Alþjóða fjarskiptasambandið er undirstofnun Sameinuðu þjóðanna, samstarfsvettvangur þar sem þróaðar eru nútíma samskiptaleiðir á heimsvísu. Heldur sambandið allsherjarþing á fjögurra ára fresti ar sem mörkuð er stefna í fjarskiptamálum. Um tvö þúsund fulltrúar opinberra aðila og einkafyrirtækja á fjarskiptamarkaði sitja þingið auk fulltrúa svæðisbundinna samtaka og alþjóðlegra samtaka og stofnana.
Á þeim þremur vikum sem þing Alþjóða fjarskiptasambandsins stendur munu fulltrúar þurfa að koma sér saman um fjölmörg úrlausnarefni varðandi hlutverk og starfsemi sambandsins næstu fjögur ár og til framtíðar. Rætt verður meðal annars um endurskoðun á skipulagi ITU með tilliti til hinnar hröðu þróunar á sviði fjarskipta.
Í ávarpi sínu sagði samgönguráðherra meðal annars að
nauðsynlegt væri að ITU endurskoðaði starfsemi sína með hliðsjón af þeim tækninýjungum sem væru að setja mark sitt á fjarskiptamarkið um heim allan. Þar ber sérstaklega að nefna þróun í IP samskiptum og öryggi og áreiðanleika fjarskiptaneta.
Á þingu er einnig rætt um að ITU sem undirstofnun Sameinuðuþjóðanna með ábyrgð á upplýsingtækni málum beri með markvissum hætti að framfylgja þeim ályktunum sem samþykktar voru á alherjarþingum um upplýsingasamfélagið, þ.e. World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS) sem haldin voru í Genf árið 2003 og í Túnis 2005. Þá er einnig fjallað um þær ógnir sem upplýsingatæknisamfélagið stendur frami er lúta að glæpum og hryðjuverkum og misbeytingu upplýsingakerfi í þeim tilgangi.
Ávarp hans fer hér á eftir á ensku:
At the outset, on behalf of my Government and my delegation, I would like to thank the Government and the people of Turkey for their successful hosting of the Conference and warm hospitality.
I am very pleased to have this opportunity to speak to you about some issues that will be discussed during this Conference. This Conference has to decide on a large number of proposals for reform of the organization. Iceland believes that changes are needed urgently and should be substantial.
We are committed to the objective of establishing the ITU as the leading telecommunications organization in the world. In order to realize this objective the ITU has to improve its performance in adapting to the needs of a rapidly changing telecommunications world. It will have to become more effective, more efficient and more market-oriented. ITU will have to deliver its products timely, at reasonable costs and on the basis of a transparent decision making process.
Iceland is pleased to note that the European Countries participating in CEPT have presented close to thirty European Common Proposals for the consideration of the Plenipotentiary Conference. Among the many important contributions we share the concern about network security, spam and cyber crime. Like others, we think that ITU should broaden its vision in this area and recognize the important of well working networks to modern societies.
Iceland actively pursues strategies to bridge the digital divide. There is a growing inequity in access to, and use of, essential information and communications technologies in the developing countries. In this context we also feel that it is important to maintain a strong focus on gender issues and to promote gender equality towards all inclusive information society, reflecting the new thoughts and language agreed at the 2006 World Telecommunication Development Conference in Doha, Qatar.
Iceland has a dynamic telecommunications market and the telecommunications sector of Iceland has been developing rapidly in recent years.
In the light of this development, the Minister of Transport and Communications decided, at the beginning of 2004, to undertake the drafting of an Icelandic telecom policy statement for 2005-2010, laying out a framework for a comprehensive electronic communications policy. This Policy was adopted by the Icelandic parliament in May 2005.
The Telecom Policy Statement defines the involvement and objectives of public authorities in electronic communications in the near term, as well as providing an account of the situation and outlook in electronic communications in Iceland with reference to international trends. Providing a co-ordinated policy framework is intended to increase the country’s competitiveness, encourage industrial development, and ensure the efficient utilisation of financial resources and co-ordinated prioritisation of projects. Heavy emphasis is placed on bridging the digital divide by promoting access to electronic communications services for all inhabitants of Iceland and ways to equalise this access for everyone.
Structural funds have been allocated to enhance mobile coverage in rural areas and to meet the objectives of ensuring that all Icelanders can utilize a broadband connection to access the Internet and other services of the information society.
Iceland, like other European countries, has experienced major changes in electronic communications in recent years following the harmonisation of electronic communications legislation and full privatization of the state owned telecom incumbent. This has resulted, for instance, in the elimination of exclusive rights and competition in the electronic communications market in Iceland. Iceland ranks among world leaders when it comes to penetration of electronic communications services, like broadband access, where 70% of homes in Iceland currently enjoy a broadband connection, with penetration of over 92%.
It is our position that ITU should keep its attraction as a world Forum for discussion and decision making regarding international communications developments and issues. It should be an outward looking organization, with broad participation of sector members and other organizations.
The large number of technical questions, which are connected with the development of IP applications, such as security and reliability of the networks and services, underline the importance to have a world wide 'meeting point' for the exchange of information and know how.
In conclusion, Mr. Chairman, it is appropriate that we hold this Plenipotentiary here in Turkey, one of the great crossroads of the world. The ITU too is at a crossroads in its long and impressive history. What we do here and now will determine the future course and potential success of this unique institution.
The challenges are great but together we can meet these challenges and turn them into unprecedented opportunities. We are here for no less a task than to ensure the ITU's success long into the future.