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World Telecom Day celebrated in India and worldwide

Connect 2030: ICTs for the Sustainable Development Goals
World Telecommunication Day has been celebrated annually on May 17, since 1969, marking the founding of ITU and the signing of the first International Telegraph Convention in 1865. It was instituted by the Plenipotentiary Conference in Malaga-Torremolinos in 1973. In November 2006, the ITU Plenipotentiary Conference in Antalya, Turkey, decided to celebrate both events on May 17 as World Telecommunication and Information Society Day.

The theme “Connect 2030: ICTs for the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)”, will allow ITU membership to reflect on the ICT advances for transition to smart and sustainable development. It will focus on specific ICT-enabled solutions and emerging trends for fostering economic, environmental and social sustainability, contributing to the five strategic goals of the Connect 2030 Agenda:

“Every year on May 17, people around the world join the ITU family to celebrate World Telecommunication and Information Society Day. This year, I call on all of you to join me in advancing ITU’s Connect 2030 Agenda, a shared global vision to bridge the digital divide and use the power of information and communication technology in support of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.

I invite you to show the world what new technologies like 5G and Intelligent Transport, the Internet of Things, AI and blockchain can do to improve people’s lives and facilitate social and economic development.

These technologies and new innovations hold great potential for human progress; they are a powerful tool to achieve each and every one of the Sustainable Development Goals. Almost half the world’s population is still not using the Internet, and overall growth in ICT connectivity is slowing. Time is pressing.

We need to coordinate and redouble our efforts to connect everyone to the global digital economy, and that for those connected, more must be done to ensure that connected life is safe and trustworthy.

On World Telecommunication and Information Society Day and for this new decade, let’s harness information and communication technology to accelerate social, economic and environmentally sustainable growth and inclusive development for everyone, everywhere.”
Houlin Zha, Secretary-General, ITU

​“Information technology can be a beacon of hope, allowing billions of people around the world to connect. During the COVID-19 pandemic, these connections – with loved ones, with schools and colleges, with workplaces, with healthcare professionals and essential supplies– are more important than ever.

The International Telecommunication Union continues to work with the information and communication technology community and UN agencies to help manage and end this crisis, and recover better. New technologies, from 5G and big data to cloud computing and artificial intelligence, are powerful tools to tackle the world’s most pressing challenges, including the pandemic. Leaving no one behind means leaving no one offline.

World Telecommunication and Information Society Day reminds us that international cooperation on digital technology is essential to help defeat COVID-19 and achieve the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.”
António Guterres, Secretary-General, United Nations

“In 50 days, the pandemic has brought realisation to the absolute importance of telecom connectivity. Let me lay down the roadmap ahead. As part of the National Broadband Mission we plan to build a robust digital communications infrastructure and connect every village in India with high quality broadband by 2022. Also, incremental fiberisation of existing towers from 30 percent to 70 percent, and fibre to the home, are going to be high priority. The policy will also insist on a higher quality of service in terms of mobile and internet telephony. Once the situation returns to normalcy, we expect huge demand and huger expectations.

India is also planning for 5G rollout in a big way, a lot of testing is being done. The last 50 days have put progress in a fast forward mode. We plan to develop a Broadband Readiness Index for Indian States and UTs to attract investments. We also plan to create a digital fibre map of the communications network and infrastructure and put it in public domain”.
Hari Ranjan Rao, Joint Secretary,  DoT at a webinar, The Digital Dialogues, organised by Broadband India Forum & Bharat Exhibitions held on the occasion of WTISD.

“India is a leading force in today’s  global digital economy and a key member state of ITU. India will be hosting the next ITU World Telecommunication Standardization Assembly and the new ITU Area Office and Technology Innovation Centre for South Asia and C-DoT  in New Delhi. India is uniquely placed to deliver on its  commitments to inclusive and sustainable development. PM Modi’s speech last Tuesday reiterated the technology driven systems that will fulfil the dreams of the 21st century, as one of the five pillars of India self-reliance strategy.

Let’s hope some good will come of this terrible COVID-19 pandemic. Never before has so much reliance, appreciation and emphasis been placed on the power of ICTs. As a result, I believe it will be sooner, rather than later, that everyone, everywhere will benefit from the technology and from the new normal way of life, a way of life much more sustainable than the old. The planet and all of us will benefit from the reduction in the emission and pollution and a better work life balance as a result of this new way of working, thanks to our technology. So despite the difficulties and the challenges we face, I believe something good will come of this, eventually. And let’s look forward to when we can all meet again.” 
Malcolm Johnson, Deputy Secretary-General, ITU at a webinar, The Digital Dialogues, organised by Broadband India Forum & Bharat Exhibitions held on the occasion of WTISD. 

The ICT sector can play a vital role in the magnitude of calamity we are facing due to the pandemic and now impacts every sector of society. The ITU has aptly given this year’s theme as ‘Connect 2030: ICTs for Sustainable Development Goals’ to show the way forward for the next 10 years to reflect on ICT advances for transition to smart and sustainable development with 5 strategic goals such as growth, inclusiveness, sustainability, innovation and partnership. These strategic goals are defining the path to achieve each of the sustainable development goals. The global connectivity provided by the information and communications technologies has great potential to accelerate human progress and bridge the digital divide. The interconnected world with the aid of technology can help in overcoming the present challenges where one cannot travel and transact business in a conventional way. It is in this context that each stakeholder who is present here today may resolve to take needed steps  to steer our worlds in the right direction. In this endeavour the ICT sector has a much bigger role now. Currently the telecom world is preparing itself to experiment and to experience new technologies such as 5G, intelligent transport, Internet of things, Artificial Intelligence and Blockchain. These technologies can transform the way people live and think and will facilitate social and economic development all across. These new technologies will indeed further help in achieving the sustainable development goals. The steps taken by Government of India in promoting the ICT have reflected in the number of policies announced recently. These policy parameters will enable our country realizing these SDGs. This year’s theme announced by ITU is very much in sync with India’s NDCP policy. This has specific strategic objectives to be achieved by the year 2022. These objectives of NDCP will promote the usage of ICT which will eventually result in achieving Sustainable Development Goals.

On behalf of TRAI, I assure that TRAI will continue to work toward having a transparent and effective ability environment in the country. During this era of digital transformation, all the regulatory issues would be viewed from a new perspective keeping in view consumer interest, new technology innovations, issues of privacy and security with co-operation of all stakeholders particularly the service providers. Our country will march forward meeting the targets specified by ITU under Connect 2030.

More specifically, we are focused on increasing the quality and quantity of connectivity particularly the fixed line broadband. Broadband through cable television and interoperable Wi-Fi grid for the country are two such recommendations which we believe will contribute toward creating ubiquitous connectivity which is reliable, affordable and inclusive. And we will continue to work towards that. ” 
RS Sharma, Chairman, TRAI at a webinar, The Digital Dialogues, organised by Broadband India Forum & Bharat Exhibitions held on the occasion of WTISD.

Communications Today Bureau

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