Starting today, November 4, 2013, Uganda is hosting Study Groups 11 and13 Workshop and Meeting of the international Telecommunications Union (ITU) at the Commonwealth Speke Resort Munyonyo. The two-week event, organised by the Ministry of ICT, Uganda Communications Commission (UCC), and International Telecommunications Union (ITU), will focus on promoting cooperation within the Eastern and Southern African Countries on spectrum issues.
Study Group 11 is responsible for producing international standards (ITU-T Recommendations) that define how telephone calls and other calls (such as data calls) are handled in the network; and developing signalling requirements and protocols for Software-defined Networking (SDN).
The Group, which leads ITU’s work on conformance and interoperability (C&I) testing, is also responsible for developing test specifications focusing on global interoperability testing parameters, services, and quality of service (QoS) and testing parameters.
On the other hand, Study Group 13 is responsible for Future networks (FNs) – networks of the future beyond NGN (2020). It is also concerned with the evolution of NGNs, while focusing on future networks and network aspects of mobile telecommunications.
These include cloud computing, mobile and next-generation networks, future networks studies, network aspects of the Internet of Things (IoT), IMT-2000 and IMT-Advanced (ITU-R standards commonly referred to as 3G and 4G, respectively.
Overall, 200 delegates, basically telecommunications experts, are expected to attend these twin events to deliberate on spectrum issues relating to the transition to digital terrestrial television and the digital dividend. The Minister for ICT, Hon. John Nasasira, is expected to be the Guest of Honour.
Speaking ahead of the event, Mr Godfrey Mutabazi, the Executive Director of UCC, sounded upbeat. “This event is important and unique in that it provides for direct interaction of sharing experiences between us, the key stakeholders, with regard to such issues as Future networks (FNs), and the development of signalling requirements and protocols for Software-defined Networking (SDN), just to mention a few,” he said.
Mr Mutabazi thanked ITU for giving Uganda another opportunity to host such high-profile events. “This demonstrates the vote of confidence the ITU fraternity has in Uganda,” he said, “We have been active participants in ITU Working Groups 3, 11 and 13 meetings. As a country, we have benefited greatly from such discourses, hence been able to develop our communications sector.”
In 2009, Uganda hosted the ITU Study Group 3 Meeting – the first to be held in Africa. In the same year, the country hosted two ITU Meetings: the Capacity Development Forum for Africa (July 8-10, 2009); and, the African Regional Preparatory Meeting (RPM) for the World Telecommunication Development Conference 2010.
Mr Mutabazi said SG 11 and SG 13 would be completely paperless in their meetings. “It means documents will be online and delegates are expected to have laptops or such devices that can enable them to download and use the documents centrally located. Participants are expected to come with personal laptops”.