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WCIT-12 Opening Press Conference: Stephen Conroy

Stephen Conroy, Minister for Broadband, Communications and Digital Economy, Australia

Opening Press Conference of World Conference on International Telecommunications (WCIT-12)

Dubai, United Arab Emirates, 3 December 2012

Distinguished guests,
Ladies and gentlemen,

I would like to start by thanking the United Arab Emirates for hosting the World Conference on International Telecommunications here in Dubai.

I am pleased to see delegates from so many other nations gathered here to try and shape global telecommunications for the benefit of all.

The last time that the ITU met to amend the International Telecommunication Regulations was at the World Administrative Telegraph and Telephone Conference in 1988.

That conference was held in my home town of Melbourne.

The men and women who sat down in 1988 were already familiar with the rapid rate of change enveloping their industry.

But I do wonder if they really foresaw the growth and change which the telecommunications industry has experienced in the last 24 years.

It is a credit to their hard work and expertise that they developed the regulations which have served us well for two decades.

As we prepare to refresh and renew the regulations developed in Melbourne, it’s worthwhile to reflect on what made them so successful.

The ITRs have, first and foremost, been about interconnection and interoperability.

Secondly, the regulations developed in Melbourne were flexible.

Allowed them to cope with the massive technological and social change that we are familiar with.

Thirdly, the regulations weren’t overly prescriptive.

This helped create the right environment for global interconnection and interoperability of telecommunication networks.

Finally, they were largely technology neutral.

This assisted the massive rise in mobile telephony around the world.

They also enabled the rise of the Internet, without needing to contain any provisions that refer to the Internet.

I believe that we should apply these same principles in our work here, if we hope to achieve the same outcome.

Dr Touré has often said that it is the role of the ITU to connect the world.

And the ITU has played an important role in delivering a more interconnected world.

This is being continued through the UN Broadband Commission.

This was an initiative of Dr Touré and he should be immensely proud of it.

We must ensure that telecommunications networks are able to grow, to work together and to deliver the services that everyone will need in the 21st century.

There is a huge amount of interest from the media, the public and the telecommunications industry in the work that we do here.

I congratulate Dr Touré for improving the openness and transparency at WCIT, and I look forward to a successful conference.

Thank you.