chair

The highlights and low points of WCIT

It was both very fast and painfully slow. The key moments


Iran forces a vote, and presages the end of WCIT. Credit: ITU

One thing that everyone could agree on in the build-up to the World Conference on International Telecommunications was that anything could happen during the two weeks in Dubai.

The logic of forcing the world's governments into a box to rewrite a global treaty that has stood for 24 years in just 14 days may be questionable, but it definitely creates an event and along with that moments that stand out and set the general tone and atmosphere of the meeting itself.

Here are that main ones from WCIT 2012:


Highlights

Opening ceremony

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 Plenary "vote" on Internet resolution

>> CHAIR: ...
We go now to the primary draft resolution to foster an enabling environment for the greater growth of the Internet. This resolution has been also part of the long discussion and the -- with the Regional groups and this was part of the compromise text that was put forward to you but the meeting was carefully written. It was -- we have taken it in the group, line-by-line, as a matter of fact as a matter of fact, Secretary-General read it line-by-line to the group, and it's put before you for consideration.
I'll proceed with the title. I see no objection. Recognizing A. I see no objection. Recognizing B. Thank you.
Recognizing C. Thank you.
Recognizing D.
Egypt?
>> EGYPT: Yes, we would like to suggest another text for D that reads the following: "Recognizing that the existing arrangements for Internet Governance have worked effectively to make the Internet the highly robust, dynamic and geographically diverse medium it is today, with the private sector taking the lead in day-to-day operation and with innovation and value creation at the edges."
This is paragraph 55 from the Tunis agenda. .
>> CHAIR: Bulgaria?

Report of the Chairman of Committee 5

Review

1. Committee 5 was created by the Plenary with the Terms of Reference shown in Document 34 and allocation of documents listed in Document DT/18. The following management team was appointed:

· Mr Joshua K. PEPRAH (Ghana), Chairman;

· Mr Al-Mashakbeh ALANSARI (Jordan), Vice-Chairman;

· Mr Bob HORTON (Australia), Vice-Chairman;

· Mr Luis F. LUCATERO (Mexico), Vice-Chairman;

· Mr Albert B. NALBANDIAN (Armenia), Vice-Chairman;

· Mr Frédéric RIEHL (Switzerland), Vice-Chairman;

· Mr Richard HILL and Mr Alexander NTOKO, Secretaries.

2. Two Working Groups were created under Committee 5, as shown in Document 34. The majority of proposals were first discussed in the two working groups, before being referred back to Committee 5.

WCIT goes dark: deadlock hits key telecoms conference

Chair leads even smaller group of regional representatives in crunch talks

The World Conference on International Telecommunications (WCIT) is going dark with just one day left to rewrite the international telecommunication regulations (ITRs) and a number of significant issues remaining unresolved.

Despite 1,700 participants representing 189 different countries and organizations, large sections of the text will be decided by a group of 24 regional representatives this afternoon.

The decision to call the closed meeting, without many of the issues ever having been discussed in plenary sessions, has been a conscious strategy adopted by the chair and ITU throughout the meeting.

But while that approach has kept embarrassing public fights to a minimum, it also raises serious questions over the ITU's processes and ability to act a global convener and resolver of modern telecoms issues, particularly when it comes to the Internet.

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".

Use of the terms recognized operating agencies / operating agencies

Summary: 

The conference is split over who exactly is impacted by the ITRs themselves. "Recognized operating agencies" are a much small subset of companies - mostly traditional telecoms company - are they are the ones currently impacted by the ITRs. Some countries want this changed to just "operating agencies" which would then incorporate a huge number of other companies, especially Internet companies like Google or Facebook.

This document outlines a suggested compromise by the chair of the meeting: one that is unlikely to pass given the current weight of opposition to it.

Implications: 

If adopted, this compromise would greatly expand the impact of the ITRs to all those companies that use data networks, rather than those that simply operate them i.e. Google will become included rather than just, say, British Telecom, Italia Telecom or AT&T.

That would have far-reaching implications for the ITRs, ITU and overall Internet economy.

1. As agreed in the opening plenary, the Chairman of the conference would conduct informal discussions regarding the issue of the use of the terms Operating Agency (OA) and Recognized Operating Agency (ROA). These informal discussions were subsequently extended to include the topic of “basic definitions”, in particular the proposed ADD of 14A (telecommunications/ICTs) and 15A (international telecommunication/ICT service).

I. ROAs/OAs

2. Relevant provisions found in the Constitution are as follows:

Extracts of Council Summary Records

The Review of the International Telecommunications Regulations (ITRs) was discussed during the 8th and 10th plenary sessions of Council 2009. The Summary Records of those sessions were published as documents C09/119 and C09/121. The sections related to the ITRs are reproduced below.

Document C09/119

1 Review of the International Telecommunication Regulations (Documents C09/6, C09/65, C09/78)

1.1 The representative of TSB introduced Document C09/6, which was the final report of the Expert Group established under Resolution 146 (Antalya, 2006).

1.2 The observer from the Syrian Arab Republic, introducing Document C09/65, said that his administration proposed that the Council adopt a draft resolution on preparations for the world conference on international telecommunications (WCIT) with a view to setting up a preparatory committee for WCIT-12.

NomCom leadership refuses to respond to criticism

One day after ICANN's crucial nominating committee was faced with serious accusations of misconduct, its leadership has responded… by refusing to discuss any of the allegations made against them.

Councillors of ICANN's main policy body, the GNSO, were surprised yesterday when chair Vanda Scartezini and chair-elect Yrjo Lansipuro refused to respond to allegations made by former chair-elect Rob Hall.

Hall resigned after he said he was "sickened" by the committee's behavior as it chose three members of the ICANN Board earlier this year. He claims that committee members had engaged in serious lobbying; ignored formal advice from the ICANN Board; promoted colleagues ahead of better qualified candidates; and used the committee as a source of free travel and accommodation to ICANN meetings.

"These are some very serious allegations," a GNSO councilor told Scartezini and Lansipuro, "what measures will you take to ensure they are precluded next year?" Lansipuro responded that he "did not recognize" the committee as described by Hall, nor the "person who was quoted".

"Sickening" NomCom must be reformed, says ex-chair

Rob Hall decries lobbying, inexperience and damaging insider nature of crucial ICANN body

The ex-chair of ICANN's Nominating Committee has called for an "open and frank" discussion to reform what he says is a fatally flawed, even corrupt, process that selects half of the organization's Board members.

"I am deeply concerned about how the NomCom functions," Rob Hall told .Nxt, "and I could not change it from within."

Among the extraordinary accusations Hall levels at the committee are: determined lobbying reflecting politics in other parts of the organization; use of the Committee to provide free travel support to ICANN meetings; an insider culture that promotes friends and colleagues ahead of more qualified candidates; and a refusal to listen to formal advice from ICANN's own Board of Directors.

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