Statement at the World Telecommunications Development Conference

Ambassador Daniel A. Sepulveda
Deputy Assistant Secretary and U.S. Coordinator for International Communications and Information Policy, Bureau of Economic and Business Affairs
Dubai International Conference Center
Dubai, United Arab Emirates
March 30, 2014

Mr. Chairman, Mr. Secretary-General, Ministers, Excellencies and respected colleagues: On behalf of the United States of America, I thank the government of the United Arab Emirates for their generosity and hospitality and for welcoming us to the beautiful city of Dubai.

Mr. Chairman, we wish you the best and believe you will ably guide this conference to establish the work of the ITU Telecommunication Development Sector for the next four years. Mr. Brahima Sanou, thank you for your tireless efforts at the ITU and your dedicated work for the preparation of this conference.

“Broadband for Sustainable Development” is a relevant, timely, and appropriate theme for this WTDC.

The futures of our nations are inextricably intertwined, so it is paramount that we work together to move all countries and all people into the digital economy. In a globalized world, we have a responsibility and an incentive to help each other succeed.

The United States is doing our part by supporting policies and actions, public and private, that accelerate the deployment of broadband communications services and applications worldwide. Through efforts such as the U. S. Agency for International Development’s Global Broadband and Innovation program; assistance projects that help develop Universal Service Funds in countries from Kenya to Vietnam to; the public-private Alliance for Affordable Internet; and my office’s Technology Leadership Program, the United States Government is committed and involved in global efforts to connect people in the developing world to the revolutionary force that is the global Internet.

And just as important, so is American private industry. Intel’s World Ahead Program has created innovative and sustainable solutions, such as prepaid broadband bundles and affordable laptops, connecting over 20 million new users to the Internet in over 50 countries. Google’s Project Loon is a revolutionary concept to deliver broadband in hard to reach areas via high-altitude balloons. Facebook’s is a collaborative venture between a cross section of stakeholders to develop joint projects, share knowledge and mobilize industry and governments to bring the world online. These are just a few examples of our efforts to bring these powerful tools of economic growth and innovation to the world. I urge you to read the U.S. contribution on broadband and specifically the Annex that details the activities of the United States Government and private industry to help close the global digital divide.

We come to this conference with substantive proposals, united with our friends in the Americas, and offered in good faith. We are particularly committed to addressing the needs of people in developing countries and are focused on the following priorities:

  • Increasing access to broadband services,
  • Enhancing emergency communications for disaster relief,
  • Advancing a culture of cybersecurity and combating spam,
  • Addressing the needs of developing countries with respect to conformance and interoperability,
  • Emphasizing access to ICTs for persons with disabilities and gender equality, and
  • Improving the work of the sector so that more may be achieved.

We believe this is an ambitious agenda, but one we can accomplish. These themes are repeated throughout many of the proposals to this conference from several delegations. With so much in common, I am confident that we can achieve consensus on outcomes.

In the end, the world will judge this conference by the degree to which the Dubai Declaration, the Dubai Action Plan, and our contribution to the draft ITU Strategic Plan sets the Union on a course to meet the needs of people in developing countries.

This conference is an important milestone on the path to the 2014 Plenipotentiary Conference and the world is watching. We must work together, in the spirit of cooperation and collaboration to deliver results. With your leadership, Mr. Chairman, and the efforts of distinguished delegates, I am confident that we can achieve a positive outcome. To you, Mr. Chairman, and to all our colleagues we extend our very best wishes for a successful conference.