deliberations that will keep the entire symposium alive,” he
Mr Weeratunga also praised ITU as a role model for public-private partnerships
in today’s multi-stakeholder markets. Unique among UN specialized agencies, ITU
membership comprises not only 193 Member States, but over 700 private sector
members, who play an active role in ITU’s technical standardization, spectrum
management and development work.
Through the Global Regulators-Industry Dialogue
programme, a new component of the event for 2012, public and private sector
participants will together debate the challenges of meeting new national
broadband goals, promoting affordable access and ensuring safe and secure
digital opportunities for all.
Taking place at the Colombo Hilton Hotel, the
spans a wide range of compelling issues, including net neutrality, spectrum
policy, international roaming, cloud computing, data protection and privacy,
international and regional IP interconnection, and public-private-partnerships
to foster network investment.
Sessions began this morning with an interactive
High-Level Segment focusing on transnational regulatory issues in a converged
digital era. Moderated by BDT Director Brahima Sanou, participants joining Dr
Touré and Mr Weeratunga in the debate included Eugene Kaspersky, CEO of leading
network security firm Kaspersky Lab; Magdalena Gaj, President of the Office of
Electronic Communications, Poland; Robert Pepper, VP for Global Technology
Policy at Cisco Systems; and Zohra Derdouri, President of the Post and
Telecommunications Authority of Algeria.
The meeting continues until Thursday 4 October,
culminating in a series of regulatory
Best Practice Guidelines.
Outputs from the meeting will also be incorporated into ITU’s annual regulatory
Trends in Telecommunication Reform.
Background information, including Sri Lanka market overviews, a new
broadband Case Study on Sri Lanka, speeches of the high-level participants, key
global statistics on broadband, and a backgrounder on ITU’s Connect a School,
Connect a Community project currently being implemented country-wide in Sri
Lanka are all available on the GSR-12 Newsroom at
Download GSR-12 photos:
the event on Twitter at: #GSR12.
For more information,
Chief, Media Relations and Public Information