The RDF, which took place in Yogyakarta, Indonesia from 27-29 July 2009, featured top-level experts from around the world, who came together to grapple with technological, regulatory, security and scientific issues central to the development and deployment of next-generation network (NGN) and high-speed access technologies across the region.
Delegates from policy makers, regulators, academia and the private sector stressed the importance of broadband in bridging the digital divide, and emphasized the necessity of a cooperative global approach in ensuring the widest possible availability of future services to all users.
ITU organized the Forum in close collaboration with the Indonesian Ministry of Communication and Information Technology and the Special Province Area of Yogyakarta. It attracted 105 participants from 17 countries, ten ITU Sector Members and 25 ICT-related organizations.
The Director of ITU’s Telecommunication Development Bureau (BDT), Sami Al-Basheer, said: “This Asia-Pacific Regional Development Forum underlines the role of broadband as a catalyst for bridging the digital divide and for turning the challenges of today’s economic crisis into new opportunities. Broadband access, through both fixed and wireless infrastructures, will clearly be one of the key focus areas for ICT development in this fast-moving region.”
The Forum brought the region up-to-date on ITU standardization activities, including work on IMT-Advanced (the next generation of mobile technologies), broadband wireless access, NGN, interoperability and security. As well as encouraging greater participation by developing countries in the technical standardization process, the Forum emphasized the importance of compliance with ITU Recommendations, which significantly increases the probability of full and seamless interoperability as well as safeguarding aspects like network security.
Expressing his satisfaction in the choice of Yogyakarta as the venue for this Asia-Pacific RDF, Hamengku Buwono X, Governor of the Yogyakarta Special Region, stated: “From now on, convergence is inevitable and we must prepare ourselves to adapt wisely to the trends. The application and deployment of NGN and broadband technologies entail serious consideration of both the opportunities and challenges of these emerging technologies.”
Asia-Pacific has made great progress in terms of broadband access, with penetration rates of 32 and 23 per cent respectively in market leaders such as the Republic of Korea and Japan. But at the same time, less-developed nations within the region are still struggling to provide basic telephony and Internet access to their populations. The number of Internet users per 100 inhabitants in countries such as Bangladesh, Cambodia and Myanmar still lies below one per cent.
“We have high expectations for NGN and broadband deployment,” said Basuki Yusuf Iskandar, Director General of Posts and Telecommunications, Ministry of Communication and Information Technology, Indonesia. “We believe ICTs represent a powerful means of generating new opportunities that will enhance the living conditions of urban and rural communities, providing access to new and innovative work opportunities, and helping eradicate rural poverty.” He added: “NGN and broadband networks can further narrow the digital gap separating urban and rural areas, while at the same time helping reduce environmental degradation.”
Thanking the host administration of Indonesia as well as ITU’s Telecommunication and Radiocommunication Sectors for their close collaboration in making the RDF-2009 a successful and productive event, Eun-Ju Kim, Head of the ITU Regional Office for Asia and the Pacific, concluded the event, stating: “As the scope of Universal Service Obligations (USO) is being extended from voice telephony to broadband in some pioneering countries, appropriate policy driven by visionary political leaders, combined with transparent regulatory frameworks, harmonized standards and efficient spectrum management, will be critical enablers in deploying and migrating towards NGN, and creating a safer and secure cyberspace for all.”