Organization: ITU

ITU is the International Telecommunication Union and is the semi-autonomous arm of the United Nations that has traditionally dealt with telecommunications (including radio spectrum, satellite orbits, telco standards and telecoms infrastructure).

The ITU is an inter-governmental body created in 1865 and based in Geneva. In recent years it has allowed for some involvement from business and other stakeholders.

Most recent ITU articles | Most popular ITU articles

3 December 2012

Everything you need to know about how WCIT will pan out

ITU Secretary-General Hamadoun Toure opens the conference. He has a lot on his plate. Credit: ITU

WCIT has got off to a quick and effective start.

Having spent much of the past year preparing for the conference and notwithstanding a number of last-minute contributions, the governments of the world are ready for what will be a contentious conference.

The first day saw the heads of delegations meet and thrash out agreements that their staff had already largely agreed. Then came the opening ceremony and a stage-managed but important display of support between the ITU and ICANN. The message was plain: WCIT will not be about Internet governance.

That's not to say there aren't important and contentious issues coming over the next two weeks. Most significant are:

30 November 2012
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Arab State push to become an RIR turned into working group

Efforts to make the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) into a supra-regional Internet registry have been ditched, at least for the time being.

Attendees at the World Telecommunication Standardization Assembly (WTSA) were surprised with a last-minute proposal, aggressively pushed by the Arab States, that the ITU become a provider of IP addresses.

Discussion within Committee 4 had been focused on the allocation of IP addresses and in particular the provision of IPv6 address blocks.

In the middle of discussions, however, draft text was introduced that argued "many countries believe that there are historical imbalances related to IPv4 allocation". It added: "Many developing countries want ITU-T to become an additional registry of IP addresses in order to give the developing countries the option of obtaining IP addresses directly from ITU."

30 November 2012
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Document 117-E

29 November 2012

WTSA Chairman

Chairman’s proposal for draft Revised Resolution 64 regarding “[considering f]”


[f)] that many developing countries want ITU-T to become a registry of IP addresses in order to give the developing countries the option of obtaining IP addresses directly from ITU, whilst other countries prefer to use the current system;

instructs the Director of the Telecommunication Standardization Bureau,

  1. to conduct a feasibility study on the necessary action that would enable ITU-T to become a registry of IPv6 addresses, in consultation with the relevant bodies, in order to assist those Member States which require support in the management and allocation of IPv6 resources.
  2. to present the report of this study to Council 2013

invites Council 2013

to consider the Director TSB report on this study and submit it for consideration by the Plenipotentiary Conference 2014;

invites Plenipotentiary Conference 2014

30 November 2012

Chehade aims to "bring clarity" over organization's role

ICANN's CEO and chair will attend the opening ceremony of the World Conference on International Telecommunications (WCIT) as the guest of the ITU and the government of the United Arab Emirates.

The invitation, as well as the decision to accept, is noteworthy after more than a decade of barely concealed mistrust and contempt between the two organizations.

Clearly expecting some criticism from the Internet community for attending the event, CEO Fadi Chehade pre-recorded an interview in which he gave his reasons for attending.

"It’s time to engage," Chehade said in the ICANN-produced tape, arguing for a "new season of understanding" and pledging to avoid the "public wars" between the two organizations. He also stated that both the ITU and ICANN have roles that are "clearly separated and well-defined" but that they may be "confusion" over what those roles are. He would bring clarity to the situation.

29 November 2012

Note: drop-down menu will only appear when users sign in to .Nxt

Track progress at WCIT in real-time and with the actual words

Starting today and running through to the end of the WCIT conference on 14 December, .Nxt will be making every proposed change to the International Telecommunication Regulations accessible with a single mouse-click.

With hundreds of changes (we count 908 so far) spread across dozens of documents, it is extremely difficult, if not impossible to make sense of what the substantive changes are that will be discussed at the WCIT conference starting on Monday, 3 December 2012. Even if you have the documents, which come in Word doc or PDF format.

So we have inputted every proposed change into a database and broken them out by article in the ITRs, including the many new proposed articles.

29 November 2012

So which one are you, ITU?

Just when you thought the shouting over the WCIT meeting couldn't get any more shrill…

The conference, run the by the ITU and reviewing the 1988 International Telecommunication Regulations (ITRs), starts next week.

But rather than discussions growing more sober and serious as discussions grow close (and despite some IT journalists' efforts to provide honest summaries) the past week has seen an increasingly aggressive stance from US-based groups who fear the conference will adversely impact the Internet… and their influence on the Internet.

The normally diplomatic Vint Cerf (Father of the Internet, ex-ICANN chair and Google's "chief Internet evangelist") stole headlines when he used a Reuters interview to launch an attack on the ITU itself.

29 November 2012

The European Parliament has joined the voices protesting against the upcoming WCIT conference by approving a resolution that some of the proposals under consideration "could seriously threaten the open and competitive nature of the internet".

More worrying for the organization running the conference, the International Telecommunication Union (ITU), the 12-point resolution incorporates a point repeatedly pushed by the United States in recent weeks - that the organization itself is not the correct place for such discussions.

Point five in the resolution reads:

The ITU, or any other single, centralised international institution, is not the appropriate body to assert regulatory authority over either internet governance or internet traffic flows

29 November 2012

The WCIT conference will revise the existing International Telecommunication Regulations (ITRs). This whole exercise will comprise retaining, deleting or editing existing regulations or adding new regulations to the list.

We have broken down every proposals for change to its particular regulation or proposed new regulation and placed them on a single page for easy review. Each regulation is listed below with hyperlinks to those individuals pages.

28 November 2012

The following post and its three companion pieces are reproduced by permission. It was originally published on 19 June 2012 at

This is the fourth in a series of posts on the potential implications of proposed changes and additions to the ITU’s international telecommunications regulations (ITRs) on the internet (earlier posts are here, here and here).

28 November 2012

The following post and its three companion pieces are reproduced by permission. It was originally published on 14 June 2012 at

This is the third in a series of posts on the supposed threat of an ITU/UN take-over of the internet. As I’ve already said in two previous posts (here and here), I think the charges are vastly overblown, although there are interesting things to argue about and legitimate worries to be had.

Facts and Norms

There might also be victories for global internet governance to be had, if we take the ITU’s role seriously and that it, in turn, adopts only regulatory guiding principles that meet a minimum standard of liberal norms governing markets, human rights, a free press and freedom of expression.

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