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 Monday, February 23, 2009

The ITU has launched new partnerships to help 13 Pacific Island countries develop information and communications technology (ICT) in the region.

In a joint communiqué issued at the end of the Pacific ICT Ministerial Forum, held in Tonga, senior officials from the 13 countries called for greater coordination to minimize overlap in ICT initiatives and maximize the impact of investments in development projects. The ministers, including two Prime Ministers, called for rapid implementation of regional connectivity projects and for reinforced efforts to create more ICT professionals and a workforce with technical skills.

“The Pacific Island countries have clearly stated their objectives and priorities,” said Director of the ITU Telecommunication Development Bureau, Sami Al Basheer Al Morshid. “ITU is fully committed to work with our partners in delivering results for the Pacific Island States,” added Mr. Al Basheer, who announced several new partnerships to assist the countries. “We are building on the expertise and resources of all interested partners to reinforce our collective impact on ICT development in the Pacific.” The Pacific Island ministers also directed officials to work towards establishing a shared regulatory resource centre and encouraged regional States to make full use of ICT for early warning and response systems to improve disaster preparedness.

See the full ITU press release here.

Monday, February 23, 2009 8:09:50 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Friday, May 16, 2008

As part of the ITU Cybersecurity Internship Programme, ITU launches the 2008 Cybersecurity Essay Competition. The purpose of the ITU Cybersecurity Internship Programme, and related 2008 ITU Cybersecurity Essay Competition, is to increase cybersecurity awareness and give young people, especially from developing countries, exposure to the main issues related to cybersecurity and to the ongoing work of ITU in this area. It is hoped that the fellowships granted to promising students and recent graduates from ITU Member States through the cybersecurity essay competition will help build cybersecurity capacity in developing countries as these interns will be exposed to ITU cybersecurity activities, learn about the main international and regional actors in this field, and constructively contribute with their country-specific insights into ITU cybersecurity-related work. The competition is open to current students and recent graduates in economics, political science, law, literature, computer science, information systems and related fields, between the ages of 20 and 30 years old.

For more information about the programme and competition, visit the programme website.

Friday, May 16, 2008 9:26:41 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Monday, April 21, 2008

Six new standards enabling a more secure ICT environment have been approved by ITU. Experts say that the standards represent an important achievement reflecting the needs of business in establishing risk management strategies and the protection of consumers.

Three ITU-T Recommendations cover a definition of cybersecurity, a standardized way for vendors to supply security updates and guidelines on spyware. While the other three focus on countering the modern day plague of spam by providing a toolbox of technical measures to help consumers and service providers.

Recommendations on spam are a direct response to a call from the World Telecommunication Standardization Assembly (WTSA), the quadrennial event that defines study areas for ITU-T. Members asked that ITU-T define technical measures to tackle this plague of the digital world following growing global concern at additional costs and loss of revenue to Internet service providers, telecoms operators and business users.

Read the full news article on the ITU-T newslog.

Monday, April 21, 2008 3:08:28 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Monday, February 25, 2008

The ITU-T newslog featured the following entry last Friday:

Senior technical experts have laid down the gauntlet on energy saving in information and communication technologies (ICTs) following a recent meeting in Geneva. Following tutorials on power saving, at a February meeting of ITU-T’s Study Group 15, experts agreed to work towards a proposed percentage reduction of power consumption in broadband technologies. The aim is for the agreed figure to form part of a Resolution from the upcoming World Telecommunication Standardization Assembly. Reduction of power consumption should and can be done without the degradation of services according to experts.

The UN Secretary-General, Ban Ki-moon has also underlined ITU’s role here saying: "ITU is one of the very important stakeholders in the area of climate change." ITU representatives made a statement at the UN Conference on Climate Change in, illustrating how ICTs are both a cause and a potential cure for climate change.

Speaking during the event attended by over 100 representatives from the ICT industry worldwide for each of its three, hour-long sessions, the Deputy Secretary-General of ITU, Houlin Zhao expressed appreciation that the meetings had proven so popular at such an early stage of the work. He pointed out that ICTs are responsible for 2.5 per cent of carbon emissions. This is roughly the equivalent of the airline industry and would require our urgent attention, he said.

The issue of power saving will be discussed within the wider context of climate change at ITU Symposia on ICTs and Climate Change to be held 15-16 April 2008 in Kyoto (Japan) and hosted by the Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications and 17-18 June 2008 in London (Great Britain) and hosted by British Telecom. The events are part of a new initiative by ITU to better understand how ICTs can help mitigate and adapt to climate change as well as monitoring its impact.

Experts speaking at the SG 15 tutorials pointed to inefficiencies in terms of end-device power consumption level compared to the signal power. The deployment of passive optical network (PON) technology is of particular concern as operators worldwide rollout this new technology that some predict will massively increase power demands. Some simple measures, for example specifying power saving modes in network terminations such as: ‘asleep’, ‘standby’, as well as ‘on’ and ‘off’, were cited by speakers. It was also noted that next-generation networks (NGN) can lower greenhouse gas emissions by reducing network complexity, and introducing equipment that is more tolerant to natural climatic conditions and therefore does not require air conditioning. Smart buildings, energy supply and transport industries must all play their part in achieving greenhouse gas reductions.

A first and completed task of the ITU experts has been to create a power saving checklist for standards authors. Malcolm Johnson, Director of the Telecommunication Standardization Bureau, ITU congratulated SG 15 for responding so quickly to the request to address climate change. He urged all Study Groups to start the process of reviewing their Recommendations (ITU’s name for standards) according to the new checklist and assign appropriate metrics regarding reduction of greenhouse gases.

The checklist is intended to ensure that standards are drafted taking into account the most economic and energy-efficient solution, particularly related to energy saving in networks. Experts propose that each new ITU-T Recommendation should contain a clause that identifies its impact on climate change and demonstrates ways that it contributes towards emission reduction, covering both production and the use of the equipment.

To ensure that this work is completed with the highest degree of efficiency there is broad consensus that ITU action has to be taken into account collaborating in partnerships with other bodies working in the field and that everything is done to avoid duplication of work.

For activities carrying out in ITU's Telecommunication Development Sector on ICTs and climate change and e-environment, click here.

Monday, February 25, 2008 10:46:43 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Friday, February 22, 2008

The ITU Regional Cybersecurity Forum ended yesterday following the adoption of the Doha Declaration on Cybersecurity. The ITU Workshop on Frameworks for Cybersecurity and Critical Information Infrastructure Protection (CIIP) was held in Doha, Qatar, 18−21 February 2008 in collaboration with the Qatar Supreme Council of Information and Communication Technology (ictQATAR) and the Qatar Centre for Information Security (Q-CERT). Over 80 representatives from 18 countries in the Arab region as well as key regional organizations including the League of Arab States, Gulf Cooperation Council, and United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia, participated in the Forum.

"Global interconnectivity creates new interdependencies and risks that need to be managed at national, regional and international levels," said Mr Sami Al Basheer Al Morshid, Director of ITU’s Telecommunication Development Bureau. "The formulation and implementation by all nations of a national framework for cybersecurity and critical information infrastructure protection represents a significant first step in addressing the challenges arising from globally interconnected ICT infrastructures."

During the event, the role of governments in leading national cybersecurity efforts was discussed as well as the critical role of the private sector and other groups in developing policy and law aimed at the implementation and operation of a national cybersecurity strategy. The Forum stressed the importance of reviewing national cybercrime legislation to address threats in cyberspace and called for a national focal point for cyber-incident management to strengthen watch, warning, investigation, response and recovery. Discussions were also held on the necessity of promoting a national culture of cybersecurity to ensure that all users, owners and operators of information systems and networks know their responsibilities with regard to security and develop appropriate tools to combat cyber attacks.

Referring to the recent damage to undersea optical cables, said to have been caused by an adrift ship anchor according to the operator FLAG, Mr Al Basheer said that experience is the hardest teacher. "Whatever the cause, whether intentional or not, whether cybercrime or a mundane accident, the lesson we take away is that every nation needs to organize itself to take coordinated action related to the prevention of, preparation for, response to, and recovery from cyber incidents," said Mr Al Basheer.

Read more of the ITU press release here.

Friday, February 22, 2008 9:46:59 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Friday, February 01, 2008

The ITU Telecommunication Standardization Sector announces the Study Group 15 tutorials on energy saving techniques to be held on 13-15 February 2008. This activity is in the context of ITU-T's efforts to address climate change issues. "A checklist for developers of standards is already under development in SG 15. The technologies considered in the list include optical transport networks and access network transport technologies such as digital subscriber line (DSL) and Gigabit-capable Passive Optical Networks (GPON). Together these technologies represent a significant consumption of energy worldwide. The idea is that the checklist is applied before the work commences, during the work and after the completion of the work. The use of the checklist should ideally be complemented by involving energy efficiency experts and users in the process."

Other topics in the tutorials include energy efficient Ethernet and opportunities and techniques for power saving in DSL and PON. Also, a general introduction to the issues surrounding ICTs and climate change, (to be addressed in two upcoming ITU Symposia on ICTs and Climate Change), and an update on the outcome of the UN Climate Change Conference in Bali, December 2007, will also be discussed.

More updates on this event on the ITU-T Newslog.
More information on ITU-D's activities involving ICTs and the environment (e-Environment) here.

Friday, February 01, 2008 2:11:17 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Monday, September 10, 2007

The ITU News Nº 7 September-October 2007 edition features in its Cybersecurity Watch the Cybersecurity Work Programme for Developing Countries. The purpose of the Cybersecurity Watch column is to share information on ITU activities and initiatives related to cybersecurity and countering spam. More information on ITU activities in the domain of cybersecurity can be found at here. ITU–D's ICT Applications and Cybersecurity Division has information on its ongoing projects, resources and publications to assist ITU Member States, including an overview of the ITU Cybersecurity Work Programme for Developing Countries, as well as information on the toolkits mentioned in the article at the CYB website. Details on related workshops and other events can be found here.

Monday, September 10, 2007 11:13:43 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Thursday, June 21, 2007

28-31 Aug 2007 The ITU, in collaboration with the Viet Nam Ministry of Posts and Telematics and with support from the government of Australia, will be hosting a workshop 28-31 August 2007 entitled Regional Workshop on Frameworks for Cybersecurity and Critical Information Infrastructure Protection in Hanoi, Viet Nam.

The description of the event, draft agenda, invitation letter, and practical information for meeting participants is available on the event website. Further information is available from cybmail@itu.int.

Thursday, June 21, 2007 8:33:04 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Thursday, June 07, 2007

ITU has developed an online tool to keep track of crucial ICT security standards work through a single access point. The guide called the ICT Security Standards Roadmap brings together information about existing standards and work in progress by the world's key standards developers. It is a collaborative effort between ITU, the European Network and Security Information Agency (ENISA) and the Network and Information Security Steering Group (NISSG).

Thursday, June 07, 2007 9:45:14 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Friday, February 02, 2007
Friday, February 02, 2007 1:13:35 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Wednesday, January 24, 2007

A short video providing an introduction to the work of ITU-T's Study Group 9 and the events surrounding the meeting was made by Mayumi Matsumoto, Rapporteur for Q.5/9, at the last meeting of the group, held 2 - 6 October, 2006 in Tokyo.  The video contains a demonstration of technologies for emerging broadband services in the home and interviews with some of the exhibitors.

The link to the video can be found here.

Wednesday, January 24, 2007 11:16:09 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Friday, January 19, 2007

The ITU workshop The Future of Voice held on the 15th and 16th of January 2007 in Geneva, Switzerland looked, inter alia, at the voice traffic and revenue trends in the last fifteen years.

