‘Smart’ Regulation to promote worldwide broadband roll out

The ITU Global Symposium for Regulators closed today with the adoption of Best Practice Guidelines aimed at advancing the deployment of broadband connectivity worldwide.

In an era in which broadband is increasingly considered the right of every citizen, “smart” regulation was advocated to encourage greater openness and use of incentive dynamics to mitigate the challenges and threats posed by a rapidly changing ICT landscape.

Addressing the Symposium in Armenia City, President of the Republic of Colombia Juan Manuel Santos said that the theme, ‘Smart Regulation for a Broadband World’ was very appropriate. “Smart regulation is precisely what we need,” President Santos affirmed while noting that ICTs contribute to the productive infrastructure of a nation. “Taking advantage of broadband as a source of productivity and growth, we can identify the most appropriate solutions to reduce our productivity gap as efficiently as possible.”

“Increased access to the Internet – and broadband in particular – will allow us to more effectively deliver services to meet the Millennium Development Goals, as e-applications such as e-health, e-education, and e-governance are able to reach even the remotest corners of the world,” ITU Secretary-General Hamadoun Touré explained to the Press in Armenia City. “But this will only change when broadband becomes more affordable – and the world’s regulators meeting here in Colombia can facilitate this by advocating a combination of increased capacity and competition.”

Mr Cristhian Lizcano Ortíz, Executive Director of the Communications Regulatory Commission of Colombia (CRC) steered the discussions as Chairman of the Global Symposium for Regulators.

ITU Secretary-General Hamadoun Touré and Minister of Information and Communication Technology of Colombia Diego Molano participated in discussions along with the Director of ITU’s Telecommunication Development Bureau Brahima Sanou and Director of the Radiocommunication Bureau François Rancy.

The Global Symposium for Regulators (GSR), held annually in different regions worldwide, aims at fostering constructive exchange of information among national regulatory authorities and is a unique forum to share regulatory best practices at the global level. Held for the first time in Latin America, the eleventh GSR focused on innovative regulatory measures to promote the roll out of broadband globally.

“We have seen over the years how regulatory reform plays an essential role in creating an environment where new technologies can flourish and be shared by all,” ITU Telecommunication Development Bureau Director Brahima Sanou said. “The development of robust and flexible regulatory frameworks can help developing countries leapfrog technologies and make the best use of new developments in ICTs”.

In Colombia, mobile subscriptions have increased rapidly, growing from 3.2 million in 2001 to 43.4 million in 2010, corresponding to some 8 per cent of the population in 2001 and 93.7 per cent in 2010. In the Americas, mobile cellular penetration reached 95 per cent of the population at the end of 2010, with more than half of the countries (60%) showing penetration levels above 100 per cent. In addition, 50 per cent of the population was using the Internet by the end of 2010.

Between 2008 and 2010, the international Internet bandwidth almost doubled in the Americas region. And mobile broadband subscriptions penetration increased from 10 per cent at the end of 2008 to 24 per cent at the end of 2010. The Internet also reached almost 45 per cent of households in the region at the end of 2010 in comparison with 39 per cent of the population with Internet at home in 2008.

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