World Telecommunication Day this year on the Internet

/ Updated on 24.01.2008

The World Telecommunication Day, celebrated today, is subject to the Internet: Challenges, Opportunities and Prospects. The Instituto das Comunicações de Portugal (ICP) is taking part in the celebration recognising the dynamics of the sector and the essential role that telecommunications have played in the development of the national economy.

The Portuguese Communications Foundation has distinguished the day with the opening of two public exhibitions: "Large Telephone Exchanges in Portugal" and "A Sample of Philatelic Merit - Poets from the XIII to the XX century", which can be visited at Rua D. Luís I, nº 22, in Lisbon. The inauguration ceremony will take place in the Foundation building at 6.30 p.m. in the presence of the Infrastructure Minister.

The day correspond exactly to the 136th anniversary of the constitution of the International Telecommunication Union (ITU), an United Nations inter-governmental organization the, and which makes fundamental decisions related to the harmonization of this market on a world level. The ITU is divided into three sectors: Radiocommunications, the Normalisation of Telecommunications and the Development of Telecommunications.

For this occasion the ITU Secretary-General, Yoshio Utsumi, transmitted a message reminding that Internet users still only represent 5% of the world population. He added that it is a question to be answered if we wish to reduce the "traditional disadvantages of the world in development", namely in the supplying of such basic services as health and education.

In addition, the ITU Secretary-General said that besides the lack of telephone lines "the first challenge is the one of expanding access to the Internet at affordable prices. In nowadays the high cost of this service in many countries continues to be one of the main obstacles to the diffusion of the Internet", whilst defending the adoption of legislative and regulatory measures and the launching of training initiatives in schools. All this is necessary in order to transform the "digital divide" into "digital dividends".