On the global level, local and national long-distance reported telephone minutes per capita were growing in the 1990s and stably falling since the beginning of the new decade. A notable exception of the general rule is the US experiencing continuous growth in the number of local minutes: in 15 years, the number of local minutes per capita has grown four-fold. The international outgoing traffic grew significantly over the last fifteen years: in the Republic of Korea, in 2005 it was 15 times more intensive than in 1990, in the US – five times. Even though, since the beginning of the new century, the international voice traffic tends to slowly decrease.

If we look at the global telecom revenue, we will see the stable global expansion of the sector over the whole period. Voice revenue as a percentage of the total remains stable, while the traffic generated by users has doubled. In 2004, as in 1991, voice constituted more than 80% of telecom revenue surpassing, by far, income from any other source. In the coming years, voice is expected to stay strong driven by falling prices and increasing volumes of traffic.

What are the drivers behind these trends? Enlarged number of users, competition and market liberalization, enhanced innovation and emerging alternative communication platforms, migration to all-IP environment or all of these and more? The dynamics of development of the telecom sector is driven today by multiple factors in an increasingly complex environment both in developed and developing countries. Pressures are forcing change at different levels – market, regulation, type of technology, framed by the shift towards the emerging global economy.

For more insights of the debate on the future of voice, see the complete presentation of Tim Kelly, Head and Jaroslaw Ponder, Policy Analyst of the Strategy & Policy Unit of ITU.

More presentations and background materials on the subject can be found at the Future of Voice website.

Friday, January 19, 2007 2:59:50 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Thursday, January 18, 2007

Several Internet-related Decisions and Resolutions were adopted at the ITU 2006 Plenipotentiary Conference. These include:

  • DECISION GT-PLEN/A (Antalya, 2006): Fourth World Telecommunication Policy Forum
  • RESOLUTION 101 (Rev. Antalya, 2006): Internet Protocol-based networks
  • RESOLUTION 102 (Rev. Antalya, 2006): ITU’s role with regard to international public policy issues pertaining to the Internet and the management of Internet resources, including domain names and addresses
  • RESOLUTION 130 (Rev. Antalya, 2006): Strengthening the role of ITU in building confidence and security in the use of information and communication technologies
  • RESOLUTION 133 (Rev. Antalya, 2006): Role of administrations of Member States in the management of internationalized (multilingual) domain names
  • RESOLUTION GT-PLEN/7 (Antalya, 2006): Study on the participation of all relevant stakeholders in the activities of the Union related to the World Summit on the Information Society

The text of these resolutions and decisions can be found here.

Thursday, January 18, 2007 11:09:20 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Monday, December 11, 2006

8 December 2006 At last week's ITU WORLD TELECOM FORUM in Hong Kong, China, a special event was held entitled Countering Spam Cooperation Agenda. The agenda with submitted presentations from the meeting is now available on the WSIS Action Line C5: Partnerships for Global Cybersecurity website.

Monday, December 11, 2006 5:06:47 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Wednesday, December 06, 2006

One of the Intenet's pioneers, Dr. Larry Roberts, gave a presentation yesterday at ITU World Telecom Forum 2006 in Hong Kong entitled Optimizing the Internet Quality of Service and Economics for the Digital Generation. Dr. Roberts discussed standardization work in the ITU on end-to-end QoS signalling to better deliver video over the Internet. In particular, he discussed the work on a new flow based, in-band signaling standard called Y.flowreq.

 

 

Wednesday, December 06, 2006 8:04:00 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Monday, December 04, 2006

The eighth edition of the ITU Internet Reports, entitled "digital.life" was prepared especially for ITU TELECOM World 2006 (December 4-8 2006, Hong Kong)and is available now online. The report examines how innovation in digital technology is radically changing individual and societal lifestyles.

Chapter one: going digital outlines the meanings of "digital" and reflects on the many ways of being digital. Around one in every three people on the planet now carries a digital mobile phone around with them wherever they go. Globally, more hours are spent consuming digital media, such as the internet, than any analogue media, including television and radio. Digital technologies are transforming businesses and governments, and changing the ways we live and interact. We are witnessing what has been termed a “digital revolution”, which had its beginnings in the early 1980s and refers to the replacement of analogue devices and services with their digital successors. This technological shift has brought about considerable change in the human condition itself, especially in its socioeconomic and cultural aspects.

The transition from narrowband to broadband digital networks (figure below) is now well-advanced in the fixed-line world where there were some 216 million broadband subscribers across the world at the end of 2005, amounting to just over half the total number of internet subscribers and around one-fifth of total fixed lines.

As the world becomes increasingly digital, new challenges and important dilemmas arise for businesses and policy-makers. Private individuals, too, are faced with a bewildering number of choices for their information and communications needs.

If you are eager to discover more about these challenges as well as about the importance of being digital and digital ubiquity, you can download chapter one: going digital.

The full text of the report is available online at the digital.life website.  For more information about the report, contact lara.srivastava(a)itu.int.

Monday, December 04, 2006 2:52:42 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

In conjunction with the Forum at ITU TELECOM WORLD 2006, 4-8 December in Hong Kong, China, ITU is organizing a one day event on 8 December entitled "Countering Spam Cooperation Agenda". Key international and regional organizations involved in the fight against spam will gather to discuss greater collaborative efforts to combat spam and related threats. The event is open to all ITU TELECOM WORLD 2006 participants.

See the full ITU Press Release for the event here.

Monday, December 04, 2006 11:29:15 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Thursday, October 05, 2006

The Digital Opportunity Index (DOI), which is one of the two indices officially endorsed by the World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS) (Geneva 2003-Tunis 2005), can be used as a practical tool to track the changing dynamics driving the Information Society worldwide.

Europe is the most advanced region with a DOI score of 0.55, considerably higher than the world average (0.37), followed by the Americas (0.4). DOI scores show that basic telecom access and affordability are the main areas of achievement for most countries.

European countries, which are mostly developed economies, provide good digital opportunity for most of their inhabitants, with extensive infrastructure, generally low prices and widespread use of new technologies. Poorer European countries generally have medium DOI scores (e.g. Albania, Belarus, Turkey and Ukraine). Poland and Russia are among the top 15 gainers in the DOI worldwide over the period 2000-2005, making significant progress in ICT infrastructure.

The economies from the region are also leveraging their investments in infrastructure well in order to widely introduce new technologies and yield more advanced forms of usage. One interesting aspect of mobile Internet usage is the wide variation in access among countries of similar economic or geographic circumstances. Almost a third of Slovenian households and one fifth of Finnish households use mobile phones to access the Internet, while in other countries, less than five per pent of households use mobile phones to access the Internet.

Despite the favourable global picture, disparities in connectivity within the region persist and many are concerned about the European digital divide, which is likely to result from the sometimes modest convergence between the economies.

For more analysis on this and other related to digital opportunity issues, please consult the World Information Society Report 2006.

Thursday, October 05, 2006 5:39:55 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Wednesday, October 04, 2006

The Digital Opportunity Index (DOI), which is one of the two indices officially endorsed by the World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS) (Geneva 2003-Tunis 2005), can be used as a practical tool to track the changing dynamics driving the Information Society worldwide.

The map illustrates the strong lead taken by Asia, together with Europe and North America, in realizing digital opportunity. Two Asian countries top the world rankings – the Republic of Korea and Japan, and the average DOI scores for the region are higher than the world average of 0.37. Central Asian countries are catching up fast with large infrastructural investments and strong gains in mobile and internet subscribers, including 3G mobile technologies (CDMA 2000 1x and W-CDMA). It is worth noting that five out of the top 15 gainers in the DOI come from the Asian region: these are India, China, Indonesia, Japan and the Republic of Korea.

The Asian Tigers, together with Scandinavian countries lead in internet subscriptions, with around a third of their population subscribing to the internet, but only half of these subscribed to broadband services. This is in contrast to the Republic of Korea, where virtually all internet users are broadband subscribers, with access to faster, advanced services such as video, teleconferencing, multiplayer gaming and triple play. These different profiles of internet usage could result in the development of more varied skill sets and contrasting rates of innovation and, over the longer term, may shape the Information Society differently, according to the type, speed and capacity of internet access available. However, there are often large differences in the level of development within the region - the Asia-Pacific region contains both high-income and Least Developed Countries. In many economies fixed line telephony has been challenged by the worldwide growth in mobile phones.

However, there remains a strong need for basic connectivity in Asia, where connectivity is the main factor driving the digital divide and limiting access to ICTs.

For more analysis on this and other related to digital opportunity issues, please consult the World Information Society Report 2006.

Wednesday, October 04, 2006 5:31:19 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Tuesday, October 03, 2006

The Digital Opportunity Index (DOI), which is one of the two indices officially endorsed by the World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS) (Geneva 2003-Tunis 2005), can be used as a practical tool to track the changing dynamics driving the Information Society worldwide.

The Americas are the second most advanced region in terms of ICT development, following Europe. DOI scores show that basic telecom access and affordability are the main areas of achievement for most countries. In low income Latin American countries, digital opportunity mostly derives from access to cellular service and affordable telecoms. Meanwhile, high-income North-American countries are successfully realizing digital opportunity through high-performance infrastructure (e.g., broadband) and the use of advanced technologies.

In North America, the economies provide good digital opportunity for most of their inhabitants, with extensive infrastructure, generally low prices and widespread use of new technologies. From the Latin American countries, Chile is the highest-ranking Latin American country at 40th place in the DOI for 2005, followed by Argentina at 51st place.

Four of the Top 15 gainers in the DOI over the period 2001-2005 are from Latin America – Chile, Brazil, Argentina and Peru – the latter two are also among the very rare cases where Utilization exceeds Infrastructure. The strong gains in Utilization in Chile and Venezuela resulted from early policies for privatization and a vibrant private sector has successfully promoted telecommunications and the higher-margin broadband segment in these countries.

Caribbean states also generally do well in the DOI. This may be due to an ‘island effect’, where small islands may specialize in ICT intensive offshore industries reliant on telecommunications. Barbados, Jamaica and Antigua and Barbuda all have high DOI scores.

The DOI registers a steady expansion in the number of mobile Internet subscribers, reflected in the steady increase in Utilization over time. Most notably, the DOI shows that mobile Internet and 3G services are no longer the preserve of high-income countries and are now offered in many developing countries throughout Latin America and the Caribbean, as well as in central and eastern Asia. The 2005 Mobinet study on global mobile usage reports an upward trend in the percentage of multimedia phone users in Latin America browsing the internet or using mobile e-mail at least once a month on their phones, which jumped from 32 per cent in 2004 to 64 per cent in 2005.

For more analysis on this and other related to digital opportunity issues, please consult the World Information Society Report 2006.

Tuesday, October 03, 2006 4:56:27 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Monday, October 02, 2006

The Digital Opportunity Index (DOI), which is one of the two indices officially endorsed by the World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS) (Geneva 2003-Tunis 2005), can be used as a practical tool to track the changing dynamics driving the Information Society worldwide.

The DOI scores for 2005 are sharply differentiated according to region. Africa, the region with some of the poorest countries in the world, is greatly impacted by the digital divide. Europe, the Americas and Asia all have average DOI scores higher than the world average of 0.37, while Africa has an average DOI score of 0.20, mainly due to limited Utilization and fixed line infrastructure. When compared to other regions, Africa ranks last with an average regional DOI score of barely one-third that of Europe (0.55). The African strong-performers are Mauritius, the Seychelles and North African countries (Morocco, Algeria, Tunisia and Egypt).

