World Telecommunication Day 2023 is Being Celebrated Today, Learn its Historical Significance

World Telecommunication and Information Society Day is observed every May 17 to raise awareness of the Internet and other information and communication technologies (ICT) and its potential to bring monumental changes to societies and economies and to bridge the digital divide. This year, the WTISD is being marked with the theme “Empowering the least developed countries through information and communication technologies.”

World Telecommunication Day 2023

May 17  marks the anniversary of the signing of the first International Telegraph Convention and the establishment of the International Telecommunication Union (ITU). United Nations state that World Telecommunication Day has been celebrated every year on May 17, since 1969.

ITU was established in 1865 and has been supporting its member countries in issues such as strategy and frequency management necessary for the development of telecommunications around the world.

Historical significance

In 2005, the World Summit on the Information Society call the UN General Assembly to call it the World Information Society Day. WTISD celebration consists of events worldwide with programs such as conferences, seminars, workshops, and exhibitions. Policymakers, governments, technology enthusiasts, and people from the ICT sector all join in on this monumental day and engage on the premises and potentials of technology, emerging trends, challenges, etc.

The day also involves discussions on possibilities and opportunities ICT has to offer, how it can bridge the digital divide, promote inclusion, and realize Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Especially in underdeveloped countries, the stakeholders discuss how ICT can help reduce inequalities among individuals and communities.

While, the focus in the initial stages was on the expansion of the internet and technology, later, the concentration shifted towards improving the quality. ITU actively works on plans, policies, and initiatives to help curb the digital divide by promoting the Internet and telephone in the global environment. The world is currently transitioning towards 5G which is expected to drive up revenue worth $315 billion in 2023 while legacy networks are being phased out worldwide.

Martin Cooper, the man who made the first phone call | Credit: CNN

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ICT Goals 2023

United Nations has set the following goals for the ICT industry:

  • Raising awareness about Information Technology for the development of socioeconomic aspects of society.
  • Ensuring all access to ICT to reduce the digital divide.
  • Promoting the use of ICT in education, health, and other social development goals.
  • Ensuring the use of ICT in inclusivity and honoring human rights.
  • Using technologies for sustainable development.

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How to celebrate?

Acquaintance with the History of Telecommunications: The history of telecommunication is long and riveting. It starts with telegraphy and telephony, and the beginning of the internet.

Involvement in the community: Being involved in the community helps to reduce the digital divide. It can start with some voluntary endeavors.

Using social media to raise awareness: The Internet and technology are very powerful tools. They possess the power to affect our society to a remarkable effect. The ITU Day encourages people to use social media as well as the internet and technology to raise awareness about the importance of information and communication technologies. People can share information about the WTISD on social media groups, and channels, and get others involved.  

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