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Statement by Mr. Peter Voss, Head of Division, Federal Ministry of Economics and Technology


Statement by Germany on Draft Opinion 1 on Internet-related Public Policy Matters
at the ITU World Telecommunication Policy Forum 2009

Germany is convinced that in view of the utmost significance of the Internet for the development of the economies and of societies and culture all governments must assume their responsibilities for Internet-related public policy matters.

Furthermore, Germany is convinced that the transnational structure of the Internet requires transnational cooperation of the governments of the world.

At present international cooperation is – apart from ITU – possible especially within the framework of ICANN and the IGF.

As regards the shaping of future international cooperation at government level in order to achieve fair and equitable solutions, Germany’s approach is based on the following ideas:

  • In our opinion, the existing procedures to shape the global Internet have resulted in quite adequate decisions and results

  • As far as future decision-making processes are concerned, Germany would welcome if the influence of governments on international public policy matters was greater than having – at least officially – merely an advisory function. Because this is the only way for governments to adequately assume their responsibilities vis-à-vis their citizens.

  • The establishment and the expansion of network infrastructures are part of the ITU core competences; in this field, there are a number of important initiatives taken by ITU, which we expressly wish to support. In this context, I want to recall that a large share of the budget is earmarked for the ITU-D Sector. We believe that the bridging of the digital divide is an effective means of integrating the developing countries in the global economy. Germany continues to support this objective.

  • Securing the existing infrastruture from disruptions, but also from attacks, is one of the significant tasks of governments at international level. Here, too, we believe that ITU could play an important role, regarding for instance the exchange of data on disruptions that have occurred or the establishment of an information pool of best practices, which may be made accessible as policy recommendations to the governments of its Members States.

  • Cybercrime is another important political issue which no government can evade. The fight against cybercrime no doubt requires international cooperation. However, it is not part of the ITU core competences, but it can play a role with the development of technical standards, etc.

  • The use and development of the Internet cannot be ordered by governments. It rather develops primarily owing to decentral decisions taken by innovative firms, on the one hand, and the demand of users, on the other hand. The experiences gained in more than ten years of Internet governance have shown that it is often very fruitful for the decision-making process to involve civil-society organisations, non-governmental organisations and user organisations. Therefore we believe that the restructuring of various decision-making processes regarding Internet governance will not get the global political support that is necessary unless companies, the civil society and user groups are adequately involved in the decision-making process.

Germany hopes that in the future the various organisations that are active in the field of Internet governance will cooperate more closely rather than work side by side or even against each other. This objective is in line with what we believe was the objective of the initiatives that were taken by SG Touré last year at the ICANN Conference in Cairo and at the IGF in Hyderabad.

Statement by Germany on Draft Opinion 2 on the Implications of the Advent of Next-Generation Networks (NGNs) and Advanced Broadband Access at the ITU World Telecommunication Policy Forum 2009

Germany welcomes this Opinion, which addresses the provision of high-speed Internet and the bridging of the digital divide.

The German federal government is aware of the need for public action in this field and therefore has developed a German broadband strategy.

This strategy pursues a clear objective: we wish to make available as fast as possible, i.e. by the end of 2010, access to efficient broadband services throughout Germany. This means connections suitable to fulfil the main Internet functions. At present we believe that this is in general the case with a bandwidth of 1 Mbit/s.

But we want to go one step further: by 2014 connections with a bandwidth of at least 50 Mbit/s should be available for 75 percent of all households. As soon as possible afterwards, these highly efficient connections should be available throughout Germany.

We focus with our broadband strategy on a variety of incentives to accelerate the positive market development.

We aim to make use of synergies for the establishment of networks. For this purpose, a comprehensive list of all existing infrastructures is being drawn up in order to facilitate the shared use of existing infrastructures. We will very soon distribute the digital dividend (790 to 862 MHz), especially in order to promote the provision of services in rural areas. Besides, we advocate regulation that takes more account of growth and innovation and thus is more future-oriented as is also called for in the existing draft Opinion. Only where these measures are not sufficient to guarantee the provision of services throughout the country public financial means will be made available to a limited extent.

We believe that the bundling of all these measures is the only way to reach our objectives. This bundle of measures aims to promote investments of companies and thus to guarantee the technology-neutral establishment and expansion of networks by several providers who compete with each other.

As far as “convergent regulation” is concerned, we do not at present see any need for action for a convergent legal framework. In our opinion it is important that all providers have access to the networks.

For the same reasons, we do not see any need for the regulation of networks and (media) contents in a single authority.

Statement by Germany on Draft Opinion 3 on “ICT and the Environment” at the ITU World Telecommunication Policy Forum 2009

Germany welcomes the draft opinion on “ICT and the Environment”. Indeed, in line with the wording of this opinion Germany pursures policies that encourage market driven innovation and investment to reduce green house gas emissions. And another important objective of German policy is to motivate the energy industry as well as other industries to develop effective methods to help address climate change challenges.

I would like to make four remarks to comment on this:

First remark: The German Government has already established three years ago a high-level dialogue process with CEOs from the IT-industry and important IT-using industries as well as representatives of renowned research institutes. Last year, when they came together at the German National IT-Summit, a “Green IT action plan” was adopted that we would like to share with you. The Green IT Action Plan comprises voluntary commitments by the ICT industry and by research institutes in Germany as well as government measures. I think this plan will give you an idea of the focus of our actions although additional measures have been taken in the meantime in the context of the economic crisis. But I am pleased to provide you with a copy of this Action plan if you are interested.

Second remark: We think that it is very important to increase energy efficiency and to use ICT to this end. In six regions in Germany we have started pilot projects to optimize energy consumption, energy distribution and energy production with the support of ICT. This project is called “E-Energy”. It wil also help us to integrate renewable energies more efficiently by means of the so called “smart grids”.

But energy efficiency should also be enhanced in other industries and in the households of the consumers. That is why we would like to stress the importance of awareness raising campaigns for private households. According to a recent study, more than half of the ICT-induced ernergy demand in Germany is generated in private households.
But it is equally important that other industries collaborate with the ICT-industry, especially in the fields of logistics, motorsystems and building technologies. We are convinced that we will get much better products and services in the future if engineers worldwide develop new solutions also in cooperation with IT-specialists. This cooperation will help us considerably to increase energy efficiency.

Third remark: Besides climate change, ICT can help to promote environmental protection and to manage scarce resources like water. Every time we have to monitor, control or manage flows, ICT can help. Here again, the cooperation of engineers and IT-specialists is an important objective.

Fourth and last remark: I think that it is of high importance to consider the use of ICT in response to natural or man-made disasters. In Germany we have developed new ICT-based solutions to disaster-management. They may help to save both, the lifes of victims and the lifes of rescue teams.

Now coming to the future role of ITU. In Germany we think that ITU could play a very helpful role by supporting the international cooperation in the field of ICT and the environment. In particular ITU could forward information on different policy-approaches to the developing countries and it could support the transfer of technological know-how to the developing countries. In this effort we wish ITU any success.