Focus on broadband at Rio+20, says ITU
As the Rio+20 summit gets underway this week, ITU’s Broadband Commission has called on world leaders to focus on broadband as a catalyst for development.
Rio+20, the UN Conference on Sustainable Development, will start on 20 June, with tens of thousands of delegates participating in discussions on world progress. Poverty reduction, innovation and climate change will feature high on the agenda.
However, the ITU’s Broadband Commission, in an open leader to the G20 leaders, has urged them to also do all they can to promote the development of the broadband networks, applications and services that will serve as the catalyst for future socio-economic growth.
“In the Information Society of the 21st century, countries must make the necessary investments to enable their citizens to participate in and benefit from the digital economy and global innovation – or risk exclusion,” the letter warns.
Equating the importance of broadband to essential utilities like water, roads, rail and electricity, the letter states that governments have a key role to play in stimulating broadband deployment by putting in place pro-competitive and pro-investment policies, lowering barriers to entry and making direct investment, where appropriate. It also stresses the fundamental role of the private sector in driving the roll-out of networks and services, and fuelling ongoing innovation.
“This meeting of the G20 is an excellent opportunity to raise awareness of the need to promote ‘broadband inclusion for all’ and move it to the top of the international policy agenda,” said ITU Secretary-General Dr Hamadoun I. Touré. “We must act now to ensure that future generations from all countries, and across all social strata, can take full advantage of the unprecedented power of broadband to extend access to knowledge, to culture, and to vital social services like healthcare, education and e-government.”