The DOI map of Africa here below shows a pattern of high scores among the North African economies (Algeria, Egypt, Libya, Morocco and Tunisia) - Egypt is also the only African country in the Top 15 gainers in the DOI, having realized a gain of 32 per cent in digital opportunity over the period 2000-2005. By contrast, low-ranking economies are mostly inland, in the Sub-Saharan region, and also include economies such as Chad, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Niger and Sierra Leone.

Nevertheless, despite the overall situation, many African countries are making progress in reducing their internal gaps. As a region, Africa has the highest growth rate in mobile cellular subscribers of any region, with a 66 per cent growth rate in 2005, with Algeria, Egypt, Nigeria and South Africa accounting for 60 per cent of the new mobile subscribers added in the region. In 2005, Nigeria alone added 9.7 million subscribers, which represents about 7 per cent of its total population. Mobile phones provide more than three-quarters of all the phone connections in 19 countries in Africa. As Africa shows, the tendency of developing countries to promote mobile coverage and utilization over fixed services makes the DOI’s mobile components particularly useful for monitoring advances in regional markets.

From a telecommunication policy perspective, high-ranking countries illustrate the influence of liberalization and competition in promoting opportunity and infrastructure deployment. Most of the North African countries, as well as Senegal and South Africa, have opened their fixed and mobile markets to competition and are rapidly increasing high-speed network deployment. Competition is helping to reduce tariffs and introduce service packages that respond better to the needs of the population. In Algeria, for instance, the entry of a third wireless cellular provider triggered new strategies for prepaid services that had not previously been offered by the incumbents.

For more analysis on these and other issues related to measuring digital opportunity, please consult the World Information Society Report 2006.

Monday, October 02, 2006 5:55:21 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Thursday, September 28, 2006

The ITU has unveiled a new website Partnerships for Global Cybersecurity dedicated to moderation/facilitation activities related to implementation of WSIS Action Line C5: Building Confidence and Security in the Use of ICTs.

Background

The outcome documents from the World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS) emphasize that building confidence and security in the use of ICTs is a necessary pillar for building a global information society (see extracts). The Tunis Agenda describes the establishment of a mechanism for implementation and follow-up to WSIS and requests ITU to play a facilitator/moderator role for WSIS Action Line C5: Building Confidence and Security in the Use of ICTs. In order to stress the importance of the multi-stakeholder implementation of related work programmes, ITU has named this the Partnerships for Global Cybersecurity initiative.

Here's how to participate and how to contact us if you would like to contribute to the work programmes.

Work Programmes

Based on the first facilitation meeting held in May 2006 and the related Chairman's Report, work programmes in three focus areas have been initiated:

For general information on WSIS implementation as a whole, including other action lines and themes, see here.

 

Thursday, September 28, 2006 11:34:31 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Friday, September 22, 2006

As part of the ITU's work in follow-up to the WSIS, the World Information Society Report 2006 is addressed to all stakeholders and intended to provide insights as well as useful benchmarks for building the Information Society. The Report gives practical examples of how the DOI can be used, and highlights projects around the world that are working to meet the commitments made at the WSIS.

Chapter five, Beyond WSIS: Making a difference globally, focuses on WSIS implementation and follow-up in different countries. The WSIS called for governments to move from principles into action. There are many efforts underway, both large and small, to implement the WSIS goals, involving a range of stakeholders at the community level, regionally, nationally and internationally. This chapter of the report highlights some of these initiatives to implement the WSIS Plan of Action, from national strategies to grassroots projects. A variety of initiatives have been launched to promote digital opportunity, infrastructure and advanced ICT applications and these highlight fresh approaches and innovative new solutions to ICT development.

One of the biggest challenges for the uptake of ICTs and for building a people-centered and development-oriented Information Society is the affordability of the services. The Digital Opportunity Index monitors the mobile communications that promise to bridge the digital divide in many parts of the world, as well as more recent technologies such as broadband and mobile Internet access. The price of broadband continues to fall worldwide, by as much as twenty per cent a year over the last two years according to ITU’s analysis, while broadband speeds continue to increase. The lower cost of ICTs greately facilitates their diffusion and utilization, and contributes to increased digital opportunity.

Internet affordability (cost of 20h internet connection as a % of monthly GDP per capita)

Note: 1 means affordable; 0 means that the price of lower-user basket is in excess of average GNI per capita.

These positive trends are not restricted to developed countries, and many valuable multi-stakeholder initiatives are underway to further promote ICT development worldwide in the wake of WSIS. 

The DOI has been developed by a multi-stakeholder partnership, the Digital Opportunity Platform, comprising ITU, UNCTAD and KADO (the Korea Agency for Digital Opportunity and Promotion) and which is open to new partners. It will be reported annually in order to track progress in reaching the WSIS targets, and building a diverse and inclusive Information Society, by 2015.

Friday, September 22, 2006 5:11:00 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Friday, July 28, 2006

Study Group 17 (Security, languages and telecommunication software) has been instructed by Resolution 48 of the World Telecommunication Standardization Assembly (Florianópolis, 2004) to study Internationalized Domain Names (IDN). It is considered that implementation of IDN will contribute to easier and greater use of the Internet in those countries where the native or official languages are not represented in IRA (International Reference Alphabet) characters.

To meet this obligation, Study Group 17 developed new Question 16, Internationalized Domain Names tasked in particular to investigate all relevant issues in the field of IDN. The mandate for Question 16 is available on the Study Group 17 website.

Question 16 was approved at the April 2006 Study Group 17 meeting in Jeju, Korea. At this meeting Question 16 drafted a questionnaire for a Circular to Member States, requesting information on their experiences in the use of IDN. TSB Circular 96 was issued on 31 May 2006.

The ITU-T has unveiled an IDN resource site to share information on work progress, achievements and acquired knowledge in the field of IDN. It includes an introduction to IDN, information about related events, standards materials, news, information on national and other IDN developments and a FAQ.

[via the ITU-T Newslog]

Friday, July 28, 2006 10:49:14 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Tuesday, June 06, 2006

In 2006, ITU-T will celebrate 50 years of making the standards that have played a massive part in shaping the information and communications technologies (ICT) and services of today. In order to mark this momentous milestone, ITU-T will stage a unique one-day event on 20 July 2006 bringing together some of the most important players in ICT.

As part of celebrations for the anniversary, you are invited to vote for the most influential standards work from ITU-T. ITU work is behind many of the worlds most prevalent information and communications technologies. Select one of the standards on this shortlist which you think has best shaped the ICT world of today, or feel free to suggest additional standards for consideration.

More information about activities related to ITU-T's 50 Year Anniversary Celebrations can be found here.

Tuesday, June 06, 2006 1:59:25 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Thursday, June 01, 2006

A joint ITU-T/Global Grid Forum (GGF) workshop on NGN and Grids will take place at ITU headquarters, Geneva, from 23 to 24 October 2006 inclusive. The invitation letter contains additional details and a provisional agenda. The objective of the meeting is to:

  • Review the present status of applications, services and business opportunities in Grid networks and NGNs.
  • Discuss future evolution for Grids and NGNs both in terms of business opportunities and related technical requirements.
  • Identify relevant existing international standards as well as gaps in the standardization framework for Grids and NGNs.
  • Understand what additional features required by Grids should be considered in ITU-T’s NGN Release 2.
  • Identify the impact of NGN on Grids.
  • Contribute to the establishment of a roadmap for future standardization activities among major players.
  • Prepare a coordinated action plan on urgent standardization issues between standards developing organizations and fora/consortia working in this area.
Thursday, June 01, 2006 10:26:20 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

Study Group 17 Questionnaire on information about experiences on the use of IDN

"The World Telecommunication Standardization Assembly (Florianópolis, 2004) in Resolution 48 instructed Study Group 17 (Security, languages and telecommunication software) to study Internationalized Domain Names (IDN).  The belief is that IDN implementation will contribute to easier and greater use of the Internet in those countries where the native or official languages are not represented in ASCII characters.

To assist this plan, Question 16/17 (Internationalized Domain Names) has been brought into being and tasked with investigating all relevant issues in the field of IDNs.

To recognize national, regional and international issues concerning IDNs, Study Group 17 prepared a questionnaire (see Annex 1) on information about experiences on the use of IDNs.

The objective of this questionnaire is to collect information and experiences on Internationalized Domain Names under ccTLD (country code Top Level Domain) around the globe. This will help identify Member States’ needs and practices concerning this subject. This information will serve to prepare a report on the implementation of IDNs and facilitate future work on IDN within Study Group 17.

If there are two or more ccTLDs in the responder's Member State, please complete separate answer sheets for each, unless they have exactly the same answers.

If the Member State is not responsible for the ccTLD, please forward the questionnaire to the concerned body."

Thursday, June 01, 2006 9:25:21 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Tuesday, May 23, 2006

On 1-2 June 2006 the ITU Strategy and Policy Unit (SPU) in collaboration with London Business School (LBS) will hold a joint conference on the measurement of ICTs and the macro-, micro- and meso-impact of ICTs in the Information Society.

The conference will explore the impact of ICTs in industry, firms, growth and productivity. What is the real meaning of the digital divide? Can investment in ICTs help to reduce the productivity gap? Are countries really at a disadvantage through falling behind in take-up of ICTs?

For more details on this event please click here.

Tuesday, May 23, 2006 6:02:48 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Monday, May 22, 2006

ITU has just released its new statistics on global broadband penetration per 100 inhabitants as of 1 January 2006. Iceland has taken over as this year's leader from Korea with Netherlands, Denmark and Hong Kong, China rounding out the top five.

Monday, May 22, 2006 1:12:02 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Thursday, May 18, 2006

In a press release today, ITU announced a global opinion survey to assess trust of online transactions and awareness of cybersecurity measures. The survey was conducted by ITU in conjunction with World Telecommunication Day, celebrated on 17 May to commemorate the founding of ITU in 1865. The theme chosen this year — Promoting Global Cybersecurity — aims to highlight the serious challenges of ensuring the safety and security of networked information and communication systems.

The announcement of the results of the survey coincides with the launch of an ITU Cybersecurity Gateway portal. The portal is a global online reference source of national cybersecurity initiatives and websites around the world and provides an integrated platform for sharing cybersecurity related information and resources. Presenting information tailored to four specific audiences: citizens, businesses, governments, and international organizations, the portal also provides information resources on topical cybersecurity concerns such as spam, spyware, phishing, scams and frauds, worms and viruses, denial of service attacks, etc.

With thousands of links to relevant materials, ITU intends to constantly update the portal with information on cybersecurity initiatives and resources gathered from contributors around the globe. For example, a number of countries are now ramping up national critical information infrastructure protection (CIIP) programmes and sharing information on these initiatives through the portal can assist both developed and developing economies in promoting global cybersecurity.

These efforts highlight work being carried out as follow-up to the World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS) Action line C5 dealing with "Building confidence and security in the use of ICT", for which ITU is the facilitator/moderator.

Update: UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan has made the following statement in conjunction with World Telecommunication Day giving his perspectives on promoting global cybersecurity.

Thursday, May 18, 2006 9:52:04 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

17 May 2006 On 17 May, World Information Society Day, ITU together with other partners (including UNCTAD and the KADO) launched a new series of reports entitled World Information Society Reports. It is intended to be an annual report, tracking progress in implementing the outcomes from the World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS). The reports will include a new benchmarking tool, the Digital Opportunity Index, which is a composite index for measurement of the information society, endorsed by the Tunis Phase of the WSIS. The summary of the report is available on the website at www.itu.int/wisr. The report itself will be published in June 2006.

