GSR13 Chairman's Report
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Global Regulators-Industry Dialogue Day 1, Warsaw, 3 July 2013

Executive Summary

The 13th Global Symposium for Regulators (GSR-13), organized by ITU’s Telecommunication Development Bureau (BDT), in collaboration with Poland’s Ministry of Digitization and Office of Electronic Communications (UKE), was held in Warsaw, Poland, from 3 to 5 July 2013.

The meeting opened with a message read on behalf of His Excellency President Bronislaw Komorowski of Poland, followed by keynote addresses from Mr Houlin Zhao, ITU Deputy Secretary-General (on behalf of Dr Hamadoun I. Touré, ITU Secretary General) and Ms Magdalena Gaj, President of UKE and Chairman of GSR-13.

Mr Brahima Sanou, Director of BDT, moderated a high-level opening debate, with H. E. Mr Michal Boni, Minister of Administration and Digitization of Poland giving the opening keynote and Ms Neelie Kroes, Vice-President of the European Commission the keynote address.

The theme of GSR-13 was 4th Generation Regulation: Driving Digital Communications Ahead. The symposium examined challenges that regulators face in a networked and converged world, where information and communication technologies (ICTs) cut across virtually every sector of society and the economy — for example, health, finance, education, trade, agriculture and tourism — and where there is a growing need for bandwidth and for more investment in new technologies.

Panellists and participants examined smart opportunities in traditional areas, such as spectrum, standards, universal service funds, financing and investments, and interconnection charges, as well as hot topics including digital transactions, new applications, delivery platforms and revenue schemes, Internet Protocol (IP) addresses, and 4th generation regulations.

This year’s symposium consisted of nine plenary sessions and a session on the way forward. An online networking platform facilitated interaction between participants throughout the meeting.

The first two days of GSR-13 brought the private sector into the Global Regulators-Industry Dialogue (GRID), while the third day was for regulators alone. The event attracted 664 participants from 131 countries, including 121 chief executives, 4 ministers, and representatives of 11 international and regional organizations and 39 private-sector companies, as well as other stakeholders.

As in all previous GSRs, the national regulatory authorities present reached consensus on an output document: GSR-13 Best-Practice Guidelines on the evolving roles of regulation and regulators in a digital environment.


Opening Ceremony

Reading the message from President Komorowski, Mr Olgierd Dziekonski, Secretary of State for the Chancellery of the President of Poland expressed Poland’s pleasure in hosting GSR-13. The fact that Poland was chosen as the first country from the European Union to host GSR, he noted, is a sign of the significant changes that Poland has made during the past few years. ICTs now make up a significant share of the Polish gross domestic product (GDP) at 5 per cent — and this is expected to rise to 13 per cent in the near future. The Internet is a global resource that allows GDP growth, as well as being a symbol of solidarity among all classes of the population and a tool for freedom.

Speaking on behalf of the ITU Secretary-General, Mr Zhao thanked President Komorowski, Mr Michal Boni, Poland’s Minister of Administration and Digitization, and Ms Gaj for the perfect organization of the event. Mr Zhao then highlighted the extraordinary progress in the ICT sector, noting that there will soon be as many mobile cellular phones as there are people on the planet, and that by the end of 2013, some 2.7 billion people will be using the Internet. He added that the right policy and regulatory environment had been a key contributor to this success. The challenge now is to do for the Internet and broadband what has been achieved so successfully with mobile. He pointed to two things which he said needed urgent action. First, governments need to ensure that broadband stays at the top of the development agenda, so that roll-out is accelerated and the benefits are brought to as many people as possible. Second, Internet access – and especially broadband access – should be made much more affordable than it is today. This, he stressed, is where the GSR can play an important role, adding that “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.”

Ms Gaj delivered a welcome message thanking ITU for giving Poland the opportunity to organize such an important symposium in the historical city of Warsaw. She said that Poland had put in place a sound regulatory environment that allows innovation to develop broadband infrastructure and promote wider use of ICTs. Poland is committed to helping build a fully inclusive information society.Ms Gaj stressed that telecommunication services and, in particular, the Internet, should become commonly accessible and that it should be considered as a ubiquitous service, not a luxury. Telecommunication networks are the blood stream of the world’s economy. No one can imagine today’s work and daily life without a telephone, computer or Internet access. Man has become "homo smartphonus" and is more and more dependent on mobile devices. Ms Gaj pointed out that one-third of the world's population is connected to the Internet. It means that nearly 4 billion people live offline and still cannot enjoy the benefits offered by the Internet. If everyone had a chance to access the net, the benefits for the global economy would be incredible. She said that although people come from different continents, represent different cultures, have different backgrounds and value systems, they all have one thing in common – they all want to have permanent access to the Internet because they are confident that it guarantees development and a better life. It is a basic need for sustainable economic growth of the whole world. In Ms Gaj’s opinion, regulators have the duties and tools to promote broadband Internet access. But it cannot be done successfully without cooperating with operators. She is convinced that if we really think of NGN, which requires huge investments, the dialogue with operators is necessary. In her view, currently there is no room for strict regulation in the market. That is why a partnership relation among all parties of the ecosystem, the market and regulator is necessary and is a modern approach, most suitable in the 21st century.

All three speakers noted that this year’s GSR discussions would cover some topical issues related to 4th generation regulations, including conditions required for building the future digital society, spectrum policies for television white spaces, the role of standards and patents, how to attract investment and secure funding (including by maximizing the potential of universal service funds through successful administration and management), digital transactions in today’s smart society, the need for more IP addresses in a world of data, new digital apps and delivery platforms, and national broadband interconnection charging.



Photos and videos

 


Brahima Sanou, Director, ITU Telecommunication Development Bureau






 



 


Houlin Zhao, ITU Deputy Secretary-General


Magdalena Gaj, President, Office of Electronic Communications (UKE), Poland
 


Neelie Kroes, Vice-President, European Commission