"Broadband for Sustainable Development"
Dear colleagues and friends,
On behalf of Bosnia and Herzegovina, Communications Regualatory Agency of Bosnia and Herzegovina and my own behalf, it is my great honour and pleasure to address you today at this most prestigeous event!
At the beginning, allow me to reflect briefly to the latest initiative by the USA President Obama to bring high-speed Internet to almost all of the nation's schools by 2018 by his words (I quote): "We are living in a digital age, and to help our students get ahead, we must make sure they have access to cutting-edge technology"!
I commend the ITU for persuing the same goal persistently and devotedly, thus enabling ICT to have positive impact on innovation, productivity, trade, employment, foreign investment, economic growth has been widely proved, not only in the case of developed countries but also in developing countries and economies in transition.
Broadband infrastructure and application as a new paradigm has been recognized as a fundamental technology to realize all benefits that ICT may offer. Yet, there remains need to further raise awareness and understanding of the importance of broadband networks, services, and applications for generating economic growth, and for achieving social progress.
The global challenges we face today require strong action and broader vision. Ending poverty, improving areas of health, education, social inclusion, gender equality, improving people's lives within planetary resource limitations, supporting natural ecosystem, ensuring food security still remain priorities to be addressed.
To realize the full potential of broadband and ICT it is necessary to achieve integrated and comprehensive, multi-stakeholder approach, based on shared responsibility and partnership.
The challenges are huge, but so are the opportunities. Engagement on these issues by all sectors of society is crucial. Complex societal changes demand new mindsets and a new kind of problem solving, integrating economics, science, technology, finance and the public good.
While confronting the challenges of sustainable development, broadband targets need to be set.
The very first target would be to make broadband policy universal. Policy leadership provides a clear vision to identify opportunities, constraints and actions around the supply and demand of broadband.
However, nearly a quarter of all countries still do not have any plan, strategy or policy in place.
The affordability of broadband access plays a critical role in broadband diffusion and it can prove a key barrier to extending access to broadband in developing countries.
However, getting people online represents further challenge. Furthermore, achieving gender equality in access to broadband needs to be considered as important challenge.
At the end of 2013, some 2.7 billion people were online. By 2015, it has been predicted that despite the growth of mobile broadband, global Internet user penetration will reach 45% worldwide.
Policy-makers can help stimulate demand in many developing countries, with a clear plan of digitalization in public services (education, health, city services, etc.) that can enable citizens to become familiar with and use new technologies.
Given the speed with which the ICT sector is evolving, countries need to:
- Update their legislative and regulatory frameworks to provide businesses and users with legal certainty and allow for expanded electronic commerce, as well as the proper protection of personal data, copyright, rights in user-generated content, and other issues.
- Need to ensure pen access and infrastructure sharing, since it can impact future network growth.
- Regulators need to balance incentives for investment in ultra-fast networks, while supporting competition.
- National Broadband Plans need to promote measures to foster both the demand side, as well as supply.
- Countries should ensure that spectrum policies and practices are in line with universal acces goals, and assigned in a technology- and service-neutral manner. Spectrum resources for broadband networks need to be harmonized on the global and regional levels.
Affordable broadband connectivity, services and applications are essential to modern society. High-speed broadband access helps countries engage in the global economy, provides better access to healthcare and education and provide new opportunities for innovation. World needs broadband-friendly practices and policies for all, so everyone can take advantage of the benefits offered.
Thank you for your attention!