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  • WSIS Forum 2011 unites governments with grassroots to re-energize the development agenda

    World leaders are gathering in Geneva this week to work on strategies to more effectively harness the power and reach of information and communication technologies (ICTs) to accelerate progress towards the Millennium Development Goals in crucial areas like health and education.

    Co-organized by ITU, UNESCO, UNCTAD and UNDP, the World Summit on the Information Society (16-20 May) is the world’s largest annual gathering of the world’s ‘ICT for development’ community, including UN agencies, governments, civil society and ICT industry representatives.

    Guest speakers at this morning’s opening ceremony included Ministers and deputies from 17 countries, including Afghanistan, Azerbaijan, Bangladesh, Burundi, El Salvador, Finland, Gambia, Ghana, India, Mexico, Montenegro, Oman, Philippines, Poland, the Russian Federation, Serbia, and the United Arab Emirates.

    Delegates also heard interventions from ITU Secretary-General, Dr Hamadoun Touré; Supachai Panitchpakdi, Secretary-General of UNCTAD; Juan Somavia, Director-General of the ILO; Janis Karklins, Deputy-Director of UNESCO; Mohamed Nasser Al Ghanim, Director-General, Telecommunications Regulatory Authority of the United Arab Emirates; John Davis, Vice-President, Intel Corporation and General Manager of Intel’s World Ahead Program, and Cyril Ritchie, President of the Conference on NGOs in Consultative Relationship with the UN (CoNGO).

    This year’s WSIS Forum also welcomes more than 70 Members of Parliament and many other senior government figures. Over 1,000 representatives from around 140 countries are expected to attend the week-long event.

    In his opening address, Dr Touré stressed the importance of broadband to national economic and social development. “I think we are all very much aware of how close we are to the 2015 deadline for meeting the WSIS targets and the Millennium Development Goals. We have made quite extraordinary progress in terms of connectivity, the creation of an enabling environment, and cybersecurity. The next major step must be to repeat the ‘mobile miracle’ for broadband Internet,” he said.

    The Forum will also serve as the venue for the UN Group on the Information Society’s first meeting of the open consultation process on the overall review of the implementation of the WSIS outcomes. Stakeholders will jointly brainstorm on the action plan for the Review Process (WSIS+10), to be held 10 years after the conclusion of the Summit, as recommended in the Tunis Agenda.

    In addition to reviewing progress towards the WSIS targets set for 2015, this year’s WSIS Forum will foster interactive debate and information exchange on a wide range of key topics such as rural development, multilingualism, environmental sustainability, education, healthcare and innovation.

    The opening ceremony was followed by a High Level session, Working Together Towards 2015. Ongoing High-level Dialogues throughout the course of the week include:
    • Right to Communication
    • Innovation for Digital Inclusion
    • ICTs to Enable Least Developed Countries
    • Building Confidence and Security in Cyberspace
    Alongside an exhibition component, the Forum offers participants a diverse range of meetings and activities, including Interactive WSIS Action Line Facilitators Meetings, Interactive Sessions, Country and Thematic Workshops and Knowledge Exchanges. Afternoon sessions each day will also feature the release of a number of new publications and briefings from participating organizations. The Forum programme also includes the Parliamentary Forum as well as meetings of the Internet Governance Forum.

    The WSIS agenda is the result of a comprehensive open consultation process involving all stakeholders. Spanning three phases, this year’s process welcomed 150 contributions from 50 countries.

    Remote participation is an integral component of the WSIS Forum 2011. Each session can be viewed remotely at: http://groups.itu.int/wsis-forum2011/Home.aspx.

    This year’s WSIS Forum 2011 programme has been greatly enhanced thanks to the strategic partnership and contribution of the United Arab Emirates. The Forum has also benefited from contributions of Oman for the series of workshops, and Mexico for Spanish interpretation.

    Videos, photos, live and archived webcasts, and transcripts of speeches can be found at the event Newsroom at www.itu.int/net/pressoffice/wsis/index.aspx , or on the main event website at http://groups.itu.int/wsis-forum2011/Home.aspx. Follow the event on Twitter at #WSIS.

