UNIVERSITY OF PENNSYLVANIA - AFRICAN STUDIES CENTER
World Telecommunication Development Report, 1994
The World Telecommunication Development Report, which has been prepared for the World Telecommunication Development Conference (Buenos Aires, Argentina, March 1994), examines the state of the telecommunication sector worldwide. One of the main aims is to "assist Members analyse the impact and challenges of the changing telecommunication environment on national telecommunication structures and policies", as called for by Resolution 14 of the Nice Plenipotentiary Conference. The primary focus is the public telecommunication network with some 575 million telephone subscribers. The report also explores related areas such as the telecommunications equipment industry, private networks and mobile communications.
The report has been prepared jointly by the Telecommunication Development Bureau (BDT) and Strategic Planning Unit (SPU) of the International Telecommunication Union. Over the last decade, four major trends have emerged which have had a significant influence on the evolution of the telecommunication sector -- globalisation; technological change; sector restructuring; and the widening development gap. These themes form the structure for the main report.
* The globalisation of the telecommunication network has many facets: an expanding web of world-wide terrestrial, submarine and satellite communication links; explosive growth in international voice, data, text and image traffic; multinational alliances among major operators; and increasing foreign investment in the telecom services sector. These factors are also manifest in the expansion of international trade in both telecommunications equipment and services.
* The last decade has witnessed an explosion of new telecom products, services and technologies such as facsimile, mobile communications, global satellite services and fibre optics that have had a dramatic impact on the way telecom networks are developed, marketed and used. Faster speeds, greater capacity and enhanced functionality promises to alter the way voice, data and video are delivered in the 21st century. This technological change is increasingly blurring the traditional boundaries between telecommunications, computers and broadcasting.
* In response to globalisation and technological change, most of the developed countries and many developing ones are carrying out major changes in the way their telecommunication sector is organised. Many countries have separated the operator from the state and have liberalized markets for terminal equipment and value added services; other countries have privatised their operators or are planning to do so; some countries have introduced network competition, particularly in mobile communications. The impact of these structural changes is being increasingly felt during the 1990s.
* However, despite substantial growth in the international network as a whole, nearly two-thirds of the world still suffers from poor access to telecommunications. Progress in narrowing the telecommunications development gap since the publication of the Maitland report ("The Missing Link") a decade ago is examined together with the prospects for the future.
In addition to the analysis, the annex to this report presents a
survey of leading indicators of the current state of telecommunications
in more than 200 countries worldwide.
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