Newsletter Issue No. 8 2017

Broadband Commission Activities Overview

On the 5th of June 2017, the Broadband Commission Working Group on the Digitalization Scorecard chaired by Nokia’s President and CEO Rajeev Suri launched its final report “Digitalization Scorecard: Which policies and regulations can help advance digitalization”. The report focuses on assessing policy and regulatory readiness for digitalization of six chosen countries which represent a sample cross-section in terms of income, geography and population size.


Digitalization is a universal trend but countries still have work to do to ensure policy and regulatory frameworks across sectors are ‘fit for purpose’. Together, the analysis sets out how each country is performing when it comes to policies and regulations to foster or limit digitalization. In addition to country-specific assessments, the study outlines sector-specific policy recommendations as well as six overall recommendations for governments and policymakers to guide countries as they embark and progress on their digitalization journey.

The report and the scorecard were also discussed at the WSIS Forum 2017 session on Digitalization Scorecard: Advancing Digitalization of Verticals with Enabling Policies and Regulations which featured several high-level speakers, including: Mr Marc Vancoppenolle – Nokia’s Global Head of Government Relations; Mr Mohammad Chowdhury – PwC’s Telecom, Media and Technology sector; Dr Martha Suarez – General Director of National Spectrum Agency, Colombia; Ms Florence Gaudry Perkins – representing Novartis Foundation; Ms Sofie Maddens – ITU’s Head of the Regulatory and Market Environment Division, and Ms Phillippa Biggs; Chief Policy Analyst, ITU, and Broadband Commission Content Coordinator.

Photo ©ITU/I.Wood

This session, built on the work of the Working Group and focused on how policy interventions may advance digitalization of sectors, such as education, agriculture, healthcare, transportation, and e-government. The panelists also shared their views on which regulations should be avoided as blocking a switch to digital in a given sector. Read the blog by Nokia and The Broadband Commission Secretariat here.


Photo credit: #TransformAfrica2017

On 10-12 May 2017, Kigali, Rwanda, hosted 2017 edition of Transform Africa Summit under the theme of: Smart Cities – Way Forward. The conference is designed to foster constructive conversation towards building a Smart Africa and facilitate meetings of like minds seeking policy and opportunities to accelerate the continent towards socio economic transformation. This year’s edition focused on various aspects of digital development: from harnessing cooperation and providing skills, from blockchain and IoT in Africa to paving way towards smart cities and many more.

Photo credits:

Several Broadband Commissioners took part in the major event including: H.E. Paul Kagame – President of the Republic of Rwanda; H.E. Nikolay Nikiforov – Minister of Telecom & Mass Communications in Russian Federation; Mr Houlin Zhao – Secretary-General of ITU; Ms Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka – Executive Director of UN Women; Ms Irina Bokova – Director General of UNESCO; Mr Rupert Pearce – CEO of Inmarsat; and Mr John Galvin – VP and General Manager for Public Sector, Intel.

Other News

On 7-9 June 2017 ITU and XPRIZE Foundation in partnership with other UN agencies hosted the first annual global summit AI for Good in Geneva. AI innovation will be central to the achievement of the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and will help solving humanity’s grand challenges by capitalizing on the unprecedented quantities of data now being generated on sentiment behavior, human health, commerce, communications, migration and more. With large parts of our lives being influenced by AI, it is critical that government, industry, academia and civil society work together to evaluate the opportunities presented by AI, ensuring that AI benefits all of humanity. The Summit provided a neutral platform for government officials, UN agencies, NGO’s, industry leaders, and AI experts to discuss the ethical, technical, societal and policy issues related to AI, offer recommendations and guidance, and promote international dialogue and cooperation in support of AI innovation.

On 12-16 June 2017 the annual World Summit on the Information Society Forum (WSIS) took place in Geneva. The WSIS Forum as the multi-stakeholder platform serves as a key forum for discussing the role of ICTs as a means of implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals and targets, with due regard to the global mechanism for follow-up and review of the implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. WSIS Forum 2017 resulted in several concrete outcomes that will enable stakeholders to strengthen implementation of WSIS Action Lines and the alignment of the WSIS and SDG processes.

