The International Telecommunication Union (ITU) has outlined how it plans to foster the global development of ICT networks and services over the next four years.
The industry body's Hyderabad Declaration (PDF), delivered at its World Telecommunications Development Conference in India, highlighted the importance of next-generation networks and increased access to broadband services and wireless technologies.
"Broad access to telecoms and ICT is essential for the world's collective economic, social and cultural development," the ITU said.
Administrators, regulators, broadcasters and other stakeholders in developing countries should be assisted in the rollout of digital spectrum in order to speed up the transition from analogue technologies, according to the group.
The Declaration urged administrations to actively support policies that use ICT for disaster management, in particular radio communications, citing their crucial role in the aftermath of the Haiti earthquake.
The ITU added that it will help countries migrate from IPv4 to IPv6 next-generation networks to ensure that the broadband infrastructure remains available to support applications covering areas such as health, education, government and commerce.
ITU secretary general Hamadoun Touré said during the closing session of the conference that there must be no divide between the technological capabilities of the world in order to best exploit the benefits of IT.
"The digital divide remains, particularly where accessibility to broadband services and the internet is concerned. This must be addressed by governments and industry as a priority if we are to fully use the capacity of ICT," he said.
Several nations and companies announced commitments to the Declaration at the event, including Microsoft, which promised to provide software licences for Windows and Office at a "nominal cost" and offer additional support for schools.
France, Portugal and Australia also announced initiatives to provide support for their citizens, and Intel announced its intention to work with the French to provide laptops.
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