Today we commemorate the 158th anniversary of the International Telecommunication Union – or ITU – the United Nations’ specialized agency for telecommunication/information and communication technologies. Given the importance of the ITU’s role in connecting the world, this milestone is celebrated annually with World Telecommunication & Information Society Day (WTISD). WTISD 2023 is focusing on “Empowering the least developed countries through information and communication technologies,”1 while the ITU continues to invite the public and private sectors to pledge support for its Partner2Connect coalition to advance universal connectivity and digital transformation where help is most needed. AT&T joined this essential initiative last June with 3 company pledges, as well as a joint pledge with the United States Telecommunication Training Institute (USTTI):
AT&T and USTTI commit to delivering a structured network disaster recovery training program to regulators and telecom industry representatives, with a focus on those from Least Developed Countries (LDCs), Landlocked Developing Countries (LLDCs), and Small Island Developing States (SIDS).
Since the 1980s, AT&T and USTTI have enjoyed a strong and enduring relationship founded on the mutual goal of sharing expertise in the design and management of communications systems in the developing world. We recognize the critical importance of connectivity and the need for rapid restoration of communications to areas affected by disasters. Indeed, AT&T’s Network Disaster Recovery (NDR) program is one of the largest and most advanced of its kind.
Justin Williams, Technical Lead on AT&T’s NDR team, described the importance of this effort: “The AT&T Network Disaster Recovery team recently marked its 30-year anniversary and with it, 30 years of supporting and reconnecting our customers through the most difficult of disasters. These disasters have yielded three decades of invaluable learnings, improvements and innovation. This innovation and the critical training that underpins it, sit at the core of emergency communications. This exciting collaboration with USTTI bolsters our commitment to help close the digital divide and is matched only by our desire to see others successfully maintain communications though times of disaster.”
As part of our joint commitment with USTTI, we are delighted to share that this week we are hosting a training at our Irving, Texas campus to provide hands-on NDR and emergency communications training to regulators and telecom industry representatives from a range of developing countries including Belize, Costa Rica, Dominica, Jamaica, Ghana, Madagascar, Malaysia, Papua New Guinea, Saint Lucia, Saint Vincent and The Grenadines, Thailand, and Uzbekistan. AT&T and USTTI are presenting this program to provide an opportunity for stakeholders to learn from AT&T’s NDR experts but also to share their own best practices and lessons learned.
Jim O’Connor, USTTI Chairman and CEO, emphasized the value of these trainings, noting that, “AT&T was a founding Board Member of the USTTI more than 40 years ago. Over the past four decades, experts from AT&T have shared their knowledge and experience with USTTI scholars from around the world. This week’s important training addressing Emergency Communications and Network Disaster Recovery builds on that legacy and brings to reality our shared commitment to the ITU’s Partner 2 Connect Initiative. Through this training and our continued collaboration with AT&T we look forward to empowering the women and men who are leading their countries and fostering greater connectivity.”
AT&T teams are showcasing a range of topics covering recovery strategies and solutions, business impact analysis, crisis communications, and coordination with external agencies. Building on the lessons learned throughout the course, the session will culminate tomorrow with an interactive “table-top” exercise in which participants develop a response plan around a fictitious scenario of a typhoon on a small island country. They will consider what pre-planning can be done to accelerate the response, as well as how to assess recovery priorities to enable informed decisions.
When asked about his interest in participating in the training, Mir Elmir Alizada, Customer Engineer at AzerCosmos in Azerbaijan shared that, “Emergency communications is a very important field and I hope to get theoretical and practical knowledge of how AT&T works, implements business continuity plans, and organizes assessment of the situation to use this knowledge in the future.”
What a productive and rewarding week we’ve had with these leaders! We are inspired by their commitment to delivering resilient communications solutions in their respective countries and thank USTTI for their continued collaboration on this important initiative.
1 About World Telecommunication & Information Society Day (WTISD) – WTISD (itu.int)