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Dubai to host another major ITU conference

Dubai: About 1,600 delegates from more than 119 countries and 68 private sector organisations are expected to take part in the sixth International Telecommunication Union (ITU) World Telecommunication Development Conference 2014 (WTDC) to be held in Dubai from March 30 to April 10.

The event is held once every four years and will take place at the Dubai International Convention and Exhibition Centre. The 2010 conference was held in Hyderabad, India.

The theme of WTDC-14 is “Broadband for Sustainable Development”.

According to ITU Secretary-General Dr Hamadoun I. Toure, broadband gives countries the power to end extreme poverty and put the planet on a new and sustainable development course.

“The UAE assigns a great deal of value to its ITU membership since joining it in 1972. It is a great honour for the UAE to be selected as hosts for this significant event and is testament to the level of success achieved during 2012 after hosting the UN specialised agency’s largest events — the World Conference on International Telecommunications in December, the World Telecommunication Standardisation Assembly in November and the World Telecommunication in October,” Mohammad Ahmad Al Qamzi, Chairman of the UAE Telecommunications Regulatory Authority, said in an emailed statement.

He added the event will be the perfect precursor to the ITU Plenipotentiary Conference 2014 to be held in October and “will witness a nomination campaign for UAE’s membership in the ITU Council and Radio Regulation council”.

At the December 2012 World Conference on International Telecommunications, 55 countries, including the US, did not sign the final acts on internet governance. The US delegation of over sixty will be led by Ambassador Daniel Sepulveda and includes representatives of six government agencies and several private sector advisers.

ITU has urged governments and international financing bodies to work to remove current barriers to investment. Globally, as much as 95 per cent of telecommunications infrastructure is private sector-funded, but better incentives are urgently needed if investment is to expand in line with the coming exponential growth of connected users and so-called ‘Internet of Things’ data streams.

In the world’s 200 biggest cities, the number of connected devices is forecast to increase from an average of 400 devices per square kilometre to over 13,000 devices per square kilometre by 2016.

The objective of WTDC-14 is to establish work programmes and guidelines for defining telecommunication development questions and priorities and to provide direction and guidance for the work programme of the Telecommunication Development Sector (ITU-D) over the next four-year period.

A positive outcome is important leading into the ITU Plenipotentiary Conference in October and the World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS) 10-year review in 2015.