Intelsat’s Global Telecommunications Meeting (GTM) last week in Washington, D.C., featured both rhetoric and insights, including some nuggets from a chief strategist at Verizon.

Keynoting the second day of GTM 2008 was International Telecommunications Union (ITU) Secretary General Dr. Hamadoun Toure. A UN agency, the ITU is involved in three areas: spectrum management, standardization and development. Toure challenged the satellite community to do more in the third category.

"Satellite communications must play a bigger role in bridging the digital divide," said Toure, a former Intelsat executive who has headed the ITU since January 2007.

Apart from helping the ITU "connect the unconnected," Toure said, satellite technology can play key roles in emergency work, cyber-security, climate change and food crises.

On a technical note, Toure said the broadband potential of the Ku-band "needs to be explored, and explored very fast."

Trained in Russia, Toure said the inspiration to become a satellite engineer came from hearing of the launch of Sputnik while a boy in the West African country of Mali. Verizon talks strategy A GTM panel participant, Verizon Director of Product Strategy Bobbi Phillips echoed Toure’s on the global reach of satellite.

"Verizon has significant international assets," she said. "You can’t get there with fiber."

Phillips said Verizon’s decision to deploy an IMS infrastructure will result in new services within 12 to 18 months and its plans to pursue the Long Term Evolution (LTE) was a work in progress, but she underscored continuity, not disruption, of the existing TDM network.

"(TDM) is not going away. We have to keep it up," she said.

Noting expected shortfalls in the U.S. labor market over the next 20 years, Phillips pointed to the international markets and suggested that "crowd sourcing" – a sort of social networking workforce tool – might help bridge that gap.

As for competition in the U.S. business services market, Phillips had a confession: "I spend a lot of time thinking about cable companies. People underestimate what they can do, and what they are doing … especially on Metro Ethernet."

But Verizon and cable diverge, with cable looking at small businesses "like consumers," she said. "We look at things differently, focusing on a business’ needs first."

– Jonathan Tombes Read more news and analysis on Communications Technology‘s Web site at

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