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UN: ITU urges high-speed broadband networks for sustainable development

The UN International Telecommunications Union on Saturday marked
World Telecommunication and Information Society Day with calls on the global community to
roll out high-speed broadband networks and make digital communication affordable as well
as universally accessible.

In a message, ITU Secretary-General, Mr. Hamadoun Toure, stated: “Broadband connectivity
is a critical element today in ensuring that information and communication technologies are
used as effective delivery vehicles for health, education, governance, trade and commerce
in order to achieve sustainable socio-economic growth”.

Noting that the theme of this year’s Day is “Broadband for Sustainable Development”, he said
that ITU’s efforts in line with that agenda focus on the dual goals of supporting the deployment
of mobile broadband and the continued roll out of fixed-line technologies along with a thrust
on meeting the global challenges of our times, such as combating climate change.

“I call upon our partners, governments, industry, academia and technical experts to identify
key gaps in broadband research and development, as well as infrastructure,” Mr. Toure said.

He also urged stakeholders to define policy priorities for action in the areas of allocating
radio frequency spectrum for broadband, and to seek leading edge technological solutions,
particularly in the extension of broadband access into rural areas, least developed countries
and small island developing States.

In his message, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said broadband connectivity is a
transformative tool to achieve the three pillars of sustainable development – economic
growth, social inclusion and environmental balance.

Ban said: “It is a key element of the debate on the post-2015 development agenda”,
stressing that broadband networks provide smart eco-friendly solutions to manage booming
cities and transport systems, conduct long-distance diagnosis and treatment for patients
in remote locations and promote innovative educational applications for students around
the world.

He noted that the ITU was approaching its 150th anniversary next year, urging stakeholders
to work together to bridge the digital divide and harness the power of technology to create
a better and more sustainable future for all.

On his part, UN General Assembly President, Mr. John Ashe, said that modern communication
tools make it possible to connect the remotest communities and endow people with
information and knowledge so they can realize their social, cultural and economic aspirations.

“As we look to advance the post-2015 development agenda through North-South, South-South cooperation, let us use ICT to advance our development goals, and to set the stage for a more technologically inclusive world.

“I encourage us to seek every solution that information and communication technologies
offer to create a better future for all,” Mr. Ashe said.

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