Sunday, September 25, 2022

ITU marks 50th anniversary of World Telecommunication day on May 17


Zubair Yaqoob
The author has diversified experience in investigative journalism. He is Chief content editor at

On May 17, ITU celebrates the 50th anniversary of the World Telecommunication and Information Society Day, celebrated annually since 1969, which marks the anniversary of the founding of the ITU on 17 May 1865, when the first international tele-agreement was signed that enabled the creation of the International Telecommunication Union in Paris .

The aim of World Telecommunication and Information Society Day is to raise awareness of the potential of the Internet and other information technology tools in building bridges between societies and economies.

This year’s 2019 celebration will be held under the theme “Bridging the Standardization Gap”, which aims at bridging the communication gap and the use of the Internet between developing and developed countries, paying attention to the digital divide and disparities in the development of ICTs. To ensure that they enjoy the economic benefits of related technological development and better reflect the requirements and interests of developing countries in the standard-setting process.

“On May 17, we will celebrate the 50th World Telecommunication and Information Society Day, and this year we will focus on bridging the measurement gap,” said ITU Secretary-General Houlin Gau. “Setting standards is one of the main pillars of ITU’s mission as United Nations agency specialized in information and communications technology.

“Do you want to connect to the Internet and enjoy watching a sports event on TV, listening to the radio in your car or watching a video recording on your smartphone? Union standards let you do that.

The next generation 5G technology, especially when coupled with artificial intelligence, will support a new range of applications that will soon be recognized: from self-driving cars to safer smart cities, and the ITU standards include interoperability It opens up global markets and encourages innovation and growth, which is good for both developed and developing countries, helping to accelerate the exploitation of ICTs in achieving all sustainable development goals.

He called on ITU Member States, members of the telecommunications industry, small and large enterprises and academia to work closely with other United Nations agencies, partners and all stakeholders to support the Union’s “bridging the standardization” program and the prosperity and well-being of all.

The standardization gap is defined as the existing disparities in the capacity of developing countries as compared to developed countries in terms of access to and implementation of international ICT standards, ITU recommendations in particular, implementation, contribution and impact.

A report by the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) on Measuring Information for 2018 revealed that access to and use of ICTs continues to increase, but better ICT skills are needed to connect people everywhere.

Many people had access to and use of the Internet, but better ICT skills were needed to connect people everywhere. At the same time, global ICT prices had declined in the last decade , And improved regulation and ICT policy-making have been instrumental in creating the conditions for such a reduction in prices, ensuring that part of the efficiency gains come from increased adoption of ICTs to consumers.

The report pointed out that there is a continuation of the overall upward trend in access to and use of ICT. More importantly, the world has surpassed the mid-line for Internet use, with 51.2% of the world’s population becoming Internet users by the end of 2018.

In the area of ​​ICT skills for the future, the lack of ICT skills or inadequacy is a major obstacle for individuals to access the Internet.

ITU data and other comparable country data sources show that there are generally large gaps in skills and one-third lack basic digital skills, such as copying files or folders or using copy and paste tools; Or the use of basic equations in the tables of data only 41%; the proportion of users of a language specialized in writing software only 4%. It appears that computer users in developed countries have greater ICT skills than their counterparts in developing countries. Lack of ICT skills or inadequacy can severely constrain socio-economic development in developing and least developed countries (LDCs).

According to the report, unequal use of ICT reflects other parallels, such as education, wealth and gender equality between different regions of the world.

On ICT revenue and investment trends, the report shows that global retail telecom revenues reached US $ 1.7 trillion in 2016, representing 2.3% of global GDP.

At the regional level, telecommunications revenues in 2016 in Africa and Arab countries represented an average of 3% of GDP, compared to 2% in Asia and the Pacific, the Americas (excluding the US and Canada), and less than 2% in the Commonwealth of Independent States and Europe. Fixed-line revenues accounted for half of the 2016 telecommunications revenues worldwide. Worldwide mobile revenues have declined by 7% between 2014 and 2016 from US $ 924 billion in 2014 to US $ 859 billion in 2016.

The report shows that growth in mobile telecom revenues has been affected by the proliferation of freely available services on the Internet, which operate on existing communications infrastructure and that the success of IP-based messaging applications often damages the traditional use of texts and associated revenues. It was also noted that the ICT sector was characterized by massive investment in infrastructure, together with an increase in capital expenditure for telecommunications driven largely by demand for and use of data services in developing economies.

The report also highlights that ICT prices have declined globally in the last decade in parallel with increased access to and use of ICT services.

Fixed broadband services recorded the largest price decline among all ICT services. Mobile cellular prices continued to decline in 2008-107, together with the continued increase in the penetration rate of this type of telecommunications. Improved regulation and ICT policy-making have been central to creating the conditions for price declines observed in 2008-2017, ensuring that efficiency gains from increased ICT adoption have been partially withdrawn by customers.

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