BDT Director of ITU shares latest trends in ICT sector

The Prime Minister Dasho Tshering Tobgay met the International Telecommunication Union’s BDT Director Mr. Brahima Sanou, on 1st November afternoon.

Prime Minister thanked the ITU for for their continued support especially in HR development through trainings. Prime Minister highlighted the importance of telecommunications in our country.

The Director assured the continued support from ITU.

Mr Brahima Sanou, Director of Telecommunication Development Bureau (BDT), ITU, shared some of the changes in the ICT sector, which are characterized in different patterns in a talk at the Ministry of Information and Communications on 2nd November.

The first pattern was convergence of telecom/ICT infrastructure, services and service providers. The second pattern was acceleration and the third pattern disruption.

“The ICT sector is characterized by disruptive businesses. These changes are not happening only in the ICT sector but in the ICT ecosystem,” he said.

The fourth pattern was sharing and the fifth pattern asymmetrical competition. “New business models are driving the share economy. For instance, today the world’s largest taxi company owns no vehicle, the world’s largest accommodation provider owns no real estate and even some of the world’s biggest telecommunication companies have no infrastructure of their own. The new business models are having asymmetrical competition with incumbent business models,” he said.

The sixth pattern is interdependency best exemplified by cyber-security. “Cyber-security will continue to be a big challenge as we embark on the Internet of everything and artificial intelligence. In such an interconnected world a loophole anywhere in the global ICT network represents a danger everywhere in the network,” he said. “Building, operating and securing the global ICT network as well as for using it in service delivery to other sectors definitely needs a collaborative approach.”

The seventh pattern was on the consumer-player pattern. Faced with these new trends and patterns, he said that, ICT policy makers, regulators and industry need to undergo structural changes in their strategies and operation and more importantly, they need to reinvent the way they interact with each other.

On another hand, he said the adoption of the Sustainable Development Goals has broadened the mission and mandate. “We are now required not only to provide broadband and universal access to ICT services at affordable price, but equally important, to make ICTs work for other economic sectors,” he said.

Of 193 International Telecommunication Union (ITU) member states, Bhutan stood 117th in terms of ICT development in 2016.

“We have made good progress in our ranking and among the SAARC region,” said communications minister D N Dhungyel.

“To measure this outcome, let us target to have our rankings in the top 50 within the next few years”, Lyonpo added.

In the 90s, Internet and mobile phones were a distant dream for Bhutan but today 93.3% of population has access to mobile services and Internet subscribers have reached 82.6%, as of June 2017 according to communications minister D N Dhungyel.

“To reach this stage the government together with Telecom operators, ISPs and other players has undertaken numerous initiatives by building backbone ICT infrastructure, transforming working systems, developing appropriate policy and legislation, re-skilling and redeploying ICT professionals and building an ICT literate society,” said the minister.

Despite all these initiatives the minister said that, “we are not very close in fulfilling our vision of nurturing a ‘knowledge society’”. “There is lot to be achieved for which we have to continuously seek support of ITU and other donor countries/agencies,” he said.

Bhutan became a member of the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) in September 1988 and since then has benefitted immensely in terms of capacity building and technical assistance.

In 2016, of 193 ITU member states, Bhutan stood 117th in terms of ICT development. “We have made good progress in our ranking and among the SAARC region,” the minister said. “To measure this outcome, let us target to have our rankings in the top 50 within the next few years.”

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