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Forum on Next Generation Network Standardization
 Colombo, Sri Lanka  07 April 2009 
Mr Chairman, Priyantha Kariyapperuma
Honourable Minister, Tissa Vitharana
Marcel Belingue, CTO
Ladies and gentlemen

Good morning and on behalf of ITU I am pleased to welcome you to this Forum on Next Generation Network Standardization.

I would also like to welcome those of you following this event on the live webcasting provided by Mobitel and with support from Cisco. The webcasting will also be archived on the ITU website, so let me also welcome future participants!

Firstly I would like to offer my thanks to our hosts the Telecommunications Regulatory Commission of Sri Lanka, and especially to you Mr. Chairman for your personal commitment to the holding of this event in the beautiful city of Colombo. I would also like to thank the Commonwealth Telecommunication Organisation for assisting us in bringing discussion on this important topic of NGN to the Asia Pacific region, an area of significant ICT growth.

This is an historic event. Not only is it the first ITU event in Sri Lanka, it is the first joint event between ITU and CTO. It is very appropriate that it is being held in Sri Lanka since Mr Priyantha Kariyapperuma is also Vice-Chairman of the CTO Council.

I am also pleased to bring with me a message of welcome from the ITU Secretary-General Dr. Hamadoun Toure, who had the pleasure to visit Sri Lanka last year, and where the agreement to host this event was initiated. ITU is proud to have the support of His Excellency the President of Sri Lanka, and the President’s interest in ICTs is evident from the tremendous growth in services and capabilities which is evident in this country. The fact that we have eleven industry sponsors of this event shows how vibrant the ICT sector is in Sri Lanka.

And I am sure you will have been as impressed as me at the high quality of the services here, especially the mobile broadband. Let me take this opportunity to thank Mobitel for its mobile broadband USB stick modem which provides an excellent high speed connection.

Mobility has been a key focus of the global studies on NGN in ITU.

Mobile technologies offer the most promising means of access to ICTs for people in developing countries.

More and more people are gaining access to ICTs and its benefits for health, education, government and business through mobile technologies and the mobile internet.

These days, mobiles need to have an increasingly sophisticated combination of services and applications if they are to sell.

The ability to quickly rollout and support these value-added services is therefore essential.

In NGN, service-related functions are independent of the underlying transport-related technologies. This means that service providers will be able to respond much more quickly to new service requirements.

NGN packet-switched technology is bringing seamless connectivity and high-speed services over any network, and any device, worldwide.

For developing countries, NGN has the potential to accelerate the deployment of telecommunication networks and services offering the opportunity to jump several generations of technology.

This is because the capital cost of deploying NGN technology, both in the core of the network, and the operating costs, are significantly lower than circuit switched technologies.

It also has the potential to be a much greener technology, with estimates of power savings of 40% over legacy networks. NGN is therefore a very significant contributor to ITU’s efforts to promote the use of ICTs to reduce global greenhouse gas emissions.

So NGN will enable a range of multimedia services to be provided easier with less cost, and so increase potential revenues, as well as offering consumers greater choice at reduced rates.

One of the most highly visible services to emerge as part of the work on NGN is IPTV.

Indeed IPTV can be seen as both the business case and principal driver for accelerating deployment of NGN.

Many standards on IPTV are currently under development in ITU and we will examine this work in more detail during this Forum.

Ladies and gentlemen

The ubiquitous network that will seamlessly connect anyone, anytime, anywhere, by anything, requires global standards, and a global standards body like ITU clearly has an increasing role to play. But, ITU must also meet the unique requirements of each local market, and to do this it is essential to involve all stakeholders. Participation of the full ITU membership of 191 governments and over 700 private sector entities in the standards making process is essential if ITU is to fulfill its mission to connect the world.

NGN must ensure end-to-end security, and deliver value to all stakeholders: consumers, enterprises, service providers, government and civil society must all benefit. Global standards developed in ITU will make this possible.

Without these standards, global NGN development and deployment would be slow and inefficient.

Conformity to these standards will foster an environment where service providers can pick and choose equipment from a variety of vendors, and will greatly increase the probability of interoperability. This will increase competition and bring down costs.

Conformity and interoperability is something we will be placing much greater emphasis on in ITU’s standards work in the future. This was one of the outcomes of last year’s World Telecommunication Standardisation Assembly in Johannesburg, where great concern was expressed about difficulties being experienced with non-conforming equipment.

ITU was formed in 1865 with the aim to ensure the interoperability of the innovative international telegraph service. Our aim remain the same to this day, even though it is now much more challenging with the increasing complexity of today’s telecommunications and ICT equipment and services.

Events like this are an important opportunity to assist in advancing the knowledge and understanding of these global trends. It also gives us an opportunity to tell you something about ITU and especially our work on NGN standardization.

But equally they are an opportunity for us to meet with you the stakeholders, and understand – better – your needs, and to encourage your involvement in our work.

It also gives you an opportunity to share your experiences and interact with your peers from many other countries in the region and beyond.

We have excellent speakers, leading experts in this field, and I would like to thank them for being with us today. I am sure you will find their presentations both very interesting and very enlightening, and I encourage you to participate in an open dialogue with them.

But finally I wish you all an enjoyable week. I am sure you will experience the famous Sri Lankan hospitality. It will be a busy few days, but I hope you will find time to visit some of the delights of this beautiful country.

Once again let me thank on behalf of all of us the Telecommunications Regulatory Commission of Sri Lanka for providing us such excellent facilities; and all the sponsors for their support.

Thank you for your attention.


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