    For more information, please contact:

    Sarah Parkes
    Chief, Media Relations & Public Information
    ITU
    Tel: +41 22 730 6135
    Mobile: +41 79 599 1439
    E-mail: sarah.parkes@itu.int

    Jaroslaw K. Ponder
    Strategy & Policy Advisor,
    ITU,
    Tel: +41 22 730 6065
    E-mail: jaroslaw.ponder@itu.int

    To view other NGO press releases, refer to www.ngopulse.org/group/home-page/pressreleases.

    Date published: 
    16/05/2011
    Organisation: 
    International Telecommunication Union
  • Mobile Growth Key Driver in Africa – Jotischky

    The Informa Telecoms & Media says that connecting rural areas and proving information communication technology (ICT) access is set to be the future of the industry.

    Informa Telecoms & Media, Nick Jotischky, who is of the view that globally mobile subscribers will continue to fall, points out that, "In Africa the trend is going to be much the same in the sense that subscriber growth will falter but I think expansion into rural areas can and will boost growth and even cause acceleration."

    Speaking at the Africa Com 2010 conference, a two-day gathering of the telecom industry focused on Africa, Jotischky stated that under-served rural areas present growth opportunity for operators.

    To read the article titled, “Mobile growth a 'key driver' in Africa,” click here.
    Source: 
    News24
  • ICASA Urged to Support Mobile Broadband Services

    Industry lobby group Global System for Mobile Communications Association (GSMA) has called on the Independent Communications Authority of South Africa (ICASA) to support mobile broadband services in South Africa by making key decisions on mobile spectrum allocation and taxation policy.

    According to a report by analyst firm Analysys Mason, which was commissioned by the GSMA, spectrum allocation and the levying of additional taxes on mobile services are the major barriers to wider mobile broadband deployment and the launch of Long-Term Evolution, the next generation broadband technology in the country.

    The report forecasts that mobile broadband and related industries will generate 1.8 percent of South Africa's gross domestic product and as many as 28 000 jobs by 2015. However, the report says this can only be possible if roadblocks to mobile broadband deployment are removed.

    To read the article titled, “Broadband: Urgent intervention needed,” click here.
    Source: 
    Finance24
  • EASSy Cable Open for Business

    The days of limited and expensive international bandwidth in South Africa are over as the EASSy cable became the second submarine cable to launch on the East coast of Africa.

    MTN's Trevor Martin's, who also serves as the EASSy consortium's chairperson, has announced that the cable has come in ahead of schedule and almost 10 percent under its US$300 million budget.

    The 10 000 kilometre cable lands in South Africa, Mozambique, Madagascar, the Comores, Tanzania, Kenya, Somaliland, Djibouti and Sudan and connects with multiple Asian and European cables in Djibouti and Sudan.

    To read the article titled, “EASSy cable open for business,” click here.
    Source: 
    Mail&Guardian
  • Botswana Thetha ICT Discussion Forum

    The Botswana Thetha ICT Discussion Forum will be held on 10 March 2010 at the Gaborone Sun in Gaborone, Botswana.

    The event forms part of a series of regional events that SANGONeT is hosting in Zimbabwe, Mozambique, Tanzania, Zambia and Botswana. Organised and implemented in conjunction with the Department of Library & Information Studies at the University of Botswana, the Botswana event will bring together various ICT stakeholders, including representatives from government, ICT industry, NGOs and the donor community, to discuss key “ICT for Development (ICT4D)” challenges and opportunities relevant to the future development of Botswana.

    Discussions at the event will be informed by a research report, "Towards an Information Society in Botswana", which was compiled by researchers as the Department of Library & Information Studies at the University of Botswana.

    To read the report, refer to http://www.ngopulse.org/sites/ngopulse.org/files/botswana_thetha_final_4....

    To participate in the event, please contact Prof Stephen Mutula at the Department of Library & Information Studies, University of Botswana on Tel: +267 355 2627 or Mobile: +267 71 42 4991.
    Event start date: 
    10/03/2010
    Event end date: 
    10/03/2010
    Event venue: 
    Gaborone Sun Hotel, Gaborone
    Event type: 
    Seminar
    Contact person(s): 
  • Zambia Thetha ICT Discussion Forum

    The Zambia Thetha ICT Discussion Forum will be held on 28 October 2009 at the Golfview Hotel in Lusaka.

    The event forms part of a series of regional events that SANGONeT is hosting in Zimbabwe, Mozambique, Tanzania, Zambia and Botswana.

