Islamabad: ITU-PTA Asia-Pacific Regulators’ Roundtable” and the “ITU-PTA International Training Program (ITP) 2016” started in Islamabad under the aegis of Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA) and International Telecommunication Union (ITU). In these international events representatives from more than 20 countries from Asia Pacific Region are participating.
The Chief Guests of the inaugural ceremony of this event were Ms Anusha Rahman Khan, Minister of State for Information Technology and Telecommunication and Mr Houlin Zhao, Secretary-General, ITU. Chairman PTA Dr. Syed Ismail Shah welcomed the guests. Members of PTA, Members of Ministry of IT, and regulatory heads of different countries, representatives from telecom mobile operators, internet service providers, academic institutions, banks, ICT entrepreneurs, and commercial companies attended the event.
On this occasion Secretary General ITU said that it is a great pleasure and a privilege to be at the Asia-Pacific Regulator’s Roundtable jointly organized by the PTA and the ITU with support from the Department of Communications and the Arts, Government of Australia. At this esteemed Roundtable, we are greatly honored by the presence of high level regulatory and policy decision makers from more than 20 countries from the Asia-Pacific region and beyond.
Secretary General ITU said that this Regulators’ Roundtable for Asia-Pacific 2016 is of particular importance as it is the first Symposium in this region since the United Nations General Assembly adopted the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), otherwise referred to as the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. He said that ICTs are the foundation upon which economic and social development can grow. ICTs have incredible potential to improve development outcomes in both the developing and the developed world. All three pillars of sustainable development--economic development, social inclusion and environmental protection-- need ICTs as key catalysts, and ICTs will be absolutely crucial for achieving the SDGs.
He said that the Asia-Pacific Region took its own initiative to organize this annual roundtable to provide telecommunication/ICT regulators in the region with a platform that fosters dynamic and strategic discussions, as well as sharing of information, relevant experiences and practices and to conclusively debate on possible solutions and opportunities for potential collaboration to address emerging regulatory issues and challenges. He said that ITU will also like to contribute to Pakistan telecom sector and would sponsor more ITU training programs in future in Pakistan to further develop the capacity of telecom sector.
On this occasion, Ms Anusha Rahman Khan said that presence of Secretary General of ITU is a big achievement for the telecom sector of Pakistan. She also appreciated the role PTA in organizing Asia-Pacific Regulators’ Roundtable” and International Training Program. The Minister said that the traditional regulatory rules have diminished and the telecom regulators are now emerging in the new digital era. Pakistan is passing through telecom revolution and this revolution is witnessed every day when telecom companies get more and more subscribers in the 3G/4G segment. ICTs have become a way of life for Pakistan. She said that potential of ICTs is to be used for innovation and technological advancements. For this we need to review the policies all the time and we need to look at regulatory paradigms that control the frame works.
She said that the government of Pakistan fully realizes the potential of ICTs which is to be used to spur socio economic growth and now the time has come the digital Pakistan is the only way forward. She said that 3G/4G/LTE services had started from November 2014 and around 32 million mobile broadband subscriptions have been added. She said that people of unserved/underserved areas are benefiting with the technological advancement in the country. The Minister praised the role of PTA in organizing Regulators’ Roundtable” and International Training Program.
Chairman PTA Dr. Syed Ismail Shah said in his welcome speech that the theme of this conference is "collaborating regulations for smart digital society". Chairman said that our vision is vibrant telecom market with affordable access to services for consumers of all strata. This is fully aligned with the vision of ITU. We all havebenefited from the principles and standards of ITU like IT advanced, IT 2020 most popularly known as 3G/4G and 5G technologies by providing meaningful input into all other areas.
I am sure that every regulator of the region is playing its crucial role for the provision of better telecom services to the consumers. However, we the regulators need to re-imagine our regulatory approach in the wake of new trends and challenges, Chairman PTA further added.
It may be mentioned that, ITU-PTA Asia-Pacific Regulators’ Roundtable” and the “ITU-PTA International Training Program (ITP) 2016”are being held for the first time in Pakistan.
(Khurram Ali Mehran)