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Pacific nations view an emerging digital world.

Pacific Nations View an Emerging Digital World The setting for the conference was about as good as it gets, but few of the more than 500 telecommunications professionals from 36 countries attending PTC '86 managed to see much of Honolulu and the surrounding sights; they were too intent on the business at hand.

Converging at the Hawaiian Regent Hotel in Waikiki for the Pacific Telecommunications Council's eighth annual conference, the attendees from Pacific Rim countries were focusing on the "Evolution of the Digital Pacific," with some 125 speakers presenting their views on current and future developments in telecommunications and the consequent human-resource and training needs.

The Sunday afternoon opening session featured four keynote speakers: Richard Jacobsen, vice president-international of AT&T Communications; Richard Sedgwick, vice president and director of telecommunications Asia/Pacific for Bank of America; Park Hyon-Tae, president of the Korean Broadcasting System; and Toru Uechara, associate vice president of international affairs for Nippon Telegraph and Telephone in Japan.

AT&T's Jacobsen observed that in the past 20 years, and in the last five years in particular, "advances in telecommunications have been astounding. Speed and capacity records fall with ever-increasing frequency. And the quality of service is not only better, but the cost is less. Can you imagine the technology that will emerge in the next 20 years? It will be every bit as incredible as today's capabilities seem in comparison with those of 20 years ago. As we view the 1960s, so too will 2006 view us.

"Today, we are on the edge of a new era. Today, we have only cracked the door on an age brimming with possibilities for all nations, and for all walks of life. But getting there won't be easy. New complexities abound. And many of the old ones still remain. Standards differ. Politics differ. States of development and forms of ownership vary. Barriers to trade in goods and information rise and fall. Enormous obstacles. Enormous opportunities. Difficult challenges. But none that cannot be resolved. The key is cooperation. The result will be mutual gain."

According to Jacobsen, "Today, the movement and management of information is no longer a business convenience. It is a strategic resource that provides a real competitive edge. Most nations now realize that an advanced telecommunications infrastructure is not merely a desirable goal but a precondition for social progress and economic success. They realize that multinational companies are scouring the world for new markets and new production systems, and that these companies are increasingly basing their investment and location decisions on the availability of advanced digital-based telecommunications systems."

Bank of America's Richard Sedgwick offered views from a large user's perspective. And we mean large. He pointed out that Max Hopper, until recently head of Bank of America's systems and engineering, had pointed out the Bank of America spends upward of $180 million a year on telecommunications alone.

"Today," said Sedgwick, "a single company can build a private telecommunications network that has more capacity than all of the public networks that existed on earth in the early 1960s."

He went on to point out, "Telecommunications, which was for decades one of the stablest and most plannable industries, is racing headlong toward a computer-like state of continuous market-driven change despite all the efforts of powerful government-backed monopolies to stop it. The history of telecommunications has piled up huge resources in those nonopolies. Nobody has said it is easy to find the right transition to a competitive market after decades of government-regulated monopoly. But governments should be aiming for a state of affairs where it is just as reasonable for an entrepreneur to set up a telephone company as it is for him to start a computer company."

Discussing some of BifA's plans, Sedgwick said, "At Bank of America we are establishing system that will let us serve customers anywhere as if it was a single unit by linking our key centers. For example, our trader in Japan will know about a customer's position in London. The accounting and all the resources will be united and coordinated."

Sedgwick feels that "to provide opportunities for users growth, several clear needs must be identified: The development of rational and predictable tariff structures, minimizing cost; the generation of a user 'voice' to support and provide direction to the development of technology; shared development and applications programs with producing industry, preceded by awareness initiatives; stable, flexible standards, jointly developed, that allow innovative use of technology and that are unencumbered by restrictive regulatory practices; and a pragmatic machine that allows user participation in the basic process of standards writing."

Park Hyon-Tae, president of the Korean Broadcasting System, the host broadcaster for the 1988 Seoul Summer Olympics, said he's convinced that "the inseparable linkage of the Games, broadcasting and telecommunications in Seoul in 1988 will herald the beginning of what I call the Neo-modern Olympics."

Noting that while "the modern Olympiad is an internationalized version of the Greek Olympics, tge concept of the modern Olympic movement has undergone considerable change since the 1960s due to the appearance on the scene of communications satellites and the universal propagation of television receivers. The Games today transpire every bit as much in the global village as in their host city, and in this sense may be called Neo-modern Olympics. The whole earth has now become the Ollympic venue, and all mankind sits in the spectator stands."

The final keynote was delivered by Toru Uehara of Nippon Tel, covering the evolution of domestic telecommunications in Japan and the establishment of the Information Network System, (INS)--a nationwide digital network that Uehara calls "the most urgenwt and valued project of NTT."

PTC has headquarters in Honolulu and is governed by an international board of trustees. H. Rex Lee, chairman of the Public Service Satellite consortium, has just been named chairman of PTC. He was American Samoa's governor from 1961 to 1967 and an FCC commissioner from 1968 to 1974.

PTC's 87, scheduled for January 18 through 21 at the Sheraton Waikiki Hotel, will be organized around the theme of "Pacific Telecommunications: A Spectrum of Requirements."
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Author:Wiley, Don
Publication:Communications News
Date:Mar 1, 1986
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