Market and Policy Insight

Thailand’s Minister of Digital Economy and Society has announced that the Thai Government aims to cover additional 70,000 villages with low-cost broadband by the end of 2018.

The Russian Ministry of Communications is set to draft a national “Digital Economy” programme, where, among other goals, the Ministry advocates that 5G mobile networks should be commercially available in eight Russian cities with a population over one million.


In its new Mobility Report Ericsson foresees continued rapid growth of mobile connectivity as global mobile data traffic increases to eight times its current level by 2022 – averaging to more than one million each day. The latest collection of statistics about the growth of subscribers and data traffic in mobile networks is presented in the June edition of the Ericsson Mobility Report.

A new study by GSMA Intelligence and the China Academy of Information and Communications Technology (CAICT) – 5G in China: Outlook and Regional Comparisons was published at GSMA Mobile World Congress Shanghai 2017 and explores the near-term outlook for the testing and commercial launches of new 5G networks in China and other advanced Asia markets, and the potential 5G use cases for both the consumer and enterprise markets.

New Global ICT Regulatory Outlook 2017 published by ITU Development Bureau on June 2017 as the first of an annual series of reports tracking market and regulatory trends in the information and communication technologies (ICT) sector and their implications across the economy. This report is a key resource on smart, inclusive and forward-looking ICT regulation. Its findings can provide useful guidance in reviewing and upgrading regulatory frameworks for the ICT sector as the basis for the digital economy today and for the future.

On the 10th of May 2017, OECD issued report “The Next Production Revolution. Implications for Governments and Business”. This publication examines the opportunities and challenges, for business and government, associated with technologies bringing about the “next production revolution”. These include a variety of digital technologies (e.g. the Internet of Things and advanced robotics), industrial biotechnology, 3D printing, new materials and nanotechnology.

On June 15, the latest issue of the Global Innovation Index report was launched. Co-authored by Cornell University, INSEAD and WIPO, the GII 2017, marking its 10th edition, focuses on the topic of innovation in agriculture and food systems. One its main findings relates to the key role of smart and digital agricultural innovation in helping overcome critical food challenges. “Big data are reshaping the world of agriculture: digital agriculture has started to spread worldwide, helped by the development of innovations in information technology (IT)—for example, sensors, drones and robotics, and virtual and augmented reality—as well as data generation and analytics enabled by remote sensing, and geographic information systems”, indicates the report.

Columns and Blogs

On the 17th of May 2017 ITU celebrated another World Telecommunication and Information Society Day. This year the theme “Big Data for Big Impact” explored the many ways that big data can make big impacts towards the realization of the sustainable development goals (SDGs). Mr Houlin Zhao, ITU Secretary-General, provided an overview on how big data makes an impact on boosting the SDGs.

Microsoft published a blog entry where it gives explicit explanation of how it aims to empower a more accessible and inclusive world. Digital inclusiveness should be mainstreamed in schools, workplace, and smart cities with a special focus on AI. This was done in the framework of the sixth edition of Global Accessibility Awareness Day celebrated annually on the 18th of May.

ITU blog featured a post by Mr Dongmyun Lee, CTO of KT, where he explains the latest KT strategic plans on development and deployment of 5G technologies in 2019, more specifically the company will showcase the new technology and its impact on global economy at the Pyeongchang Winter Olympics in 2018.

Blog by Nokia and the Broadband Commission Secretariat: New Digitalization Scorecard report helps guide policy and regulatory efforts summarized the session held at the WSIS Forum 2017.


The 17th edition of the Global Symposium for Regulators (GSR) will be held in Nassau, Bahamas, from 11 to 14 July 2017. The theme of GSR17 is “Living in a World of Digital Opportunities”.

The meeting of the High-Level Political Forum on sustainable development (HLPF) will be held in the framework of ECOSOC, from 12 to 19 July 2017 in New York. The programme also includes a three-day ministerial segment (17-19 July). This year’s theme will be “Eradicating poverty and promoting prosperity in a changing world”.

The Broadband Commission for Sustainable Development will be holding its annual Fall Meeting in New York from 16 to 17 September 2017.

ITU Telecom World will be taking place in Busan, Republic of Korea, on 25-28 September 2017.