The importance of capacity building, global standards for emerging technologies, and broadband access to spur development in under-served communities were the key themes at the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) Regional Development Forum (RDF) for the Asia-Pacific Region on Next Generation Networks and Broadband: Opportunities and Challenges.

The RDF, which took place in Yogyakarta, Indonesia, from 27 to 29 July 2009, featured top-level experts from around the world, who came together to consider technological, regulatory, security and scientific issues central to the development and deployment of next-generation network and high-speed access technologies across the region.

Delegates from policy makers, regulators, academia and the private sector stressed the importance of broadband in bridging the digital divide and emphasized the necessity of a cooperative global approach in ensuring the widest possible availability of future services to all users.

The Forum brought the region up-to-date on ITU standardization activities, including work on IMT-Advanced (the next generation of mobile technologies), broadband wireless access, NGN, interoperability and security. As well as encouraging greater participation by developing countries in the technical standardization process, the Forum emphasized the importance of compliance with ITU Recommendations.

The Director of the ITU's Telecommunication Development Bureau, Sami Al-Basheer, said, "This Asia-Pacific Regional Development Forum underlines the role of broadband as a catalyst for bridging the digital divide and for turning the challenges of today's economic crisis into new opportunities. Broadband access, through both fixed and wireless infrastructures, will clearly be one of the key focus areas for ICT development in this fast-moving region."