Karma W. Penjor, Secretary, Ministry of Information & Communications of Bhutan talks to ITU at the World Telecommunication Development Conference (WTDC-17) about the positive impact information and communication technologies (ICTs) have had on the socio-economic development of Bhutan as well as the importance of ICTs for achieving all of the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
For a landlocked kingdom with harsh geographic conditions and mountainous terrain, ICTs have been instrumental in bridging the gap between the government and citizens and allowing people to communicate with each other, as well as the outside world.
However, challenges stand in the way of allowing all citizens of the landlocked Least Developed Country (LDC) from benefiting fully from ICTs and government services.
“One challenge that the government continues to face despite having invested so much with the help of our development partners in building up the basic infrastructure — is the issue of having access to affordable connectivity,” explains Penjor.
Affordable, reliable and adequate bandwidth continues to be a challenge for the landlocked kingdom.
Since Bhutan joined as an ITU Member in 1988, the cooperation has helped the kingdom fine-tune a broadband master plan and consumer framework for e-commerce, amongst other initiatives.
Penjor hopes that the issue of affordable and reliable international gateways, of which international bandwidth is a key factor, will be looked at with renewed emphasis by fellow ITU Members, especially as ICTs directly affect all 17 Sustainable Development Goals.
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