Information and communication technologies (ICTs) enable development benefits but have to be used wisely, says His Excellency (H.E.) Karol Okonski, Secretary of State for the Ministry of Digital Affairs of Poland.
In a video interview at the ITU 2018 Plenipotentiary Conference, he said, “With the proper use of ICTs, you can really change for good…for example one of the projects that we are very proud of in Poland is the project that aims to connect all public schools to high-speed broadband.”
He said that this project has enabled benefits for children, teachers, and all of society.
But Okonski emphasized the importance of involving all stakeholders to take part in the development of new projects, standards, or legislation related to ICTs. “[It is] very important to make sure … that we address the needs of all stakeholders,” he said. “[There’s] no need for long iterative processes, but from the very start you can take into consideration the different points of view that you might have from different parts of society. Then it is much more effective.”
Okonski also insisted on the importance of avoiding the strict frames and guidelines that can hamper creativity and innovation in the ICT sector.
“We would very much prefer …testing and experimenting first before actually implementing some hard laws,” he said.
He added that laws should, of course, be implemented to protect citizens but “let’s not overdo it from the very beginning.”
To bring the Internet to underserved areas in Poland, his government first maps the areas where there is need and then provides funds to subsidize companies to invest in the necessary infrastructure. Companies need to know a profit can be made, he says, otherwise they cannot be persuaded to provide the necessary connectivity.