Internet humbles UN telecoms agency

ITU forced to face modern realities as WCIT conference implodes

Having turned industries and governments upside down, the Internet has claimed its first organizational scalp, subjecting the United Nations' International Telecommunication Union (ITU) to a humiliating failure at the World Conference on International Telecommunications (WCIT) in Dubai earlier today.

No sooner had applause run out after a vote on what to include in the preamble to an updated global telecoms treaty than the United States took the floor and announced it would not sign it.

"It's with a heavy heart and a sense of missed opportunities that the U.S. must communicate that it's not able to sign the agreement in the current form," said Ambassador Terry Kramer. "The Internet has given the world unimaginable economic and social benefit during these past 24 years. All without UN regulation. We candidly cannot support an ITU Treaty that is inconsistent with the multi-stakeholder model of Internet governance."

[Revised] Draft new resolution: International Telecommunication Service Traffic Termination and Exchange


This is a revised version of the original document.


International Telecommunication Service Traffic Termination and Exchange

The World Conference on International Telecommunications (Dubai, 2012)

considering that

a) the transition from the dedicated phone and data networks to converged IP-based networks raises regulatory, technical and economic issues which need to be taken into consideration;

b) many Member States have expressed a need for the initiation and implementation of commercial agreements between authorized operating agencies and service providers of international services, with the objective of empowering all the participants in the new value chain;

c) concerns raised regarding the development of IP interconnection to maintain investment to satisfy future demand,

noting that

a) some Member States are observing a deterioration in the quality of international services and voice traffic;

b) ITU-T Study Group 3 is mandated to study the development of recommendations, resolutions and guidelines related to these issues;

Internet power-grab looms large as world conference enters final day

Vote taboo broken at WCIT as chair asks for "feel of the room"

Moment of the non-vote vote at 1am. Credit: Dominique Lazanski

Fears that the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) will award itself a role in governance of the Internet, despite the promises of its Secretary-General, are looming large on the last day of the World Teleconference on International Telecommunications (WCIT).

At the end of a confusing and fast-paced day of discussions yesterday, the issue that has haunted for the conference for the past six months finally exploded into the open with discussion of a new proposed resolution that would see the ITU "play an active and constructive role" in deciding the evolution of the global communications network.

WCIT petition attracts 500,000 online citizens

Half a million and counting...

More than a half a million people have signed an online petition calling on the ITU to reign in proposals that would given governments greater control over the Internet.

The 500,000 benchmark was reached at 7pm local time while attendees to the World Conference on International Telecommunications (WCIT) in Dubai reconvened for a night session where they hope to reach agreement on most changes to the International Telecommunication Regulations (ITRs).

First series of texts submitted by editorial committee to the plenary meeting

Annex: 4 pages

NOC R1/46/1


NOC R1/46/2

Article 1

Purpose and Scope of the Regulations

NOC R1/46/3

Article 2


NOC R1/46/4

13 For the purpose of these Regulations, the following definitions shall apply. These terms and definitions do not, however, necessarily apply for other purposes.

NOC R1/46/5

14 2.1 Telecommunication: Any transmission, emission or reception of signs, signals, writing, images and sounds or intelligence of any nature by wire, radio, optical or other electromagnetic systems.

NOC R1/46/6

Article 3

International Network

NOC R1/46/7

Article 4

International Telecommunication Services

NOC R1/46/8

Article 5

Safety of Life and Priority of Telecommunications

NOC R1/46/9

Article 7

Suspension of Services

MOD R1/46/10

Draft ITR text seeks role for ITU in Internet governance

Key concern of WCIT conference lives on

The International Telecommunication Union (ITU) is seeking to give itself a role in Internet governance, despite strong resistance and an earlier promise by its Secretary-General that it would not do so.

According to draft text of a revised version of the International Telecommunication Regulations (ITRs), being discussed currently at the WCIT conference in Dubai, the ITU would take an "active and constructive role in the multi-stakeholder model of the Internet". The draft resolution also notes that "all governments should have an equal role and responsibility for international Internet governance".

Additionally, a proposed new article 3.8 argues that countries should have the choice to opt-out of the global Internet addressing system and "be able to manage the naming, numbering, addressing and identification resources used within their territories".

New resolution on the changing telecommunication environment

The USA proposed significant changes to Resolution 4, in proposal USA/9A2/38. That proposal is found in DT/20 Rev.1. There was general support for these proposed changes, but it was agreed that it would be better to SUP the existing Resolution and to adopt the proposed changed text as a new Resolution. Further, it was agreed that the USA would coordinate with concerned countries to prepare a new version, in particular omitting the old considering d which referred to the 1988 ITRs.

The USA has undertaken those consultations and now presents the proposed new Resolution, which differs from the previous version only by deleting considering d.

SUP USA/48/1


The Changing Telecommunication Environment

MOD USA/48/2


The Changing Telecommunication Environment

The World Conference on International Telecommunications (Dubai, 2012),


a) Resolution 71 (Rev. Guadalajara, 2010), The Strategic Plan for the Union,

B.1 - First series of text from Editorial Committee to Plenary

The following texts are submitted to the Plenary Meeting for first reading:

NOC B1/43/1


NOC B1/43/2


MOD B1/43/3

WCIT splits over the issue of "operating agencies"

Telecoms conference can't move forward until it's agreed who the regulations will actually apply to

Conference chair Mohamed Nasser Al-Ghanim has put forward a compromise solution - but level of ambiguity means it is unlikely to be agreed to

The World Conference on International Telecommunications (WCIT) has dramatically split and may grind to a halt until a key distinction over whom precisely the resulting international treaty apply to is decided.

At the heart of the issue is the term "operating agencies". Currently the international telecommunication regulations (ITRs) apply only to "recognized operating agencies" - and that means large telecoms operators in each country1.

Some countries want that term changed to just "operating agencies", which would mean the ITRs become applicable to a vastly larger number of groups - in fact, "any individual, company, corporation or governmental agency which operates a telecommunication installation".

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