Once again this year and since 1969, we celebrated World Telecommunication and Information Society Day on 17 May, whose purpose is to raise the population’s awareness about the possibilities offered by using the internet and other information and communication technologies (ICT) and their contribution to society and economic growth, as well as remembering that we have a long road ahead to reduce the digital divide.
This day commemorates the creation of the International Telecommunication Union, the most important international standardisation organisation in the sector, as well as the signing of the first widespread International Telegraph Convention on 17 May 1865.
Actually, and until 2006, this day was focused exclusively on telecommunications. It was at the World Summit on the Information Society that year when the General Assembly of the United Nations was asked to also declare 17 May as World Information Society Day.
What is clear is that information communications and technologies go hand-in-hand. Telecommunications enable the remote exchange of information, information that is obtained, stored and processed using information technologies.
Information and communication technologies have led to the establishment of a new worldwide digital culture characterised by:
· The presence of constant change in a volatile, uncertain, complex and ambiguous environment. Global social behaviour with mass interactions in real time.
· The fostering of collective collaboration and intelligence in open innovation environments and, in parallel, the reaffirmation of the individual, by establishing a personal framework. And, most significantly, by customers’ expectations that everything will be free-of-charge and the end of their loyalty.
· The digitalisation of society is unstoppable: financial transactions, social relations, digital twins… This represents a true industrial revolution that is known by different names, depending on the business sector: Industry 4.0, Smart Cities, electronic administration and digital transformation.
This digital culture is giving rise to sweeping transformation at organisations, whose business architecture is evolving, both due to the demand for digital reinvention – the outcome of changes in customers’ expectations and the availability of widespread interconnectivity – and the new results that enable digital technologies.
According to a report by the European Telecommunications Network Operators’ Association (ETNO), there is a significant threat that this process will be slowed down. Large tech companies are not contributing fairly to the roll-out of the telecommunications networks over which they provide their services, and this weakens Europe in its aim to achieve ambitious connectivity targets.
Estimates claim that suitable management of this relationship would lead to GDP growth of 72,000 million euros, the creation of 840,000 new jobs and a significant reduction of the carbon footprint.
We encourage our political representatives to advocate a fair balance between the interests of telecommunications operators and OTT (over the top) tech companies to keep advancing along the same line, for at least another 53 years.