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14 December 2012

Friday December 14th

After two long weeks, WCIT has concluded.  We have listened carefully to the proposals and discussions amongst Member States and now, it is time to look forward and take the lessons learned to advance the growth of communications worldwide.  Clearly, some countries are facing a range of complex development challenges in bringing about the full benefits of the Internet to their citizens.   As we have for over 20 years, the Internet Society remains fully committed to playing a key role to bring about solutions that are consistent with a global, interoperable, and open Internet that benefits everyone.

Below is a short summary of some key issues for the Internet Society:

  • The issue of scope remains somewhat ambiguous and it will be important to monitor actual implementation of these regulations to determine whether some countries apply the treaty provisions to a broader group of providers than were previously subject to the 1988 treaty.
  • The treaty explicitly states that “these Regulations do not address the content-related aspects of telecommunications”.
  • References to ITU-T Recommendations do not give those Recommendations mandatory status.
  • Treaty definitions of Telecommunications and International Telecommunications were not changed.  New term ICT was not included.
  • Numbering provisions in the ITRs are limited to references to “numbering resources specified in ITU-T Recommendations” and do not extend to naming, numbering and identification resources.
  • Quality of Service provisions are open to interpretation and their impact will depend on the interpretation of scope.
  • Member States are given responsibility to ensure the security and robustness of international telecommunications services.
  • Member States are given responsibility to prevent the propagation of unsolicited bulk electronic communications.  
  • Accounting Rate principles for international telecommunication services do not apply to commercial agreements.
  • Resolution (non-binding) entitled “To foster an enabling environment for the greater growth of the Internet” selectively quotes from the WSIS Tunis Agenda and seems to expand the role of the ITU rather than encouraging greater participation in the multistakeholder Internet governance model as envisioned by the WSIS.
  • Resolution (non-binding) entitled “International telecommunication service traffic termination and exchange” opens the issue of private commercial agreements for international telecommunications traffic and suggests a role for Member States.  It also calls for further work of the ITU-T in this area.
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Disclaimer: Viewpoints expressed in this post are those of the author and may or may not reflect official Internet Society positions.

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