Ladies and gentlemen,
We have successfully brought most of the world’s people within reach of mobile telephony:
- 90% of the global population is now covered by a 2G signal;
- Over 6 billion mobile cellular subscriptions;
- Within two years there will be more mobile subscriptions than there are people on the planet.
The next big challenge is to bring all the world’s people online.
And in that regard, I am very pleased to see that there are four members of the Broadband Commission for Digital Development here on this roundtable today – Ali Abbasov, Neelie Kroes, Hans Vestberg and Sun Yafang.
I have the honour, along with Irina Bokova, Director-General of UNESCO, to act as one of the co-vice-chairs of the Broadband Commission, which works to advocate for increased broadband rollout and access, as a key tool in accelerating progress towards meeting the Millennium Development Goals.
Our chairs are President Paul Kagame of Rwanda, and Carlos Slim, Chairman of the Carlos Slim Foundation, and we are supported by a total of nearly 60 Broadband Commissioners, representing all stakeholders in the broadband arena.
And I am very pleased to see that our Commissioners are here today – because I think we all recognize that mobile technologies are going to be absolutely crucial in bringing the remaining two thirds of the world’s people online.
I am particularly pleased to see that we have a perfect cross-section of the Broadband Commission represented here, with Commissioners from the public and private sectors, as well as inter-governmental organizations.
Because the participation of all stakeholders is absolutely essential if we are going to bring the benefits of broadband to all the world’s people.
This was what WCIT-12, which took place in Dubai last month, was all about: connecting the unconnected.
This is at the heart of what ITU does, and is fully-consistent with the significant role we have played in enabling the Internet – through standards, spectrum, fibre optic networks, satellites and much more.
And that’s what WCIT-12 was really all about – creating the right environment for telecommunications infrastructure investment and rollout, so that everyone can have access to the Internet.