Thursday, May 18, 2006 11:46:46 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Wednesday, May 17, 2006

The World Information Society Day ceremony is being webcast live (audio and video) in Arabic, Chinese, English, French, Russian and Spanish by ITU's internet broadcasting service. The related press release is available here.

Wednesday, May 17, 2006 10:10:17 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Thursday, May 11, 2006

The Security Assertion Markup Language (SAML) and Extensible Access Control Markup Language (XACML) authored by OASIS (Organization for the Advancement of Structured Information Standards) have been consented as internationally recognised ITU-T Recommendations. The announcement is the first result of the formal relationship between the standardization sector of ITU and OASIS.

The standards (ITU-T Recommendations X.1141 (SAML) and X.1142 (XACML)) address the concern of how to allow safe single sign-on, a system that enables a user to authenticate once and gain access to the resources of multiple software systems. While solutions existed in this space, all were proprietary, and therefore not addressing the problem on a global level.

SAML and XACML are designed to control access to devices and applications on a network. The need for standards in this area has become more of an issue as business networks increasingly use the public Internet.

SAML addresses authentication and provides a mechanism for transferring authentication and authorization decisions between cooperating entities, XACML leverages this information to determine access to resources by focusing on the mechanism for arriving at those authorization decisions.

An additional feature of SAML is that it allows organizations to communicate information without any change to their own internal security architectures.

[via ITU-T Newslog]
Thursday, May 11, 2006 11:07:57 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Tuesday, May 09, 2006

ITU Press Release: First World Information Society Day focuses on WSIS implementation & ITU World Information Society Award presented to President Wade of Senegal and Professor Yunus of Bangladesh

Geneva, 9 May 2006 — The first World Information Society Day will be commemorated on 17 May 2006 to mark the inception of the International Telecommunication Union in 1865, over 140 years ago.

On this important occasion, the first ITU World Information Society Award will be presented to two distinguished and eminent personalities whose outstanding personal contributions have furthered the cause of building a more inclusive and equitable Information Society and helped close the digital divide. The inaugural ITU Award will be given to President Abdoulaye Wade of Senegal and Professor Muhammad Yunus, Managing Director of Grameen Bank, Bangladesh.

The award ceremony will begin at 11h00 on 17 May 2006 at the International Conference Centre Geneva (CICG). There will be an opportunity after the ceremony for the laureates to meet the press.

For more information, see here.

Tuesday, May 09, 2006 11:58:52 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

Now underway is the ITU/UNESCO Global Symposium on Promoting the Multilingual Internet which is a follow-up to Phase 2 of the World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS). The Tunis Agenda for the Information Society, adopted at the Tunis Phase of WSIS, highlights the importance of multilingualism for bridging the digital divide. It identifies ITU as taking the lead role in the implementation of information and communication infrastructure (WSIS Tunis Agenda Action Line C2), ITU/UNESCO for access to information and knowledge (WSIS Tunis Agenda Action Line C3), and UNESCO for cultural diversity and identity, linguistic diversity and local content (WSIS Tunis Agenda Action Line C8).

The event is being audiocast live in Arabic, Chinese, English, French, Russian and Spanish. The programme is available here and contains links to all the presentations and speaker biographies.

Tuesday, May 09, 2006 9:59:55 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Thursday, May 04, 2006

At a recent Study Group 17 (SG17) meeting in Korea, SG17 gave final approval to a Question on Internationalized Domain Names (IDN) that provides direction and focus to ongoing work.

The news comes as ITU makes final preparations for the Global Symposium on Promoting the Multilingual Internet, it is convening together with UNESCO, 9-11 May 2006.

ITU-T was mandated to work on IDN at the 2004 World Telecommunication Standardization Assembly in Brazil. IDN will contribute to easier and greater use of the Internet in those countries where the native or official languages are not represented in ASCII characters.

Andrzej Bartosiewicz, representing Poland and acting as Rapporteur for IDNs said: “We have received a number of contributions in this area and have been impressed with the level of interest and the productive nature of discussions. There are a number of organizations working in the field and I believe coordination will be an important focus of any work. The upcoming workshop will be a particularly useful tool for facilitating networking between experts in the field and furthering the study in general.”

Bartosiewicz said that a webpage will be published shortly with news on ITU-T study in the area, as well as related events and technical documents. An official 'circular letter' will be sent sent to Member States he said, requesting information about their experiences on the use of IDN. Given the response to this communication SG 17 will be able to better assess the current situation and needs.

[via the ITU-T Newslog]

Thursday, May 04, 2006 10:49:55 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Wednesday, May 03, 2006

ITWeek has an article What makes IPTV such a big deal? that focuses on the recent establishment of the ITU-T IPTV Focus Group.

Wednesday, May 03, 2006 9:19:17 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Monday, May 01, 2006
 Tuesday, March 28, 2006

World Telecommunication Day (WTD) commemorates the founding of ITU on 17 May 1865. This year, WTD could carry added significance as 17 May has been identified by the Tunis phase of the World Summit on the Information Society as “World Information Society Day”.

While World Information Society Day is yet to be proclaimed, ITU, as the leading ICT agency of the UN system, upholds the idea and looks forward to its members to raise awareness of the role of ICT in achieving the development goals of all people.

For WTD 2006, the ITU Council chose the theme of Promoting Global Cybersecurity to highlight the serious challenges we face in ensuring the safety and security of networked information and communication systems.

In today’s interconnected and increasingly networked world, societies are vulnerable to a wide variety of threats, including deliberate attacks on critical information infrastructures with debilitating effects on our economies and on our societies. In order to safeguard our systems and infrastructure and in order to instill confidence in online trade, commerce, banking, telemedicine, e-government and a host of other applications, we need to strengthen the security practices of each and every networked country, business, and citizen, and develop a global culture of cybersecurity.

The urgency of promoting cybersecurity has been called for by the ITU Plenipotentiary Conference in 2002, the World Telecommunication Standardization Assembly (WTSA-2004) as well as the United Nations General Assembly (resolutions 58/199, 2004, and 57/239, 2002).

Invitations to organize national programmes in the context of promoting the theme Promoting Global Cybersecurity for WTD 2006 were sent to all ITU Member States and ITU Sector Members. Sector Members represent over 647 public and private companies and organizations with an interest in telecommunications. Also in conjunction with WTD 2006, the ITU is conducting a survey of cybersecurity trust and awareness. A list of links to the related materials includes:

 

Tuesday, March 28, 2006 1:43:52 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Monday, March 27, 2006

On 23-24 March 2006 at ITU headquarters, the ITU Strategy and Policy Unit hosted a high-level experts workshop entitled What Rules for IP-enabled NGNs? focused on the policy and regulatory challenges related to the deployment of IP-enabled NGNs. The following materials are now available:

Monday, March 27, 2006 11:18:15 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Thursday, March 16, 2006

As part of its work on preparing an ICT Regulatory Toolkit, the Regulatory Reform Unit of ITU hosted, on 15 March 2006, a virtual conference on the impact of new technologies on TELECOM/ICT Regulation.

The conference recording, together with presentations from Tim Kelly (ITU), Anthony Rutkowski (Verisign), Sharil Tarmizi (Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission), Michael Best (Georgia Tech), Michail Bletsas (One Laptop Per Child) and Russell Southwood (Balancing Act) are available here

Thursday, March 16, 2006 12:05:54 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Wednesday, March 15, 2006

The draft agenda (PDF) for the 23-24 March 2006 ITU Workshop What Rules for IP-enabled NGNs is now available.


A related page of NGN Policy and Regulatory Initiatives around the globe is also available.

Wednesday, March 15, 2006 11:21:40 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Tuesday, March 14, 2006

The March 2006 edition of ITU News focusing on “ICT for Development: Making it Work for All”, brings attention to ICT penetration in Qatar, the host country for the 2006 ITU World Telecommunication Development Conference (WTDC).

A peninsula on the western coast of the Arabian Gulf, Qatar is home to about 813 000 people. Despite its small size, it is a high-income economy with a well-developed communications infrastructure.

The ITU News article explains that "The expansion of information and communication technologies (ICT) in Qatar has taken the country to a leading place in this field among its neighbors in the region. It comes fourth in ICT penetration rates among the Arab States, behind Bahrain, the United Arab Emirates and Kuwait. The incumbent telecommunication operator, Qatar Telecom (Q-Tel), was partially privatized in 1998, and the Supreme Council for Communication and Information Technology (also known as ictQATAR) was created in 2004 with the mandate of regulator and enabler of the country’s ICT sector."

Qatar has seen particularly strong growth in the number of mobile phone subscribers, which overtook the number of fixed telephone lines in 2001.


Source: ITU World Telecommunication Indicators Database.

Read the full article featured in the March edition of ITU News.

Tuesday, March 14, 2006 2:22:27 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

ITU hosted a consultation meeting on WSIS Action Line C2 (Information and Communications Infrastructure) on 9 March 2006, from 2-5 pm, in Doha, Qatar, during the ITU World Telecommunication Development Conference 2006 (WTDC-06). The meeting was chaired by ITU Secretary-General, Yoshio Utsumi.

The summary record of the meeting is available here. For more information, see the WSIS implementation page for action line C2 at: http://www.itu.int/wsis/implementation/c2/index.html.

Tuesday, March 14, 2006 2:14:08 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

"The case for promoting a global culture for cybersecurity was strongly emphasized at the World Telecommunication Development Conference (WTDC) during an information session for participants conducted by ITU on Friday.

ITU pointed out that in an increasingly interconnected and networked world our societies are vulnerable to a wide variety of threats, including deliberate attacks on critical information infrastructures with debilitating effects on our economies and on our societies. In order to safeguard our systems and infrastructure, we need to strengthen our collective cybersecurity.

As this depends on the security practices of each and every networked country, business, and citizen, we need to develop a global culture of cybersecurity. According to ITU, cybersecurity is critical in the use and development of ICT. The lack of adequate security is an obstacle for using ICTs that rely on the protection and confidentiality of sensitive data. Unless these security and trust issues are addressed, the benefits of the Information Society to governments, businesses and citizens cannot be fully realized.

The information session was aimed at raising awareness on this very important subject and to contribute to bridging the information and knowledge divide between and within countries.

At that session, ITU launched a new reference guide on Cybersecurity for Developing Countries and informed delegates of ITU’s initiative in Promoting Global Cybersecurity as the theme for World Telecommunication Day on 17 May this year. ITU will also assist developing and least developed countries in increasing cybersecurity and will conduct workshops and seminars to enable countries to exchange ideas and discuss common issues." [Via WTDC 2006 Highlights]

For more information about the World Telecommunication Development Conference (WTDC), please click here

Tuesday, March 14, 2006 11:27:56 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Thursday, March 09, 2006

Qatar's Prime Minister Sheikh Abdullah bin Khalifa al-Thani said in his opening speech to ITU World Telecommunication Development Conference 2006 on Tuesday 7 March that "communication, especially information technology, has become a major pillar of the economic and social development of all countries."

"Sheikh Abdullah said WTDC 06 had a key role to play in bringing peoples together and help them live in peace and with mutual respect. However, he cautioned against misuse of communication technology and said a legal and regulatory environment must be set up to secure the optimum use of the resources of knowledge."

WTDC, held for the first time in the Arab region, is organized by International Telecommunication Union (ITU) and hosted by Qatar’s Supreme Council for Information and Communication Technology (ictQATAR).

For the full article featured in Gulf Times, please click here.

