Remarks by Deputy Secretary of Commerce Don Graves at First Plenary Meeting of the International Telecommunication Union’s Conference

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The United States is committed to making further progress on ensuring all our citizens are connected and improving both the level and the quality of telecommunications. We are working to ensure that every American has access to affordable high-speed internet, to invest in resilient infrastructure and more secure networks, and to use technology that aligns with our values. We are also committed to working with the international community to achieve universal affordable connectivity; to close digital divides, including the gender digital divide; to equip people with digital skills; to promote a secure and resilient digital environment; and to leverage ICTs to tackle challenges like food security and climate change. To support this work, I am pleased to announce that the United States plans to increase our assessed contribution rate to the ITU from 30 contributory units to 35 contributory units at this Plenipotentiary Conference. That increase represents an additional 1.59 million Swiss francs per year to support the work of the ITU. The United States was also very excited to join the Partner2Connect Digital Coalition, or P2C, recently launched at the World Telecommunication Development Conference in Kigali. In just a few months, a coalition of UN agencies, governments, and the private sector have received over 450 pledges from partners in over 100 countries – that is 26 billion USD worth of resources for the people that need it most.  P2C is not just an extraordinary achievement for an international organization – it shows us what can be accomplished when we come together to tackle global problems.

Remarks by Deputy Secretary of Commerce Don Graves at International Telecommunication Union’s Conference