May 14, 2024

Three Day South Asian Telecom Regulator’s Council Meeting on Policy, Regulation and Services Starts

Islamabad (May 14, 2024): 1st Meeting of the South Asian Telecommunication Regulators' Council (SATRC) on Policy Regulation and Services commenced from today at a local hotel in Islamabad. Organized by the Asia-Pacific Telecommunity (APT) and hosted by the Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA), this three-day international meeting convenes regulatory experts and policymakers from Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, Iran, India, Maldives, Nepal, Pakistan and Sri Lanka.

The meeting started with an inaugural event widely attended by industry and government stakeholders. Mr. Masanori Kondo, Secretary General of the Asia-Pacific Telecommunity (APT) in his welcome address urged the delegates to actively engage in insightful discussions and commended PTA for organizing the workshop. Dr. Khawar Siddique Khokar Member Compliance & Enforcement PTA who is also the chair of the SATRC Working Group on Policy, Regulation, and Services (PRS) in his address, outlined the meeting's primary objective: fostering the exchange of insights, experiences, and best practices to address challenges, explore opportunities, and finalize initial steps on work items.

Chairman PTA, Maj. General (R) Hafeez Ur Rehman in his inaugural note, underscored the importance of regional collaboration in addressing common ICT challenges through dialogue and knowledge sharing, he highlighted the importance of learning from each other's experiences to effectively introduce new technologies and services while safeguarding consumer rights and nurturing industry growth.

Ms. Shaza Fatima, Minister of State for IT & Telecom who was the chief guest at the inaugural ceremony outlined Pakistan's visionary initiative of digitally empowered country with the aim of providing access to every citizen across Pakistan. She emphasized Pakistan's vast potential as a nation of 250 million, predominantly youth and how their useful participation can boost growth.  She stressed on onboarding the 50%   of total population which is female and reiterated the Prime Minister’s and the ministry of IT & Telecom’s  commitment to gender inclusion. She lauded Chairman PTA's leadership in bridging the digital gender gap, acknowledging significant strides in this area.

The STARC meeting serves as a vital platform for comprehending the dynamic ICT landscape, initiating research analysis, and setting agendas for the next two years. Over the next two days, the meeting will feature 10 sessions, each dedicated to crucial contemporary topics and trends in regional telecommunication sector.

The workshop's first day features four sessions. The initial session highlights insights from APT's GA-16 and MC-47, focusing on SATRC and beyond. The second session address the regulatory challenges of new technologies and smart solutions for broadband. The third session explores maximizing the Universal Service Obligation Fund for digital inclusion. Lastly, the workshop will discuss enhancing ICT E-Waste Management Regulations for Sustainable Development, emphasizing the need for effective regulations and strategies to ensure a greener future.