    Organised and implemented in conjunction with JSM Business Consultants / COMDEV, the Zambia event will bring together various ICT stakeholders, including representatives from government, ICT industry, NGOs and the donor community, to discuss key “ICT for Development (ICT4D)” challenges and opportunities relevant to the future development of Zambia.

    The discussions will be informed by the “ICT4D: Challenges and Opportunities in Zambia" research report that John Munsaka of JSM Business Consultants / COMDEV prepared in support of the event.
    Event start date: 
    28/10/2009
    Event end date: 
    28/10/2009
    Event venue: 
    Golfview Hotel, Lusaka
    Event type: 
    Conference
    Contact person(s): 
  • Zimbabwe Thetha ICT Discussion Forum

    The Zimbabwe Thetha ICT Discussion Forum will be held on 21 July 2009 at the  Meikles Hotel in Harare.

    It forms part of a series of regional events that SANGONeT is hosting in Zimbabwe, Mozambique, Tanzania, Zambia and Botswana.

    Organised and implemented in conjunction with E-Knowledge for Women in Southern Africa (EKOWISA), the Zimbabwe event will bring together various ICT stakeholders, including representatives from government, industry, NGOs and the donor community, to discuss key “ICT for Development (ICT4D)” challenges and opportunities relevant to the future development of Zimbabwe.

    The discussions will be informed by the “Contextualizing ICT for Development in Zimbabwe” report that EKOWISA prepared in support of the event.
    Event start date: 
    21/07/2009
    Event end date: 
    21/07/2009
    Event venue: 
    Meikles Hotel, Harare<br />
    Event type: 
    Conference
    Contact person(s): 
  • Dramatic Increase in Broadband – Goldstuck

    The economy might be down but there are still plenty of opportunities on the Internet and in cellular communication for entrepreneurs. This is according to Arthur Goldstuck, director of World Wide Worx.

    Goldstuck says that the laying of several new undersea cables and the recent landing of Seacom’s cable in Mtinzini in KwaZulu-Natal will see a dramatic increase in broadband capacity.

    He says most African states are rolling out fibreoptic and microwave networks that will result in an improvement in the quality of connectivity between countries on the continent.

    A study conducted last year by World Wide Worx showed that sub-Saharan Africa’s available bandwidth would increase by 120 times after six new cables are completed in 2011.

    To read the article titled, “Dramatic increase in broadband,” click here.
    Source: 
    Business Day
  • Support the Call for a Comprehensive National Broadband Strategy for South Africa

    Access to cheaper and affordable broadband will present NGOs and all other sectors of South African society with significant opportunities to improve the impact and competitiveness of their activities.

    The South African National Broadband Forum is an initiative of four organisations (Association for Progressive Communications, SANGONeT, the Shuttleworth Foundation and South Africa Connect) which share the goal of cheaper and affordable Internet access for South Africa.

    The Forum invites everyone who believes that affordable broadband access is a national priority to express their support for the development and implementation of a comprehensive National Broadband Strategy for South Africa. A draft framework has been developed with input from multiple stakeholders at a workshop held on 24 March 2009 in Johannesburg. We believe that this framework can serve as a basis for building consensus on a comprehensive national broadband strategy.

    We will present the framework to the new government elected on 22 April 2009 and propose that it be used as a basis for building consensus between all stakeholders on a comprehensive national broadband strategy for South Africa.

    To read and endorse the full framework, click here.

    I would also like to request that you encourage other NGOs and civil society organisations in your networks to endorse the framework.

    Related articles:

    Broadband ideas for new minister

    Forum aims for national broadband access by 2014


    Broadband on agenda for new government

    Internet access should be priority for new government

    4 Mbps broadband for all
  • Telecoms Operators Sign African Undersea Cable

    Telkom has announced that a consortium of telecoms operators have signed a deal that will pave the way for the laying of South Africa's undersea cable around West Africa to Europe.

    In a press statement, Telkom points out that the US$600 million West Africa Cable System will boost broadband capacity and could cut comparatively high Internet tariffs in Africa's biggest economy.

    The company states that the 14 000 kilometre long cable system will be supplied by Alcatel-Lucent Submarine Networks and is expected to be completed by 2011.

    To read the article titled, “Telecoms operators sign African undersea cable,” click here.

    Source: 
    Mail and Guardian
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