Honorable Ministers, Distinguished Delegates, Ladies and Gentlemen
Before all, I would like to thank ITU-D for giving us the opportunity to express our views. At Alcatel-Lucent we value our rich relationship and collaboration with ITU. ITU sets an example to other institutional organizations in its ability to build trusting and fruitful partnerships with the private sector.
The past few years has witnessed an increase in awareness about broadband and its impact on development and economic growth. While great progress has been achieved in increased connectivity in developing nations, there is still urgency to address coverage as well as affordability. For millions of people broadband is still unaffordable in many countries, costing sometimes more than their monthly income, and in Africa there are still only 16% of people using internet compared to 77% in the developed world.
The combination of the rapid increase of connected devices, video and cloud has led to an explosion of data traffic, driving the need for a huge increase of investments in efficient and large bandwidth networks. Alcatel-Lucent estimates that mobile data traffic will increase 25 times between 2011 and 2016. Developing countries will follow a similar pattern, as a wave of growth in digital and media content is expected as Smartphone ownership explodes and users become more sophisticated in their use of mobile applications (some forecasts estimate a 30% Smartphone penetration in Africa by 2017).
New investments sources and models need to be found to respond to this exploding bandwidth demand and the continued need for deployments in undeserved geographic zones. As well, the industry needs to ensure a balanced return for all involved stakeholders as well as creating favorable environments for competition.
We would recommend ITU-D play a key role in the next years in continuing to help shape how the Industry develops and in addressing these challenges by outlining policies and guidelines for:
Promoting innovative investment and financing models between the private and the public sector in particular for broadband coverage and affordability in developing countries.
Encouraging countries to develop well-thought out national broadband plans, including e- and mGovernment strategies.
Accelerating the adoption of more spectrum for mobile broadband and ensuring countries achieve their digital switchover deadlines in a harmonized way
Developing policies to push for new technology adoptions such as 4G, IP, next generation networks, and Cloud platforms.
Advocate that Broadband and ICTs have a fundamental role to play in the UN Sustainable development Goals currently being shaped to set the development agenda between 2015 and 2030. Broadband indicators should be inserted into the SDGs.
We also believe ITU-D could have a great role to play by growing its engagements on theDemand side
of Broadband, in cooperation with other entities. More efforts need to focus on unleashing the smart use of broadband to help people use services in ways that will significantly improve their lives.
ITU-D could have a positive impact in continuing its work to encourage e-government strategies, and the development of policies and technology choices such as cloud enablement platforms.
The recent signature of an agreement between ITU and WHO to collaborate on mHealth for Non-Communicable Diseases (Be He@lthy Be Mobile) is a significant step and a model we feel may need to be replicated with other international organizations (such as for mLearning with UNESCO for example). It sets an example as to the cross-sector engagement necessary for eHealth and mHealth to scale and accelerate.
The recently launched mPowering initiative is a further step in the right direction. ITU-D should work in coordination with existing bodies promoting mServices for empowerment and complement existing actions. ITU-D can play a significant role in reaching to telecom ministries to encourage cross-sector collaboration with other ministries and sectors.Climate Change
- ITU-D could help raise awareness on Broadband’s impact on climate change. Recent reports such as provided by GeSI shows ICTs could reduce 16.5% of the total volume of greenhouse gas emissions. Awareness on this significant figure is very low and yet Climate change is a key priority and challenge faced by our world. A pre-condition for such environmental benefits is the greater deployment of broadband communications technologies, which are the essential catalyst for these ICT enabling solutions.