By Ben Simmons

Leaders and experts from across the information and communications technology (ICT) industry worldwide gathered today to explore opportunities for the future of national broadband at the Broader Way Forum organized by Huawei on the sidelines of the Mobile World Congress (MWC) in Barcelona.

The action-oriented forum identified new growth and business models that will enable the industry to harness the potential of mobile broadband and reap the economic and social benefits that broadband brings.

"As the ICT industry continues to rapidly mature and becomes more sophisticated, the hyper-connectivity offered by broadband is a driving force for economic and social development and an enabler of job creation and capacity-building," said Mr. Ryan Ding, CEO, Carrier Network Business Group of Huawei.

"Huawei has been an enthusiastic advocate for broadband development for some time and is pleased to bring together some of the best minds in the industry at our inaugural Broader Way Forum to generate greater dialogue on this important topic and inspire actions that will enrich the world we live in."

Against the backdrop of the global financial crisis, ICT, and telecommunications in particular, will plays a key role as an enabler of economic and social development. A bellwether of national competitiveness, national broadband can contribute to efforts in addressing such challenges as poverty, climate change, and an aging population. The World Bank estimates that a 10% increase in broadband penetration can potentially translate into 1.3% GDP growth. More than 30 countries have made national broadband commitments, reflecting a trend that governments are recognizing its competitive advantages and are reshaping the broadband landscape by way of investments or regulations.

Speaking about the global development of the ICT industry, Dr. Touré, Secretary-General of ITU, said: "In the 21st century, affordable, ubiquitous broadband networks will be as critical to social and economic prosperity as transport, water and power. Not only does broadband deliver benefits across every sector of society, it also helps promote social and economic development."

Huawei plays an active role in driving the deployment of national broadband networks worldwide. In 2009, Huawei was commissioned to develop Singapore’s Next Generation National Broadband Network (NGNBN), the first open access NBN to be commercially deployed in the world. Singapore’s NBN deployment provides a model for the industry not only in terms of effectively deploying NBNs, but also underscores the need for greater public-private sector collaborations in creating greater value-add through broadband.

Looking to the future, Mr. Ding added: "We believe collaboration among stakeholders in both the public and private sectors will effectively shape new national broadband business models, creating a prosperous digital economy for the entire industry ecosystem. This development is also critical in our shared vision to eliminate the global digital divide, making the world a better place through better communication."

Join us on
Follow @freshbusiness