WCIT mid-conference (6 December 12)

Premium content


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


US government intervenes, raising questions about ICANN stewardship

Verisign shares have plunged 15 percent, wiping $850 million off the company's value, on the news that it will not be allowed to raise prices on dot-com domains for the next six years.

The current wholesale price for dot-coms stands at $7.85 and the company had already agreed a six-year extension on its right to exclusively sell the domains with DNS overseeing organization ICANN. That agreement mirrored one signed in 2006 that allowed Verisign to raise the price by seven percent in four of the six years the contract ran.

However the contract was subject to approval by the US Department of Commerce and it decided to remove the price-rise clause before signing. A short statement issued by the DoC quoted Assistant Secretary Larry Strickling saying that "consumer will benefit from Verisign's removal of the automatic price increase".


These predictions are part of a longer article on the conference covering how it will work and what has happened so far.

The topic of Charging and Accounting will be where there will be the most heated exchanges occur at the WCIT conference.

In a nutshell, some countries want to apply the traditional telecoms (think: telephone) pricing models onto the Internet. Nothing focuses the mind like billions of dollars in lost or gained revenue.

It is notable that the country that has been making the biggest noise about WCIT - the United States - has this issue of pricing as its number one priority.

It is no coincidence either that the ambassador (and so head of delegation) that has been specially chosen for WCIT, Terry Kramer, used to be a senior executive at Vodafone. Nor that Kramer has consistently identified the pricing issue as his number one priority at WCIT. Kramer is expected to have 101 reasons why the pricing model of the telephone should not apply to the Internet - and he may need them all.


These predictions are part of a longer article on the conference covering how it will work and what has happened so far.

Foolish as it may be, we have some predictions for what will happen between now and the end of WCIT. Here they are:

  • Nothing radical will appear in the ITRs. Instead it will be agreed that they will be reviewed in four or eight years' time and a range of working groups will be formed to work on various issues and report to the Council next year, take it to the ITU Plenipotentiary for initial review in 2014, and onto the World Telecommunication Standardization Assembly (WTSA) in 2016.
  • The United States will push its hand incredibly hard (bolstered by its huge delegation of industry representatives and over-excited civil society/Internet groups who have all persuaded each other of their own truth). It will threaten to take a reservation once too often and will end up being saved by either Canada or a European country.

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:


It’s not what you think

It must have come as quite a shock to the world to learn at the last minute that this week the United Nations is going to take over the Internet.

A wave of articles, op-ed pieces and interviews in the past few days have grown increasingly concerned about what will result from the WCIT conference in Dubai.

Just a few days ago, the Syrian government cut its country off from the Internet. Was this the future we are now all facing? Governments deciding what and when we can go online? Faceless bureaucrats monitoring everything we do?

As the claims grew hysterical - and the ITU became increasingly defensive and frustrated in response - the Internet itself started providing the world with the answers. Subject experts took to their keyboards and began to debunk the claims on both sides.

At the end of it, what does WCIT boil down to? An effort by old telecoms operators to make more money. An effort that, by the way, is likely to fail.

Premium content

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."


The Kenyans settle in at WCIT. Credit: ITU

After a busy start, WCIT started to settle down into a familiar mode on the second day of the conference. The main highlights were:

  • A bid by Canada and the US to get some key definitions agreed before work starts was pushed off until the end of the week
  • The meeting delegates all agreed that they agreed with freedom of expression and human rights but that they didn't want to write it into a telecoms treaty - a press release was produced instead
  • Russia's controversial new article covering the Internet was pushed into "informal discussions"
  • Ghana's idea to review the ITRs every eight years (rather than 24 years) was met aggressively by the United States.
  • The ITU's Secretary-General pushed access in developing countries and the high cost of Internet access, pointing to a likely strategy for the rest of the conference.

This article is published with permission. It was originally posted on InternetDistinction.com and TelecomTV on 2 December.

The Question to Ask About the WCIT

The key question that Internet advocates must ask as the ITU updates its International Telecommunications Regulations (ITRs) at the World Conference on International Telecommunications (WCIT) this week is: What is being legitimized by these proceedings?


The lowdown on Russia's contribution 27

Russian minister Nikolai Nikiforov will be a key influence in the conference outcomes.

Probably the only reason you're reading this post is because of fears that the United Nations will use the WCIT conference to gain power over the Internet.

The focal point for those fears has become a contribution by the Russian Federation, sent on 13 November - 10 days after the announced deadline - and then revised four days later.

Contribution 27 appears to confirm everything that people have been worrying about - an effort to use a revision of an international treaty agreed in 1988 to provide governments with additional controls over the functioning of the Internet.

So here is a rundown of what is exactly in Contribution 27 - both the original and revised versions - and an analysis of what the implications of its adoption would be.


The European Commission has released its own list of gTLD applications it is concerned about.


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".