The Minister of Communication & IT, Shri Kapil Sibal has said that International Telecom Union (ITU) should help each nation to develop country-specific plan for broadband networks in order to achieve Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) of United Nations in time. Sh. Sibal said this while speaking in Opening Plenary Session of ‘Broadband Leadership Summit-ITU Telecom World 2011’ at Geneva.
These plans need to be put up in public domain so that international investors can evaluate them for participation in execution of these projects in Public-Private Participation (PPP) mode. Mr Sibal also pointed out that ITU must coordinate with leading Financial Institutions, including World Bank, IMF, ADB etc to help developing nations / LDCs as development of nation-wide broadband networks requires significant financial investments for long gestation period. ITU needs to coordinate among member countries for development of affordable ecosystem of access network, applications and end user terminals to help greater penetration of broadband services.
Mr Sibal underlined that high cost of Consumer Access Devices has been great impediment in usage of broadband networks. ITU should therefore focus on R&D in producing cost effective customer end devices, he added. Citing the example of recently launched tablet Akash by Ministry of Human Resource Development in India which cost only US 35$, he said that it is an Android-based tablet computer designed and developed as a platform for audio-visual media including books, periodicals, movies, music, games, and web content. It has been drawing great attention of International Community ever since its launch. During event, several Heads of States underscored the need for such device to help bridge digital-divide in their countries. Mr Sibal also called for collaboration from other countries in order to bring its price from 35$ to 10$ to enhance its affordability.
Sh. Sibal pointed out that India with a population of 1.2 Billion people provides enormity of challenges and opportunities alike in rolling out the broadband services. If that is the case, it is not natural that the necessary equipment and infrastructure come from outside i.e. from west at the cost of domestic manufacturing. The sustainable development will come only from successful deployment of ITC ecosystem that takes care of manufacturing of infrastructure, content and end user device development ‘locally’.
Broadband services should enable spread of education and health services to the people to build capacity and enabling environment. Development of content and applications specific to countries, regions takes a central role in generating the demand and adapting broadband by masses.
Development of nationwide broadband networks require assisting the countries to develop country specific strategic plans and innovation in generating necessary investments, which plays a key role in rolling out the broadband networks.
This event commemorates the 40th Anniversary of the World’s most influential networking event ‘ITU Telecom World’ for Global ICT Community which was attended by various Heads of State and Government, Industry CEOs and Technology experts.