Thursday, March 09, 2006 12:02:19 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Thursday, March 02, 2006

ITU-T together with the US Alliance for Telecommunications Industry Solutions (ATIS) is holding a free workshop Next Generation Network Technology and Standardization at the Mandalay Bay Convention Centre in Las Vegas , USA , 19-20 March 2006 during the TelecomNEXT event.

This workshop will: 

  • Examine the status of NGN standards 
  • Identify standards work needed to support ongoing viable businesses for all parties as NGN becomes reality, and 
  • Enhance and extend standardization community cooperation to further coordinate NGN work

A particular emphasis of the event will be next generation network (NGN) requirements and standards objectives from a North American perspective and how these can be best taken into account in global NGN standardization by the ITU-T.

More information on the event and the draft meeting programme can be accessed through the ITU-T website

Thursday, March 02, 2006 11:51:35 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Wednesday, March 01, 2006

IPDR.org hosted an event last week to take a focused look at IPTV accounting and settlement. The event objectives included:

  • Understanding the requirements for IPTV accounting
  • Summarizing challenges associated with all network data related aspects of IPTV such as advertising, content settlement, user behavior, capacity management, multimedia events, and other IPTV service components
  • Developing technical specifications to address the needs of IPTV overall accounting and settlement
  • Creating an industry wide task force comprised of leaders and contributors

IPDR plans to submit protocols to international groups such as the ITU and 3GPP for adoption as industry standards, according to Kelly Anderson, President of IPDR.org. Her group is working especially closely with the IPTV Interoperability Forum of the Alliance for Telecom Industry Solutions (ATIS), represented at the meeting. ATIS and IPDR said last week that the American National Standards Group had approved as an American national standard for trial use a generic IPDR specification for billing applications for packet-based services on which ATIS had collaborated.

The presentations made at the event are available.

The Director of the TSB is holding a consultation meeting on IPTV standardization on April 4-5 2006.

Wednesday, March 01, 2006 11:44:24 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Tuesday, February 28, 2006

The ITU-T Newslog has news of a joint ITU-T Workshop and IMTC Forum 2006 on "H.323, SIP: is H.325 next?" to be held 9-11 May 2006 in San Diego, California. 

The rollout of NGN will bring with it in a new era of multimedia communications and with that a need to consider updating or replacing the currently used H.323 and SIP multimedia protocols. The question is whether to pursue development of a new protocol and a new generation of multimedia communication systems, or define new multimedia capabilities and functionality for existing protocols. Perhaps some consideration needs to be given to service control interface specifications. With work already underway in ITU on a new protocol dubbed H.325, the industry must decide whether to invest more time and resource into this pursuit. The answer to this question will be one of the more fundamental issues addressed at this IMTC Forum and ITU-T Workshop, which will have to consider: market acceptance/need and benefit to end users, service providers and to enterprise information technology (IT) staff.

More details on the workshop are available here. For a primer on H.325, see here.


Tuesday, February 28, 2006 4:14:33 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India has published comments received on its recent consultation paper on Issues pertaining to Next Generation Networks (NGN) released in January 2006. Also see accompanying Press Release.

The ITU Strategy and Policy Unit is hosting a workshop entitled What Rules for IP-enabled NGNs? in March 2006. The ITU also has a website on related national, regional and international policy and regulatory initiatives.

Tuesday, February 28, 2006 9:50:39 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Thursday, February 23, 2006

In line with paragraph 108 and the Annex of the Tunis Agenda for the Information Society, a consultation is being held on 15-16 May 2006, at ITU Headquarters in Geneva, on WSIS Action Line C5: Building Confidence and Security in the use of ICTs. The purpose of the meeting is to discuss the WSIS multi-stakeholder implementation process for Action Line C5.

The meeting is open to all WSIS stakeholders that are interested and involved in the implementation process in the field of building confidence and security in the use of ICTs.

A draft agenda for the consultation on WSIS Action Line C5 Facilitation and the invitation letter to the meeting from ITU Secretary-General Yoshio Utsumi can be viewed on the WSIS C5 Implementation website.

More information on the activities related to WSIS implementation and follow-up can be viewed here.

Thursday, February 23, 2006 10:59:16 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Wednesday, February 22, 2006

The ITU hosted a workshop on “Networked RFID: Systems and Services” in Geneva, 14-15 February 2006.

The event focused on the use of RFID technology in networked environments, and review international standardization. Particular emphasis was given to the impact that networked RFID applications will have on telecommunication networks, especially on network and service capability requirements and interworking aspects.

Links to the meeting presentations and the audio webcast archive from the event are now available on the website.

Please see “Networked RFID: Systems and Services”, for further information.

Wednesday, February 22, 2006 9:01:55 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Monday, February 13, 2006

The ITU is hosting a workshop on Radio-Frequency Identification (RFID) from 14-15 February 2006, bringing the spotlight on the emergence of a so-called "Internet of Things", enabling ubiquitous network connectivity, anytime and anywhere. The agenda and an accompanying press release are available.

Update: The workshop is being audiocast live and archived.

Monday, February 13, 2006 11:23:35 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Friday, February 10, 2006
Friday, February 10, 2006 9:13:54 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Wednesday, February 08, 2006

Via the ITU-T Newslog comes news that a Recommendation consented at the January meeting of Study Group 13 allows enterprises to convert multiple voice streams or VoIP flows to IP packets, enabling them to be trunked to their destination over a packet switched infrastructure, rather than dedicated circuit-switched infrastructure. Rec Y.1452 gives the required functions and procedures necessary for support of multiplexed narrowband voice services by IP networks. It specifies the required protocols and the operation of the interworking function.

Wednesday, February 08, 2006 10:34:23 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Tuesday, February 07, 2006

Today (7 February 2006) marks the third edition of Safer Internet Day, held under the patronage of Viviane Reding, European Commissioner for Information Society and Media.

Safer Internet Day is celebrated by more than 96 organisations in 36 countries across the world: 24 EU countries, and others including Russia, Argentina, New Zealand and the USA. Safer Internet Day's biggest event is a worldwide blogathon on safer use of internet launched by Commissioner Reding in Brussels at a minute past midnight, then taken up by New Zealand who post an entry a few minutes later.

All day long the blogathon will continue to move across the world, through Australia and Russia to Europe, then across to Argentina, Canada and the USA. Over 300 local, regional and national events include press conferences, and competitions in Finland, Germany, Spain and the Czech Republic. There will also be internet safety quizzes and crosswords in Greece, pupil-teach-parent days in Belgium and the Netherlands, conferences in the UK, Hungary and Argentina and a broad palette of activities in schools and libraries.

For an overview of the days' events, see the main Safer Internet website.

To view the International Telecommunication Union's entry to the blogathon, click here.

Tuesday, February 07, 2006 2:27:49 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Monday, February 06, 2006

The ITU-T Newslog has news on a new ITU-T standard (ITU-T Recommendation, Y.1731) which will allow operators offering Ethernet services to use OAM (operations, administration, and maintenance) mechanisms to facilitate network operation and troubleshooting.

Recommendation Y.1713 gives user-plane OAM functionality in Ethernet networks. The architectural basis for this Recommendation is the Ethernet specification G.8010. A previous Recommendation Y.1730 served as a prelude to Y.1731 outlining the OAM requirements of operators. Joncour says that Y.1731 was developed in close collaboration with the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) group 802.1. This group is also preparing a standard (802.1ag - Connectivity Fault Management) devoted to Ethernet OAM aspects. IEEE 802.1ag defines a subset of the functions/PDUs described in Y.1731. Regular communications between the two groups ensured alignment of the description of the common features.

Monday, February 06, 2006 10:36:47 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Friday, February 03, 2006

The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) has released a consultation document on the impact of transition to NGNs (also see press release). TRAI will be conducting open house discussions in Delhi and Bangalore on the NGN consultation paper as well as the recent consultation on convergence and competition.

Friday, February 03, 2006 5:03:53 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Tuesday, January 31, 2006

WSIS E-Flash No 30 dated 30 January 2006 has been published and includes news on:

  • WSIS Executive Secretariat maintained
  • Meeting on WSIS Action Lines Moderators/Facilitators on 24 February 2006
  • Internet Governance Forum - consultations on 16 - 17 February 2006
  • WSIS Golden Book
  • WSIS Stocktaking
  • The ITU development initiative "Connect the World"
  • WSIS Outcome documents
  • New general WSIS contact e-mail address
Tuesday, January 31, 2006 5:44:20 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Friday, January 27, 2006

At an early December meeting of ITU-T's Study Group 2, agreement on the allocation of a high-revenue international short message service (SMS) number to two international organisations for the purpose of fundraising was made. An official announcement in ITU-T's Operational Bulletin will be made following the decision of the Director of the Telecommunication Standardization Bureau.

The number +979 0767 was granted following a request from the United Nations International Children Emergency Fund (UNICEF) and the International Federation of the Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC). It will allow the two organizations to launch relief campaigns across national boundaries, and will encourage regular donations by introducing a recognisable and non-changing number. The 767 portion of the number spells out SOS.

Texting emerged as a popular way to contribute to relief efforts during fundraising for the earthquake in Bam , Iran , 2003 and the 2004 Asian tsunami. [via the ITU-T Newslog]

Friday, January 27, 2006 12:47:49 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

If you missed the recent ITU-T web-based seminar (webinar) on NGN you may be interested to know that the whole thing including slides, audio and the question and answer session is available in Light Reading’s archive. Nearly 400 people attended the live event on 23 January, submitting close to 100 questions to the speakers. [via ITU-T Newslog]

Friday, January 27, 2006 12:47:42 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Wednesday, January 25, 2006

The ITU-T Newslog is announcing the first release of an ICT Security Standards Roadmap developed to assist in the development of security standards by bringing together information about existing standards and current standards work in key standards development organizations. The Roadmap is a work in progress,

The Roadmap is in four parts:

  • Part 1: ICT Standards Development Organizations and Their Work

    Part 1 contains information about the Roadmap structure and about each of the listed standards organizations, their structure and the security standards work being undertaken. In addition it contains information on terminology by providing links to existing security glossaries and vocabularies.

  • Part 2: Approved ICT Security Standards

    Part 2 contains a summary catalogue of approved standards.

  • Part 3: Security standards under development

    Part 3 is structured with the same taxonomy as Part 2 but contains work in progress, rather than standards that have already been approved and published. Part 3 will also contain information on inter-relationships between groups undertaking the work and on potential overlaps between existing projects.

  • Part 4: Future needs and proposed new security standards

    Part 4 is intended to capture possible future areas of security standards work where gaps or needs have been identified as well as areas where proposals have been made for specific new standards work.

It is hoped that standards organizations whose work is not represented in this version of the Roadmap will provide information to ITU-T about their work so that it may be included in future editions. In the near future provision will be made to allow each organization to manage its own data within the Roadmap.

Wednesday, January 25, 2006 5:41:11 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Tuesday, January 24, 2006

ITU Press Release: World Telecommunication Development Conference 2006 to agree on telecommunication development priorities to bridge the digital divide

Geneva, 24 January 2006 - The first world development conference following the landmark World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS) is due to open in six weeks in Doha, Qatar.

The purpose of the conference is to focus on development priorities in telecommunications and agree on the programmes, projects and initiatives to implement them. It will take into account the WSIS Geneva Plan of Action and Tunis Agenda, which aim at bridging the digital divide. A key objective is to promote international cooperation, regional initiatives and partnerships that can sustain and strengthen telecommunication infrastructure and institutions in developing countries. The Doha Action Plan will set out ways to implement these goals over the next four years.

