In an address at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona (MWC23), Doreen Bogdan-Martin, General Secretary of International Telecommunication Union (ITU), noted that ITU intends to complete its vision on 6G and beyond in late 2023, which will in a first, incorporate the elements of energy efficiency and sustainability into the specifications for the sixth-generation technology. Besides, she also noted that ITU will make, for the first time, energy efficiency and environmental sustainability part of the specifications of 6G technology.
Further, she noted that the world is still playing catch up to making emerging technologies accessible to all. If the current status quo continues, it may take very long to achieve gender equality in closing the digital divide, she noted.
Meanwhile, Doreen further highlighted the challenges achieving the status quo. As per Doreen, the challenge is in recognising the finite resources, like radio frequency spectrum, and associated satellite orbits, which comprises the building blocks of advanced global communication system. For all of humanity, they need to be shared equitably and responsibly, while avoiding harmful interference. Doreen suggested that steps should be taken to reach a consensus on global technical standards to manage the integration of new technologies such as artificial intelligence (AI) and the internet of things (IoT) into telecoms networks to ensure that the networks are more efficient and sustainable. She is of the opinion that actions should also be taken to make connectivity a fundamental part of policies, citing that Brazil included requirements around connectivity to schools in its 5G spectrum auction.