Communication

Internet Governance Forum appeals for workshop newcomers

Advisory group responds to insider nature of annual meeting

Photo credit: Veni Markovski

A deadline for workshop proposals at this year's Internet Governance Forum (IGF) has been extended to 7 May.

The extension is an annual ritual but this time it will be limited to those that have not previously run a workshop - a decision taken "to encourage newcomers to submit workshop proposals", according to a message on the IGF website.

Living in a talk-shop bubble

How the MAG is undermining the IGF's credibility

Despite increasing relevance in the uncertain post-WCIT world, the advisory group to the Internet Governance Forum (IGF) remains incapable of fixing long-identified problems and is undermining its credibility.

[Revised] Draft International Telecommunication Regulations

Summary: 

This is the first revision of this document. Changes include:

* A new article 3.9
* A new article 6.X
* Some minor editorial changes

INTERNATIONAL TELECOMMUNICATION REGULATIONS

PREAMBLE

While the sovereign right of each State to regulate its telecommunications is fully recognized, the provisions of the present International Telecommunication Regulations (hereafter referred to as “Regulations”) complement the Constitution and Convention of the International Telecommunication Union, with a view to attaining the purposes of the International Telecommunication Union in promoting the development of telecommunication services and their most efficient operation while harmonizing the development of facilities for world-wide telecommunications.

[While implementing these Regulations Member States shall take into account their international obligations in relation to universal human rights].

Article 1

Purpose and Scope of the Regulations

1.1 a) These Regulations establish general principles which relate to the provision and operation of international telecommunication services offered to the public as well as to the underlying international telecommunication transport means used to provide such services.

Use of the terms recognized operating agencies/operating agencies and basic definitions

Summary: 

This is a revised version of a suggested compromise over use of the term "operating agencies". The original was met with significant opposition so this version offers three additional options.

Broadly, 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 companies. They are the ones currently impacted by the ITRs. Some countries want this changed to just "operating agencies" which some fear would then incorporate a huge number of other companies, especially Internet companies like Google or Facebook.

The four options in this document - including one that would simply remove the term altogether - are an effort to reach a compromise between the two sides.

Implications: 

This issue is at the heart of a much broader fight over how far an update to the ITRs should stretch into modern communications.

It is undeniable that much, if not most, communication in 2012 happens in a way that was not envisaged in the original ITRs. Some countries want the ITRs updated to incorporate all of this communication that is carried over data networks; other countries feel that the ITRs are the wrong tool, even if updated, to reflect the modern communications environment.

As such the issue of who exactly the ITRs are said to impact is fundamental and could have significant global implications depending on who exactly they are seen to encompass.

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:

Draft text for consensus

Summary: 

This is just an update of existing regulations but using the modern terminology and understanding of "quality of service".

View all proposals for Article 3.1 | For Article 3.4 | For Article 4.3

Implications: 

Simply an updating and modernizing of already agreed concepts in the ITRs.

Of course this is still subject to the broader argument of who the ITRs will apply to: operating agencies or "recognized operating agencies".

1. On Quality of Service

28 3.1 Members Member States shall endeavour to ensure that [administrations] cooperate in the establishment, operation and maintenance of the international network to provide a satisfactory quality of service.

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:

African common proposals for the work of the conference



Proposal:

To modify an existing provision, add a new provision or suppress a provision in the International Telecommunications Regulations (ITRs).


INTERNATIONAL TELECOMMUNICATION
REGULATIONS

NOC AFCP/19/1


PREAMBLE

Reasons: Title of the Preamble remains unchanged.

MOD AFCP/19/2#10897

Orientations for the review of the International Telecommunications Regulations (ITR)

The Administration of the Russian Federation considers that the International Telecommunication Regulations need reviewing in order to take account of today's situation in this area on the international market for equipment and services.

To this end, we propose for consideration:

1) Basic orientations for review of the International Telecommunication Regulations.

2) Proposals for possible action in regard to WATTC-88 resolutions, recommendations and opinions.

TABLE OF CONTENTS

International Telecommunication Regulations

Resolutions, recommendations, opinions 3

Preamble 4

Art. 1 - Purpose and scope of the regulations 4

Art. 2 - Definitions 4

Art. 3 - International network 5

Art. 4 - International telecommunication services 5

Art. 5 - Safety of life and priority of telecommunications 5

Art. 6 - Charging and accounting 6

Art. 7 - Suspension of services 6

Art. 8 - Security of telecommunication facilities and services. Quality of telecommunication services 6

Art. 9 - Special arrangements 6

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