Tuesday, January 24, 2006 7:35:29 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

According to the 18 November 2005 Newsletter of Japan's Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communication, they have decided to set up a “Study Group on a Framework for Competition Rules to Address Progress in the Move to IP", with the aim of laying out basic principles on a framework for competition rules applicable as well as clarifying specific directions concerning interconnection and tariff policies.

In other news, Japan's National Institute of Information and Communications Technology (NICT) has recently announced (Japanese) that they have established a IP-based Next Generation Network promotion forum. About 190 entities are participating in the newly established forum which will feed into ITU's work on NGNs.

Tuesday, January 24, 2006 7:15:05 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Tuesday, January 17, 2006

According to the ITU-T NGN web portal, the ITU-T Focus Group on Next Generation Networks (FGNGN) proceeding are now available:

Additional background on the proceedings

ITU-T Focus Group on Next Generation Networks (FGNGN) was created under ITU-T Study Group 13 in June 2004 to address the emerging needs for global standards for Next Generation Networks (NGN). FGNGN was made-up of seven working groups:

  • Services and capabilities
  • Functional architecture and requirements
  • Quality of service (QoS)
  • Control aspects
  • Security issues
  • Migration of current networks into NGN
  • Future packet based network requirements

During the 18-month life-time of FGNGN, nine meetings were organized, with more than 1,200 input documents and 1,400 participants. FGNGN deliverables cover all those seven fundamental framework areas of NGN. Its final output was a total of 30 documents that will be transferred to the relevant ITU-T Study Groups for their further consideration. Deliverables are classified by release concept. Proceedings contain the deliverables, each with its status indication. The proceedings are now available freely in two parts:

Tuesday, January 17, 2006 1:44:54 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

The International Telecommunication Union is pleased to announce the 2006 ITU Young Minds in Telecoms competition.

The essay topics for this year's Young Minds competition are:

  • What are the key opportunities and threats raised by the growing use of services over IP, such as voice (VoIP) and television (i.e. IPTV)?
  • What are, in your view, the most important regulatory challenges raised by an increasingly wireless world?
  • What does the term "internet governance" mean to you? What needs to change as a result of the World Summit on the Information Society outcomes?
  • What, in your view, are the most important mechanisms available today for bridging the digital divide by bringing connectivity to underserved areas of the world?
  • How can the interests of end-users in the information society (e.g. affordability, privacy protection) be balanced with the interests of business (bottom line, rapid innovation)?

Information on eligibility and how to apply can be accessed on the link below.

Deadline for applications is 17 March 2006.

Click here to learn more about the 2006 ITU Young Minds in Telecoms competition.

Tuesday, January 17, 2006 1:40:09 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

Another take on marketing the Internet of Things (via IP). The source can be found here.

Tuesday, January 17, 2006 9:55:42 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Friday, January 06, 2006

Asia-Pacific maintains its lead in providing the best broadband bargains to be found worldwide. The latest ITU research comparing international prices for broadband access confirms that the three cheapest broadband economies are in Asia, with Japan still the cheapest at just 7 U.S. cents per 100 kbit/s followed by Korea. Both Japan and Korea offer the highest speeds for the cheapest prices per 100 kbit/s.

Prices among the cheapest fifteen broadband economies continued to fall and nearly halved, falling by 46.6 per cent from 2004-2005. Other countries are following Asia’s lead in bargain-value pricing. In 2004, just five economies offered broadband access under 1 USD per 100 kbit/s (which included four from Asia). In 2005, eleven economies offered cut-price access, including six from Europe. The good news for operators is that such pricing strategies seem to build market share. Eleven of the fifteen cheapest economies also rank in the fifteen economies with the highest broadband penetration. This implies that operators are successfully winning customers through cheaper pricing plans. Whether strong market shares can be translated into profit is another question, however. Bargain-value pricing builds subscriber bases at the expense of profit margins, which are likely to be eroded.

Source: ITU research, based on data available in the Statistical Annex to ITU Internet Report 2005: The Internet of Things, November 2005.

Friday, January 06, 2006 2:43:22 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Tuesday, November 22, 2005

WSIS Thematic Meeting on Cybersecurity: Outcome and Next Steps (PDF) presented at the Global Symposium for Regulators, Yasmine Hammamet, Tunisia on 23 November 2005, Robert Shaw, ITU Strategy and Policy Unit

Tuesday, November 22, 2005 3:32:25 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Monday, November 21, 2005

LightReading has an article on the recent NGN Industry Event in London on 18 November 2005, where ITU unveiled Release 1 standards for NGN by ITU-T's Focus Group on Next-Generation Networks (FGNGN). The event also outlined the next phase of NGN work to be progressed under the banner of the NGN Global Standards Initiative (NGN-GSI). In the presentation (Zipped PowerPoint) by BT Group Technology Officer Mick Reeve:

"...the world's telecom standards groups are, at last, all singing from the same song sheet with their work on next-generation network (NGN) standards.

"Addressing an International Telecommunication Union meeting in London today, Reeve, a key figure in the development of BT's 21st Century Network (21CN), praised the ITU for its role in bringing together the work of many different groups around the world and delivering a unified vision of what an NGN should look like and deliver. (See BT Unveils 21CN Suppliers, Bross: More to Come on 21CN, and Wales to Get 21CN First.)

"The ITU has done a great job in finding a global agreement on NGNs. There's a high level of agreement globally about NGN principles" that has helped deliver an "overall architecture for next generation networks and systems, something that has been unheard of before now," says the BT man. He cited the European Telecommunications Standards Institute (ETSI), 3rd Generation Partnership Project (3GPP), TeleManagement Forum, and Alliance for Telecommunications Industry Solutions (ATIS) as organizations that have helped in the ITU's work."  

Other presentations made at the event can be found here.

Monday, November 21, 2005 10:44:23 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Wednesday, November 16, 2005

The WSIS Stocktaking Report has been officially launched during the World Summit on the Infrmation Society in Tunis. The report has been prepared on the basis of activities entered to the WSIS Stocktaking Database that by November 2005 contained more then 2500 entries. 

For the launch presentation see Stocktaking.pdf (1.47 MB).

For the WSIS Stocktaking Database see here

Wednesday, November 16, 2005 10:50:25 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

The final documents submitted to the second phase of WSIS being held 16-18 November 2005 in Tunis have been posted. They are:

In The Tunis Agenda for the Information Society, paragraphs 3-28 related to Financial Mechanisms for Meeting the Challenges of ICTs for Development, paragraphs 29-82 relate to Internet Governance, and paragraphs 83-122 relate to Implementation and Follow-up.

 

Wednesday, November 16, 2005 7:24:03 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Friday, November 11, 2005

From the soon to be released ITU Internet Report 2005: The Internet of Things comes this fresh survey data showing the breakdown of 3G mobile technologies according to markets. ITU research shows CDMA 2000 1x technology currently has 115 million subscribers while W-CDMA technology has 18.8 million subscribers at the end of 2004. 

 

Friday, November 11, 2005 4:35:04 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Monday, November 07, 2005

For the upcoming Global Symposium for Regulators (GSR) to be held in Hammamet, Tunisia, 14-15 November 2005, just before the second phase of the World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS), the ITU has released a paper by Tracy Cohen, Olli Mattila and Russel Southwood, entitled VoIP and Regulation, which will be presented at the GSR:

Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) is generally viewed as a “disruptive technology”. All the current market indications show that IP networks and services like Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) will replace traditional PSTN networks and services. ITU estimates that by 2008, at least 50 percent of international minutes will be carried on IP networks and that many carriers will have all-IP networks. Recent trends are certainly headed in this direction. For example, in the United States, residential VoIP subscriber numbers have increased from 150,000 at the end of 2003 to over 2 million in March 2005. It is predicted that subscribers in the US will exceed 4.1 million by 2006, generating over USD 1 billion in gross revenues for the year. In March 2005, the Chilean broadband operator VTR launched the first telecommunication network for residential services based on IP technology. The operator expects to expand its platform and reach 2 million customers in five years. There are approximately 35,000 residential telephones that use IP technology in Chile, either through Chilean operators or through Vonage...

This paper examines how VoIP services will affect future regulation. Due to the starkly contrasting global perceptions of VoIP however, it is difficult to present a unified approach to regulatory treatment of VoIP and this paper aims to reflect regulatory experiences from a wide range of countries that are grappling with the transition to VoIP. The three sections of this paper are structured to answer both the broad and specific questions raised by VoIP services, including the overall approach to regulating VoIP as a mainstream service; how VoIP has changed voice business models and the various ways of classifying the services it has created; and finally, other related issues frequently raised in connection with VoIP, such as quality of service; network integrity; emergency calling, numbering, communication security and lawful interception.

Monday, November 07, 2005 11:23:53 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Monday, October 31, 2005

The ITU-T Newslog has a post on work in ITU’s Study Group 17 work on Relayed Multicast Protocol (RMCP), that uses a peer-to-peer type model. RMCP allows the live broadcast of video or audio piggy-backing off other users (or servers). So in a scenario where 100 people are demanding a live broadcast, instead of serving each one of these clients their own video stream, only one stream has to be provided and each user will be served from another in the network. This has significant implications for instance for businesses broadcasting live events, where a previous scenario demanded 100 users be fed individual feeds, RMCP allows the broadcast of just one.

ITU-T has published one Recommendation (ITU-T Rec. X.603) on the topic outlining requirements, framework etc. The next two Recommendations due in 2006 will focus on the technical specifications. One focusing on one broadcaster to many clients, and the other on many broadcasters to many clients.

Monday, October 31, 2005 10:47:06 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

The ITU-T Newslog has a post on ITU's standards work on large screen digital imagery (LSDI), a family of digital imagery systems that includes very large screen presentation of programmes similar to the non-digital IMAX and OMNIMAX systems. LSDI is described as an optimal approach to the presentation of high-definition television (HDTV) programmes, to a collective audience on cinema-like screens in a cinema-like environment.

An ITU-T Recommendation defines how "super HDTV" images – up to four times the quality of standard HDTV - can be delivered to cinema-like venues, bypassing traditional distribution methods. It defines transport technologies for LSDI with resolutions 3840 x 2160 and 7680 x 4320 pixels.

Monday, October 31, 2005 9:42:55 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Wednesday, October 26, 2005

Warren New's Washington Internet Daily is reporting on the recent ITU-T Study Group 17 meeting activities that related to IDN and countering spam: 

Facilitating internationalized domain names and new measures to counter spam via technical means are part of an ITU push to meet member states' demands for more security standardization.

Last Oct.'s World Telecom Standardization Assembly in Brazil added 2 work items to the agenda of the group, called ITU-T SG-17: The first is to study IDNs, which raise a major security issue because "some national characters can make a user think he is going to one place, but really going to another place," said Herbert Bertine of Lucent, chmn. of SG-17: "We are looking to make sure that when you use internationalized domain names, the possibility that users can be confused, misdirected," will be reduced.

"The belief is that IDN implementation will contribute to easier and greater use of the Internet in those countries where the native or official languages are not yet represented in ASCII characters," documents said. Andrzej Bartosiewicz, head of the DNS Div. at Poland's NASK has been named the group's reporting member on IDNs. The SG will assess ITU members' needs in light of existing standards, he said.

SG-17 has seen "an enormous increase [of work] in the area of security," said Bertine. SG-17 published 5 security recommendations in the last 4-year study period, which ended late in 2004. Bertine said the SG may produce 15-20 during the next period, but said much of the work is in its infancy.

Countering spam by technical means is a new security area for SG-17. Spam has policy, regulatory, legal and technical aspects, but the SG will address the technical side of spam fighting. "A lot of work has been done by IETF," said Bertine. "There's a lot of [standards] material out there. We don't want to duplicate work. We want to leverage and reference" what's other standards bodies have done and fill gaps, said Bertine, "but we have a lot of countries -- particularly developing countries -- who are really looking for the ITU to provide this information."

