The International Telecommunication Union (ITU) develops measurement projects for ict use and internet connectivity. Main outcomes of WTIS 2023.

The International Telecommunication Union (ITU) develops measurement projects for ict use and internet connectivity. Main outcomes of WTIS 2023.

The theme of WTIS-18 was "Advancing the measurement agenda to achieve universal and meaningful connectivity". The participants discussed trends and possible problems on the way to the global use of a safe, comfortable and informative digital environment. More than 300 international IT experts took part in the event. Among key speakers were Director of the ITU Telecommunication Development Bureau, Dr. Cosmas Lakison Zavazava and Deputy Secretary-General of the International Telecommunication Union (ITU), Tomas Lamanauskas.

The symposium program included sessions on the following topics:

·      Universal and meaningful connectivity – the policy perspective;

·      Universal and meaningful connectivity: tackling the measurement imperative;

·      Measuring connectivity using open and private sector big data;

·      ITU’s new statistical tools and initiatives;

·     Update on the ICT Development Index (IDI);

·      The promises and perils of AI for statistics;

·      Mobile phone data for official statistics;

·      Tracking trends in ICT use and ownership;

·      Keeping up with the measurement agenda: insights from the Expert Group on Telecommunications/ICT Indicators.

In the course of sessions speakers announced statistical data proving the acceleration of a global Internet access, so since 2019 the number of people offline has decreased by 0.9 billion compared to 2022 (from 3.6 to 2.7 billion, respectively).

The Forum reported on the progress for developing a new ICT Development Index (IDI), designed to monitor the level of ICT development. The new IDI will tentatively include 9 indicators. According to experts, IDI will facilitate data collection, as well as increase data accuracy and reliability. The new index will be finalized and submitted for publication at the end of 2023. It plans to cover 165 countries.


Main outcomes: 

1.    The session presented information on the prospects for Internet connectivity, as well as on the impact of various factors on these processes.

2.    The session presented methods used to solve the problems of measuring network access, as well as demonstrated the potential of using Big Data in this area.

3.    Experts reported on the implications of 5G deployment on measuring M2M subscriptions and IoTs.

4.    The session showcased approaches to help improve access to data, build statistical capacities of, and funding for, national statistics offices.

5.     The session addressed pressing questions surrounding AI’s impact on data quality and the potential emergence of misleading or falsified statistics. Moreover, focused on the merits, promises, and potential pitfalls of AI in the realm of data and statistics.

6.    The session introduced  ITU DataHub, as well as two ITU Academy training courses on ICT access and utilization.

7.    The session highlighted the outcomes of the 9th and 10th meetings of ITU Expert Group on ICT Household Indicators (EGH) covering various topics, including updates on e-waste indicators, child online protection, OTT service indicators.

8.    It is reported on launching the Global Internet Access Platform, an ITU project to promote universal access and relevant measurements.

9.    Experts announced the collaboration between ITU and the World Bank on data science and privacy issues.

The Symposium's Communiqué stressed the importance of measuring and securing global network access, including the need to create conditions for affordable Internet.

Founded in 2020, ANO «Center for Global IT-Cooperation» (CGITC) is a member of ITU Telecommunication Development Sector (ITU-D), a participant in the International Internet Governance Forum (IGF), co-organizer of the annual Russian Internet Governance Forum. Vadim Glushchenko, Director of CGITC, commenting on the results of the symposium, noted the importance of the ITU’s work on the problem of global Internet access and increasing the significance of measurements in this area. According to this, CGITC closely monitors significant ITU projects, particularly in order to form national proposals and possible initiatives that can be put forward on this international platform. In general, positively evaluating the progress in the development of a new ITU’s Internet Development Index, the Director of CGITC drew attention to the importance of finding a single position agreed with all countries on the methodology for calculating this index. The IDI index should not become an instrument of unfair competition, create a confrontation between countries or intensify conflicts in the political or economic spheres.