Anand Parthasarathy reports from Hyderabad
High speed Internet access is the fastest way to eliminate disparities – but unless deployed with sensitivity, broadband could become the new ‘divide’, warns Hamadoun Toure, Secretary General of the International Telecommunication Union (ITU). He is in India – along with some 1300 representatives from 140 countries – to focus on development priorities in telecommunications and information and communication technologies (ICT) .
The World Telecommunication Development Conference convened every four years by the International Telecommunication Union (ITU), has come to India. : The 10 day conference got underway in Hyderabad on Monday.
This follows the conclusion of the World Summit on the Information Society in Tunis, 2005, and marks a key mid-term period to review the implementation of its objectives. The Hyderabad Action Plan, which will set the agenda for telecommunication and ICT development over the next four years, will be a key input to the overall review of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) at the United Nations in New York next September.
P. J. Thomas, Secretary, Department of Telecommunications of the Government of India, was elected Chairman of the Conference.
Indian Minister for Communications and Information Technology of the Government of India, A. Raja welcoming delegates from around the world to Hyderabad said: “ICTs can facilitate faster development of various social and economic sectors in any country. They lead to equal opportunities for all mankind, especially perceptible improvement for the most vulnerable parts of society in rural and remote areas, contributing to the inclusive growth of society.”
“What we decide and define here over the next two weeks will shape not just the future of ICT development over the next four years, but the future shape of the very world we live in,” said Hamadoun Touré, “It will change the way that social and economic development happens, and the way ICT development happens.”
The Director of ITU’s Telecommunication Development Bureau, Sami Al Basheer said, “India is a remarkable place for ITU to hold the World Telecommunication Development Conference, not least because it is one of the world’s great ICT success stories but also because India has shown, in very concrete and dramatic terms, the power of ICTs to stimulate social and economic development. …The global community needs to embrace and invest in a broadband-enabled future to support the next great wave of innovation, opportunity and development.”
Speaking to the media, Mr Toure said the time had come to aim for a global Cyber Treaty, where every government reaches out to its people through e-communication; every citizen vows not to entertain terrorism and every nation agrees to an international framework for cyber cooperation. “It may take 10 years, but we have to start now – if we have to avoid a Cyber Tsunami”, he said.
May 25 2010