How spammers do what they do is under consideration; but more important is that spam is not only unwanted e- mail but now a vehicle for viruses and other malware, said Bertine.

SG 17 is working with the ISO/IEC (the International Organization for Standardization and the International Electrotechnical Commission) on new to be designated as the 27,000 series and dealing with information security management systems, officials said. Bertine thinks the new series will result in companies finding that "it's in their best interest to be certified, whether it means better insurance rates, less liability because you can claim conformance... plus the most fundamental, if you've got vulnerabilities, you sure want to catch them because it's going to cost you a pile of money if somebody discovers a major weakness."

"The field of information technology and the field of communications continue to overlap and merge more and more every year. That's why collaboration is so important," said Bertine.

At this meeting it was also decide to adopt OASIS' Security Assertion Markup Language (SAML) and Extensible Access Control Markup Language (XACML) into ITU-T standards.

A list of documents from the last meeting of SG-17 is available here.

Wednesday, October 26, 2005 8:58:12 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Friday, October 21, 2005
The ITU runs High-Level Panel on The Information Society 2015: Building the Way Forward. The panel will take place during World Summit on the Information Society in Tunis, 15 November 2005 .
 
The ITU High-Level Panel at WSIS will discuss the implications of the convergence of telecommunication, media and information technology sectors as well as the impact of rapid innovations on the achievement of the 2015 connectivity goals.
 
The WSIS Geneva Declaration of Principles and Plan of Action set ambitious goals for bridging the digital divide by 2015. They will require strong commitments from all stakeholders at national, regional and international levels.
 
Chair: Mr. Yoshio Utsumi, ITU Secretay General

Moderation: Ms. Aiko Doden, NHK, Japan Broadcasting Corp. presenter, WSIS Goodwill Ambasador of Japan

Panelists
  • H.E. Dayanidhi Maran, Union Minister for Communications and Information Technologies, India
  • H.E. Pedro Cerisola Weber, Minister for Information and Communication Technologies, Mexico
  • H.E. Philippe Mvouo, Minister for Post, Telecommunications and New Information and Communication Technologies, Republic of the Congo
  • Dr. Yeongi Son, President of the Korea Agency for Digital Opportunity and Promotion
  • Dr. Sabiletso Mokoe-Matabane, CEO of Sentech, South Africa
  • Mr. Simon Beresford Wylie, Executive Vice President and General Manager of Networks, Nokia
  • Dr. Stephen Collins, Director, Government and Regulatory Affairs, Skype
  • Mr. Peter Bladin, Vice President,Grameen Foundation, USA and Director of Technology Center

For more information on panel, please click here.

For more information on ITU activities related to WSIS, please click here

Friday, October 21, 2005 7:21:21 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Thursday, October 20, 2005

NTT Docomo has announced a new 3G handset that can receive S-band satellite broadcasting. Korea has also deployed what it calls Digital Multimedia Broadcasting (DMB) to handsets in its native market. The definition of DMB according to a proposal from Korea to the ITU Standardization Sector to include DMB in the reference architecture for NGN Release 2 efforts is:

DMB Service is the next generation digital broadcasting service for indoor and outdoor users. The DMB users can enjoy CD quality stereo audio services and real-time video/data streaming services anywhere while moving at the speed of up to 200 km/h. ...There are two kinds of DMB services, terrestrial DMB and satellite DMB.

Thursday, October 20, 2005 11:38:20 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

Dr. Tim Kelly, from the ITU Strategy and Policy Unit recently spoke on South Africa’s Position in Global Telecoms, at the 2nd Colloquium on Telecom Prices in Johannesburg, South Africa. For the presentation given by Dr. Kelly, click here.

The South African press also quoted Dr. Kelly; "According to Kelly price is an easy variable to measure. The ITU use a formula based on 30G per month with an average of 30 hours per month."

When measuring South Africa against 40 other economies South Africa is ranked 38th. China for example, typically offers this type of package (30G with 30 hours of usage per month) for around $10 (R66). South Africa is ten times more expensive with figure of $100 (R660) per month for the same service.

Kelly said, "South Africa is paying far too much for broadband.” A good way of measuring the cost of broadband is to use the average income of the population (GMI). The percentage quoted by Kelly as an internationally acceptable measure is for broadband to cost 1% of the average income per capita for a 1Mbps service (currently the fastest service available in South Africa). South Africans are currently paying around 100% GMI for their 1Mbps service. When considering the exorbitant prices South Africans are forced to pay for an ADSL service it is no wonder penetrations sits at 0.2%. Another factor inhibiting broadband usage according to Kelly is bit caps.

"Wherever bit caps are applied it deters the use of broadband," said Kelly. He stated clearly that South Africa needs to abandon bit caps and that there is no reason why residential ADSL users should be subject to a bit cap. Kelly highlighted that the price of broadband and the enforcement of bit caps are the two factors that deter South Africans from using the service. With government and the private sector becoming increasingly restless regarding liberalization of the telecoms sector and specifically broadband provisioning it is time to start addressing some of these issues. 

For the full article, click here.

Thursday, October 20, 2005 7:53:00 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Monday, October 17, 2005

ITU has handed over "55 Inmarsats satellite phone sets to Pakistan to be used for communication in the Quake-disaster zones. Minister for Information Technology Awais Ahmad Khan Leghari Friday lauded the help received and coming in from world agencies, particularly the ITU to restore and re-install telecommunication links in earthquake hit areas."

"Restoration of telecommunications links is extremely critical for supporting the disaster relief operations in the earthquake struck region", said he. "We are doing all we can with the help of world agencies to put these links back in place."

For more information on the story, see Pakistan Times.

Monday, October 17, 2005 7:04:10 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Friday, October 14, 2005

Home Networking is the linking of all types of electronic devices for applications such as entertainment, telecommunication, home automation systems and telemetry (remote control and monitoring systems). And given the wide range of previously unrelated technologies involved, standards that allow for interoperability are seen as key to the successful marketing of the concept.

Now taking place at the ITU is a workshop on Opportunities and Challenges in Home Networking. The event is organized by ITU-T Study Group 9, in cooperation with several other ITU-T study groups and various organizations outside of ITU. It follows the Workshop on Home Networking and Home Services held 17-18 June 2004, Tokyo.

Study Group 9 has been working on standardization in home networking systems for more than four years. It has already approved three ITU-T Recommendations in the field, particularly dealing with IP-based multimedia services over cable networks. A current focus is a new Recommendation that will specify ways to bridge conditional access systems (that ensure payment in pay TV for example) to digital rights management (DRM) systems, an important step toward smooth operation of fully integrated home networking.

This workshop will bring together experts from all over the world who are pushing forward the frontiers of this fast-moving field. It will provide an overview of the technology as well as an examination of standards that address access, services, performance, Quality of Service, electromagnetic interference and security issues. The workshop will deal with current technology and future trends to provide a framework for moving forward standardization work. Attention will be given to both the technology and service aspects of this new technology.

The programme can be found here with links to the presentations. Highlights include:

  • Worldwide Status of Home Networking
  • Home Network Architecture and Technologies (including an update on UPnP and DLNA)
  • Home Networking Services and Business Models
  • Security and Digital Rights Management
  • Quality of Service in the Home Network
  • Electromagnetic Interference in the Home Environment
  • The Home Networking Future: Efforts and Challenges
Friday, October 14, 2005 10:13:19 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Thursday, October 13, 2005

Update: The ITU-T Newslog has a related article entitled ITU powers the iPod Generation.

Nice to see Apple's new iPod supporting the ITU-T H.264 video codec which came out of work in the Joint Video Team. Or as it is referred to in ITU-T official related standards (which are called Recommendations):

Congratulations to the JVT team for producing an incredibly efficient codec for both streaming and stored formats.

H.264 is "no doubt the best codec there is, offering a great coding efficiency," Tim Schaaff, vice president of the interactive-media group at Apple Computer Inc., said at IBC last week.

More from the ITU-T's News Flash in 2004: Video Codec's March Continues

Following the news that H.264/AVC (Advanced Video Coding) has been adopted for use in next generation high definition DVDs, the codec's popularity seems to be growing daily. Recent reports have shown a raft of companies announcing deployment plans and demos at industry events.

The video compression standard (full name H.264 or MPEG-4 pt.10/ AVC) jointly developed by ITU-T and the Moving Picture Experts Group (
MPEG) is now being deployed in products from companies including Apple, Sony, BT, France Telecom, Intel, Motorola, Nokia, Polycom, Samsung, Tandberg and Toshiba.

"Apple is firmly behind H.264 because it delivers superb quality digital video and is based on open standards that no single company controls," said Philip Schiller, Apple’s Senior Vice President of Worldwide Product Marketing in a company press release.

Apple’s website describes H.264: "This ultra-efficient, fully scalable video technology produces higher quality video at lower data rates for everything from 3G to HD."

Reports from the recent National Association of Broadcasters (NAB) show in Las Vegas say that there were dozens of announcements and demonstrations of H.264.

H.264/AVC is the first truly scalable video codec, delivering excellent quality across the entire bandwidth spectrum - from high definition television to videoconferencing and 3G mobile multimedia. The dramatically increased compression performance of H.264 will enable existing applications like videoconferencing, streaming video over the Internet, and digital television on satellite and cable to offer better quality video at lower cost. It will also allow new video applications such as High-Definition TV on DVD, video on mobile phones, and videoconferencing over low bandwidth connections that were previously impractical because of economics or technology.

Thursday, October 13, 2005 12:36:38 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Monday, October 10, 2005

A debate on the emerging agenda for the World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS) was staged in Geneva on 30 September 2005. An invited audience of ICT movers and shakers fired questions at a distinguished panel of experts. The resulting programme, Digital Dividend, will be broadcast on BBC World Television on 22 and 23 October 2005, in advance of Phase II of WSIS, which will take place in Tunis, Tunisia on 16-18 November 2005.

The transmission times for BBC World Television are as follows:

Saturday 22 October 2005 - 12:10 GMT
Saturday 22 October 2005 - 19:10 GMT
Sunday 23 October 2005 - 07:10 GMT
Sunday 23 October 2005 - 17:10 GMT

These times are all in GMT. For you local time, please check the BBC website.

 

Monday, October 10, 2005 1:54:36 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Friday, October 07, 2005

The October 2005 English edition of ITU News is now available. Headlines include:

  • ITU at a Glance
  • ITU's Connect the World Initiatives
  • Eye on development
  • SPAM
  • Pioneers Page
  • In Brief
  • Industry Watch
Friday, October 07, 2005 9:39:08 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Wednesday, October 05, 2005

ITU, together with sponsors BT, Cisco, Motorola, Nortel and Siemens, is holding a one day event to mark a new milestone in ITU’s work on next-generation networks (NGN). The event will present an overview of NGN work so far, details on future directions, and some of the key business drivers for NGN. In addition to announcing completion of work on the Release 1 standards for NGN by ITU-T’s Focus Group on Next-Generation Networks (FGNGN), the event will communicate the next phase of NGN work, dubbed the NGN Global Standards Initiative (NGN-GSI).

Press are invited to attend for the whole day, specific sessions or just for lunch, which will be preceded by a panel session. There will also be opportunities for one-on-one interviews with key NGN players from the world’s leading telcos and systems vendors.

For more details click here.

Operators from around the globe are implementing NGN strategies and plan to invest billions of dollars in the rollout of new packet-based networks. Their involvement in global standards-making stimulates innovation and more robust technology, fosters interoperability and multi-vendor product offerings, and protects current and future investment.

