This will be the second time that the IIC has been present in South Africa, the previous occasion being its 33rd Annual Conference in 2002.
Recent strides in broadband connectivity (the landing of undersea cables in Africa being the latest example) open the possibility of connecting the world in hitherto unforeseen ways, holding out the prospect of widespread economic, social and cultural benefits. Everywhere governments and industry alike are now grappling with critical issues such as how to secure the huge infrastructure investment for broadband networks, achieve optimal and equitable use of spectrum, develop new content services and applications, and lay the foundations for mass – if not yet universal – broadband uptake against a backdrop of economic challenge and in some cases real deprivation.
The IIC’s Annual Conference will offer the opportunity to senior industry, government and regulatory representatives and other experts from around the world to share their insights into recent developments, debate the market, public policy and regulatory implications, and suggest pointers towards future outcomes.
Issues for debate will include:
- To what extent could economic and financial limitations in many countries undermine the social and economic benefits of broadband development and digital services generally?
- How to overcome the impediments both to widespread broadband roll out and consumer take-up? Can this be achieved without hindering or distorting competition?
- How realistic is universal broadband access?
- What can media players and, at grass roots level, local communities do to shape their communications futures on the internet, in radio and TV, or in new services such as mobile banking? What role can government innovation policy play?
- In what ways is the traditional model of separate media and telecommunications regulators challenged by the new communications environment? What changes are needed to regulatory processes and performance, to the relationships between different regulatory bodies and to the interface between regulators, policy makers and industry players?
Keynote speakers include HE Radhakrishna (Roy) L Padayachie MP, Minister of Communications, South Africa (welcome address); Linus Gitahi, Chief Executive Officer, Nation Media Group, Kenya; Lazarus Jacobs, Chairperson, Communications Regulatory Authority of Namibia; Fabio Leite, Deputy Director, Radiocommunication Bureau, International Telecommunication Union; Dr Sreedhar Sarma, Chairperson, Telecom Regulatory Authority of India; and Simone Scholze, Executive Superintendent, Anatel, Brazil.
Other speaker highlights include: Dr Martin Cave OBE, Visiting Professor, Innovation Studies Centre, Business School, Imperial College, UK; John Kotsaftis, Chief Executive Officer, DStv Online; Paul Mitchell, Senior Director, Technology Policy, Microsoft Corporation; Professor John S Nkoma, Director General, Tanzanian Communications Regulatory Authority; Dr Robert Pepper, Vice President, Global Technology Policy, Cisco Systems; Michael Yap, Deputy Chief Executive (Regulatory) and Executive Director, Interactive and Digital Media Programme Office, Media Development Authority of Singapore.