SAMENA Telecommunications Council was a key participant at The Telecommunications Regulatory Conference 2014, held recently at Four Seasons Hotel, Doha, Qatar, under the theme, “Next Generation Fixed Broadband Networks and Services: Challenges and Opportunities.” The event was hosted by the Communications Regulatory Authority of Qatar.
Mr. Bocar A. BA, Chief Executive Officer, represented SAMENA Telecommunications at the conference and presented a talk on ‘Broadband – NGN as the enabler of Digitization, Societal Development and Economic Growth.’ George Salama, Senior Manager Public Policy, SAMENA Telecommunications Council, also participated in the conference as a moderator in the “Access to Passive Infrastructure” panel.
During his speech, Mr. Bocar emphasized the cross sectors benefits of Broadband across various segments including Government, Education, Energy, Transportation, Healthcare and Financial Services. In addition, he also shared statistics representing the positive cumulative economic impact of Digitization by 2020 with GDP impact in the Samena region alone amounting to US $ 1.25 trillion.
Speaking on the occasion, Bocar A. BA said, “The level of digitization in the SAMENA region needs to be acceralated further to boost digitization efforts and in this environment, fixed broadband is a viable mechanism to guarantee reliable integrated digital communications and connectivity for digitized households and businesses and it can also serve as the foundation for an integrated advanced, converged broadband experience. The Samena Council is working closely with regulators and the telecom industry across the region to promote the development and adoption of national and sector-specific digitization policies that create new growth opportunities for telecom operators and ICT industry stakeholders through more sophisticated broadband infrastructure while accelerating socio-economic development in the region.”
Mr. Bocar also elaborated on the organisation’s ICT Assessment and Digitization Study and the five policy objectives for SMART SAMENA which looks at an accelerated-growth scenario in which the region undertakes a concerted effort to achieve a leapfrog increase in the rate of digitization and raise its ranking to third globally by 2020. The objectives revolve around Sustainable, innovative and secure ICT sector, Managed and risk-mitigated sectorial digitization, Advanced ICT capital, Regional and local collaboration platforms in addition to Tracking and monitoring mechanisms.
Shedding light upon the regulatory approaches that can help drive Digitization achieve optimal results, Mr. Bocar offered solutions such as introducing and developing national broadband plan, promoting market liberalization, taxes optimization, considering open access approaches to infrastructure, equal licensing schemes, updating and utilizing universal service funds (USFs) and reviewing and updating regulatory service obligations.
Discussing Broadband-related international practices from several countries from around the world, Mr. Bocar also elaborated on digitization efforts and policies that have been initiated by the respective authorities and governments in Europe, Singapore and Australia.