Telecom Treaty Update Nears Completion

ITU Secretary-General Dr Hamadoun Touré

ITU reports that there is growing consensus around key issues as a revised global treaty on telecommunications nears completion.

ITU said in a statement that the formal mechanism for producing a consolidated input towards a revision of the International Telecommunication Regulations (ITRs) that shaped the ICT networks would see its final meeting June 20-22.

Alongside this Council group, regional preparatory meetings, information sessions and open consultations are the means used by ITU to solicit input and feedback from all its 193 Member States, its 700 private sector members – including many of the largest technology companies in the world – and 40 academic members, as well as non-member stakeholders.

The Council Working Group has seen some 100 input documents submitted by ITU’s membership.

Dr Hamadoun Touré, Secretary-General of the ITU said: “According to its mandate, ITU is convening this conference to update the only truly global treaty on telecommunications, a treaty which laid the foundations for today’s connected world. This is a unique opportunity for the world community to bring the benefits of the information society to all the world’s citizens.”

During a recent open consultation in Geneva, held during the WSIS Forum 2012 on 16 May, a well-attended three-hour session heard opinions from stakeholder groups including governments, private sector, academia, international organizations and a wide range of representatives from civil society.

At an open consultation in Brussels in April, participants agreed that revisions to the treaty should facilitate the benefits of Internet being brought to all the peoples of the world in particular by encouraging broadband roll-out and investment and foster the right conditions to allow markets to flourish within a long term vision backed by sustainable business models.

The two-year long preparation process is now achieving a degree of convergence on some of the high-level principles.

Emerging themes for inclusion in the revised ITRs include: the right to communicate; security in the use of ICTs and the protection of national resources; taxation; international mobile roaming; misuse and hijacking of international numbers and interoperability.

Data volumes are increasing much faster than the infrastructure needed to carry it, and there is a risk of a lack of investment in the development of the infrastructure. This is also something that could be addressed at the WCIT.

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