Policy makers urge governments, operators to foster new digital opportunities

International delegates to ITU’s 12th Global Symposium for Regulators recognised the enormous potential of cloud computing for promoting wider, lower-cost access to information and communication technology (ICT), while stressing the importance of close collaboration between governments, industry and consumer groups in promoting data security and privacy and greater confidence in cloud services.

The annual regulatory meeting, which welcomed a total of 446 participants from almost 100 countries, sought to forge a common vision around strategies to promote digital opportunities through new broadband-based platforms, while getting to grips with the often complex regulatory implications of cloud-based service provision.

At the close of the final session, delegates endorsed a set of regulatory Best Practice Guidelines designed to provide a framework for innovation, investment and competition in cloud infrastructure and services while at the same time ensuring protection of consumer interests.

They also emphasized the benefits of innovative infrastructure sharing models based on public-private partnership in driving broadband roll-out in emerging markets and developing countries. Ubiquitous broadband was recognized as the essential platform for the growth of cloud services which, by combining low costs and global scalability, can generate substantial economic returns and improved efficiency for government, businesses and individuals.

Speaking to GRID delegates on Wednesday, the Director of ITU’s Telecommunication Development Bureau (BDT), Brahima Sanou, said the key to the success of this new component lay in its unique ability to promote open dialogue and facilitate contact between top decision makers working in a very specialised field on both sides of the market – government and industry.

“This key event for the international regulatory community continues to evolve in a very positive direction,” said ITU Secretary-General Dr Hamadoun I. Touré. “I believe it has been our most successful GSR ever on a number of important levels, from the quality of our expert panellists and moderators to the content-rich programme which ITU develops collaboratively with regulatory professionals to reflect that group’s specific needs and concerns.”

The final set of GSR Best Practice Guidelines focus largely around the challenges and opportunities of cloud-based models, and include recommendations relating to cloud convergence; consumer ‘cloud literacy’ to ensure personal data protection; transparency in cloud service obligations between service providers; the development and adoption of international technical and organizational standards for cloud interfaces and service delivery; data portability in the cloud; and international cooperation between regulators.

The Guidelines also cover other key regulatory areas like digital capacity building, net neutrality, regulatory enforcement mechanisms, and measures to promote broadband roll-out including shared infrastructure strategies, coordination of civil works across different sectors, and policies to speed rights-of-way access.

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