Curtain drops on ITU conference

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Curtain drops on ITU conference

The three-week International Telecommunications Union (ITU) Plenipotentiary Conference 2014 comes to an end today in Busan.

The quadrennial event drew about 3,000 delegates from 193 ITU members to Korea’s largest port city, making it the largest ITU event ever.

In addition to government delegates, about 100,000 visitors participated in special technology conferences that featured the CEOs of IBM, Amazon, Cisco and other global IT companies.

The government believes Korea benefited from the ITU conference by having Korean policy suggestions selected as the official agenda for the coming five years and strengthening the nation’s voice in the UN agency.

The worldwide ICT development plan suggested by Korea was jointly submitted by 14 countries.

The plan consists of a set of goals and detailed action plans, instead of just a declaration.

The agenda, called “Connect 2020,” is about the role of ICT in enhancing human welfare in the developing world and how to close the digital divide among social classes. It is a blueprint for achieving the goals suggested in the Busan Declaration by President Park Geun-hye and UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon at the ITU conference’s opening ceremony.

From now on, each ITU member country will ensure that domestic ICT policies adhere to the ITU Connect 2020 plan.

The plan aims to bring Internet access to 60 percent of world population at a cost that will be 40 percent less than it is today. ITU member countries, both advanced and developing economies, will help developing countries with ICT infrastructure to reduce monthly household telecom bills to below 5 percent of average income. The plan also calls on ITU member countries to help prevent cyberattacks through increased investment in security infrastructure and policies.

Meanwhile, Korea also gained a larger voice within the ITU organization.

Lee Chae-sub of the Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology’s (Kaist) Institute for IT Convergence, was elected Oct. 24 as the next director of the telecommunication standardization bureau at the ITU. Lee will be working for overall ICT standardization, but he will have authority in deciding that key ICT technologies be standardized around Korean ones.

Winning more than half the votes against competitors from Turkey and Tunisia, Lee became the first Korean since the country joined the ITU in 1952 to hold one of five most influential positions in the organization.

Korea also was selected one of 13 permanent board members of the ITU. Of 167 voting countries, Korea was picked by 140, second to China.

Throughout the three-week schedule, Korea enjoyed economic gains from tourists.

The conference had an economic impact of at least 130 billion won ($120 million).

Korean IT companies made export contracts of about $30 million at the World IT Show the week of Oct. 20.


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