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Design visions of past ensure future generations of networking

22 April 2009

Internet Society urges ITU to protect Internet's unique development model for future evolution and expansion

Lisbon, Portugal, 22 April 2009 - As delegations from around the world gather in Lisbon this week for the International Telecommunication Union's (ITU) World Telecommunication Policy Forum (WTPF), the Internet Society has issued a clear reminder of the need to respect and preserve the unique development model responsible for the Internet's unprecedented growth and success.

"The 'Internet Model' of collaborative development continues to underpin the Internet's contribution to innovation and creativity, supporting global deployment of innovative and often surprising applications," said Lynn St. Amour, President and CEO of the Internet Society, a member of the ITU's Informal Expert Group.

The Internet Model, which arose from a need for collaboration and knowledge sharing, is characterised by inclusive multistakeholder processes, open standards development, and decentralized responsibility for managing the various aspects of the Internet's technical and management functions.

"The opportunities and advantages of increasingly converged services arise specifically from the Internet's intrinsic design principles and development model, which together create a vibrant environment of innovation and creativity," said Ms St. Amour.

"Likewise, modern NGNs can be developed and deployed on the existing Internet because of visionary architectural decisions made literally decades ago. Indeed, today's NGNs will become tomorrow's legacy networks, replaced by applications running on the Internet, designed for as yet unknown future improvements,” said Ms St.Amour.

The WTPF, was established as a less formal venue for discussions than regular ITU meetings. It is not designed to produce prescriptive outcomes with the binding force of an international treaty, but rather to foster debate and seek multi-stakeholder consensus on ways forward.

In advance of this event, the ITU Secretary-General produced a report with "draft opinions” on a wide range of topics including: Convergence, Emerging Telecommunication policy and regulatory issues, Next Generation Networks (NGNs), and International Telecommunication Regulations.

These issues became the core of the WTPF's agenda and the Internet Society has contributed to the discussions by submitting views on key technical and development considerations pertinent to the agenda. However, such a broad agenda of challenging topics underlines, in the Internet Society's view, the strong need to include diverse inputs representing a range of expertise.

While the Internet Society welcomes the inclusion of ITU Sector Members in its discussions at the WTPF, it has encouraged the ITU Secretariat General to continue opening its conferences to all interested stakeholders and broadening participation beyond its Member States and Sector Members, to the Civil Society, the Internet community and the research community.

"We gather here this week in a challenging economic climate," said Ms. St.Amour. "At such a time, it is vital to preserve an environment that is proven to work; an environment that clearly enables the emergence of innovative solutions. The lessons of the past teach us that in this environment, Internet development thrives, in turn spurring economic and social development and contributing to all facets of human progress."

The Internet Society's involvement in the WTPF, including its background documents and comments on the Secretary General's report, is detailed here: www.isoc.org/ituwtpf

About the Internet Society

The Internet Society is a non-profit organization founded in 1992 to provide leadership in Internet related standards, education, and policy. With offices in Washington, DC, and Geneva, Switzerland, it is dedicated to ensuring the open development, evolution, and use of the Internet for the benefit of people throughout the world. More information...

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