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Speech: "Seizing Digital Opportunities"

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Federal Communications Commission
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This is an unofficial announcement of Commission action. Release of the full text of a Commission order constitutes official action. See MCI v. FCC. 515 F 2d 385 (D.C. Circ 1974).

March 18, 2002

Emily Willeford at (202) 418-2100

"Seizing Digital Opportunities"

Washington, D.C. -- Today, Commissioner Kevin J. Martin addressed a special session of the 2002 World Telecommunication Development Conference (WTDC) in Istanbul, Turkey on "Bridging the Digital Divide." While recognizing the challenges that developing countries face, Commissioner Martin encouraged developing and developed countries to "seize digital opportunities" to bring the education, health and economic benefits of telecommunications development to their citizens.

In his remarks to the WTDC, Commissioner Martin outlined three strategies for maximizing the benefits of new digital technologies worldwide: (1) policy makers should rely on good governance - including a transparent, reliable and speedy regulatory environment - to promote investment; (2) the private sector, which has the agility and expertise to create development solutions, should lead the pursuit of new telecommunications infrastructure and services; and (3) countries should invest in themselves in partnership with the global community by making digital opportunities available through education, training and regulatory policies that attract capital.

Commissioner Martin recognized that benefits from new digital technologies are growing in the United States with 2 million new Internet users per month. He also recognized successes in the developing world, attributing the rapid rate of deployment of mobile and Internet services to sound policy decisions by government leaders and private sector involvement. Commissioner Martin encouraged developing countries to play an even greater role in their future growth, and urged both developing and developed countries to seize the opportunity to extend the benefits of the information age to all.

The International Telecommunication Union (ITU) holds WTDCs every four years. The WTDC brings together the ITU's 189 Member States, including the United States, as well as hundreds of private sector members of the ITU Development Sector. The 2002 WTDC seeks to establish objectives and strategies for balancing worldwide and regional telecommunications development, focusing on modernizing and expanding networks and services in developing countries.

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