The operators, systems vendors and governments driving this standardization work believe NGN will deliver substantial cost savings through the economies of scale inherent in a single converged network. They believe international standards will facilitate an open market for systems, lowering costs and providing for mix-and-match implementation and global interoperability. NGN will benefit consumers through innovative new services, greater control and personalization, ease of migration between services, and continuity for existing services.

The event is aimed at professionals involved in product planning and service creation for systems vendors and service providers.

A limited number of places will be made available for journalists. Journalists interested in attending should contact ITU’s Toby Johnson.

Wednesday, October 05, 2005 11:38:13 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Wednesday, September 28, 2005

The latest meeting of ITU Study Group 3 saw an agreement that may lead to lower international mobile telephony charges. The move follows a successful initiative in the 1990’s to lower the – then – high cost of international fixed line telephone calls.

Study Group 3 research has found that in some cases mobile termination charges can be five to ten times more than fixed termination charge. Termination charges happen when calls are terminated in a network other than that from which they have originated. And since as many as 75 per cent of all calls now involve the mobile network in some way Study Group 3 has decided to investigate how to lower these costs and make mobile telephony more affordable.

The Study Group will send a questionnaire to members and following analysis of the responses it will develop targets aimed at bringing down the cost of mobile call termination. The same initiative for fixed-line telephony is thought to have significantly reduced costs to consumers. Although some lowering of call costs can be shown to have been due to competition and market conditions, call costs were also seen to drop in areas where there was no competition, indicating that the ITU initiative had worked.

In other news from Study Group 3's last meeting it was announced that an alternative has been agreed to the 140 year old practice of allowing the calling party’s service provider to invoice the call terminator for call termination services. The practice has led to many disputes and there have been calls to review the situation. Study Group 3's meeting agreed to a new model that – it is felt – will be less problematic. Now the call terminator can bill directly for the minutes used by the service provider sending the calls.

For further information on these and other Study Group 3 activites, please click here.

Wednesday, September 28, 2005 9:04:30 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Tuesday, September 27, 2005

Network World has an article on the evolution of IP-based networks that notes there are divergent views among standards bodies such as the ITU and the IETF, on the future evolution of the internet.

"The current Internet model is the stupid network model, where the network doesn't know what applications you're running and doesn't try to be helpful," he says. "The ITU's model [is] where the network is application-aware and can provide specific extra support for a particular application, such as VoIP. That session will compare what their strengths and weaknesses are, and hopefully out of it we can get some idea of what the future is going to look like."

Bradner says the ITU's model is designed to provide defined and guaranteed QoS, while the Internet is a best-effort model based on bandwidth capacity. He says both are applicable given the network circumstances - if there's plenty of bandwidth, there's no need for QoS controls; if not, there is.

The future of the 'Net could be shaped in large part by the need to support peer-to-peer applications and Web-based services, which use peer-to-peer protocols. This type of traffic is growing in use and importance in enterprise networks and on the 'Net, especially as companies move to SOAs designed to support peer-to-peer and message-based transmissions.

Are we heading for a future of dumb or smart networks? This recent piece in BCR Magazine on Making Networks Smart suggests that industry players on both the network side (e.g., Cisco and Juniper) and applications side (e.g., Microsoft, IBM, Sun, BEA) are making moves in the latter direction. Initiatives like the IPSphere Forum suggest that both the equipment manufacturers and the major service providers are on the same strategy:

The goal of the IPsphere forum is to create an industry call to action to create public networks that combine the reach of the Internet with the assured performance and security of a private network. This new approach is designed to overcome the current limitations of the Internet through the creation of "IPspheres," delivering an enriched experience for consumers, business-critical performance, and opening new markets for service providers.

Tuesday, September 27, 2005 11:42:04 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Monday, September 26, 2005

To further encourage the development of a ubiquitous network society, the ITU Strategy and Policy Unit, the Italian Ministry of Communications, the Ugo Bordoni Foundation and the Aosta Valley are hosting a Workshop on "Tomorrow's Network Today" that will be held in Saint-Vincent (Aosta), Italy on 7-8 October 2005.

This Workshop will discuss specific measures to help overcome potential challenges and determine possible future actions.

One session will be dedicated to Next Generation Networks (NGN) as a framework to harmonize the worldwide technical and functional basis needed to extend the use of integrated ICTs to as many users as possible.

During the workshop there will be an Exhibition which will bring together a wide range of leading industry participants as well as high-level representatives from government and regulators.

Click here for more information about the event.

Monday, September 26, 2005 9:46:04 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Thursday, September 22, 2005

A circular letter (Word) from the Director of the ITU Telecommunication Standardization Sector's Bureau provides an update on structure of ITU's future NGN standardization activites. The Focus Group on NGN (FGNGN) will have its final meeting on 14-18 November 2005 and it has been agreed that further work on NGN will be progressed under the banner of the NGN Global Standards Initiative (NGN-GSI) involving, in addition to NGN related Rapporteur Groups of Study Groups 11, 13 and 19, those from Study Groups 12, 15, 16 and other Study Groups as appropriate.

Thursday, September 22, 2005 9:53:08 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Tuesday, September 20, 2005

At the recent meeting of Study Group 11 a number of documents relating to the international emergency preference scheme (IEPS) were consented. IEPS aims to provide authorised emergency personnel a higher probability of successful communication under high network load conditions such as those that might occur in an emergency.

Among the topics dealt with at the meeting were signalling for support of IEPS to comply with ITU-T Recommendation E.106. E.106 provides guidelines for extending national emergency preference schemes across international boundaries. Because Recommendations in this area have potential national and regulatory policy implications, it was agreed to consider the documents under the traditional approval process (TAP) rather than under the alternative approval process (AAP). 

ITU maintains a webpage detailing its work in the area of Emergency Telecommunications.

Via ITU-T Newslog

Tuesday, September 20, 2005 11:20:23 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Thursday, September 15, 2005

ITU-T, in collaboration with the European Union’s IPv6 Task Force Steering Committee (EU IPv6 TF-SC) and the IPv6 Forum, organized an IPv6 workshop at ITU Headquarters in Geneva, June 22-23, 2005.

A final report of the workshop is now available on the workshop website.

Thursday, September 15, 2005 5:09:11 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

September has got off to a flying start as far as Next-Generation Networks (NGN) work in ITU is concerned. The important milestone of the Release 1 set of standards is on track for November (2005) and sufficient momentum has been achieved to ensure that the next stages of NGN work will be carried out with similar efficiency.

The continuation of the NGN study by ITU will be re-branded the NGN-Global Standards Initiative (NGN-GSI).

Houlin Zhao, Director of TSB, ITU-T's secretariat said: "I am very pleased with the progress and the results achieved by the Focus Group on next-generation networks (FGNGN ). These first results will provide the building blocks on which the world's systems vendors and service providers can start to make this monumental shift to NGN. We have the momentum, the tools and the will to continue this significant and important work."

Agreement on a future plan is clear and the Focus Group on next-generation networks (FGNGN) has been putting the finishing touches to Release 1 before formally submitting it into the Study Group system.

The FGNGN met in Geneva 24 August - 2 September alongside meetings of Study Groups 11 , 13 and 19 (2005), themselves all having elements of NGN work. Each FGNGN meeting has seen increased participation and contributions according to management.

The group chaired by Chae-Sub Lee of Korea is expecting to see completion of its Release 1 set of standards, at its November 2005 meeting in London, UK. A one day briefing session following that meeting will serve as an overview of the work, as well as an opportunity to promote future direction and business drivers.

The first draft of an allocation table for the distribution of work following the November meeting was also agreed. This type of activity as well as the development of a prototype project management tool, is seen as important in order to keep NGN work, that cuts across the study groups, aligned, coherent and consistent.

According to FGNGN chairman Lee, an important focus of the work at this Geneva meeting are the quality of service (QoS) aspects that will allow - for example - services like IPTV to be offered with the same broadcast quality as traditional TV. The Focus Group expects that there will be more than ten deliverables on QoS that will be submitted into the Study Group system for approval as ITU-T products such as Recommendations. Additionally the topic of fixed-mobile convergence saw much discussion in the meeting according to Lee.

FGNGN also saw the document that describes the scope for NGN standards in ITU reaching near maturity, an important step, according to meeting insiders. The document that gives an overview of what Release 1 is expected to cover in terms of services, capabilities and high level objectives was described in the meeting's report as 'very stable'. Additionally much progress was made on another crucial document describing Release 1 requirements.

Via ITU-T Newslog.

Thursday, September 15, 2005 2:56:48 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

WSIS Press Release, 15 September 2005: World Summit on the Information Society - Tunis Phase Preparatory Committee 3 (PrepCom-3): The final preparatory meeting for the forthcoming Tunis Phase of the World Summit on the Information Society will take place at the Palais de Nations, Geneva, from 19-30 September 2005. The meeting, which is expected to welcome some 1'500 participants from UN agencies, the private sector, civil society and the media, will work to finalize the working documents of the Summit, scheduled to take place in Tunis from November 16-18. For full text see: 

Thursday, September 15, 2005 2:04:54 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

Leaders from the leading national and regional telecommunications and radio standards organizations and a delegation from ITU consisting of both high-level secretariat staff and Study Group chairs met 28 August - 2 September, at The Tenth Global Standards Collaboration meeting (GSC-10).

The mission of the GSC is to exchange information between participating standards organizations to facilitate collaboration and to support the process of global telecommunication standardization in the ITU. The event was hosted by ETSI in Sophia Antipolis, France.

Participants at GSC-10 included the Australian Communications Industry Forum (ACIF), Association of Radio Industries and Businesses (ARIB) of Japan, the European Telecommunications Standards Institute (ETSI), the Alliance for Telecommunications Industry Solutions (ATIS) and Telecommunications Industry Association (TIA) from the US, the China Communications Standards Association (CCSA), the Telecommunication Technology Committee (TTC) of Japan, the Telecommunications Technology Association (TTA) of Korea, the ICT Standards Advisory Council of Canada (ISACC), and the International Telecommunication Union (ITU).

Guests and observers included representatives from the American National Standards Institute (ANSI), the Asia Pacific Telecommunity (APT), the Open Mobile Alliance (OMA) and the Sector Board 4 of International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC).

Specific resolutions on the following topics were agreed at the meeting:

  • Next-Generation Networks
  • Mapping Standards for "Systems Beyond IMT 2000"
  • Cybersecurity
  • Home Networking
  • Emergency Communications
  • Broadband Services in Rural and Remote Areas
  • Open Standards
  • Facilitating Liaison in relation to Measurement Methodologies for Assessing Human Exposure to RF Energy
  • Wireless access including RLANs, Ad-Hoc Networking and Broadband Wireless Access
  • Supporting Automotive Crash Notification ("ACN") by Public Wireless Communications Networks
  • Radio Microphones and Cordless Audio Devices
  • RFID Systems, Services and Networking
  • Public Protection & Disaster Relief
  • Ultra Wide Band
  • Intellectual Property Rights Policies
  • User Interest Working Group

Other areas discussed were:

  • Location-based Services
  • Internet Protocol over Wireless
  • Software defined radio & Cognitive radio
  • Digital Broadcasting including mobile multimedia applications
  • Satellite services

ITU maintains a repository of documents relating to this and all past GSC meetings.

Via the ITU-T Newslog.

Thursday, September 15, 2005 9:22:09 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Tuesday, September 13, 2005

"Industry has agreed on the technical direction for NGN" (next generation networks), said Keith Dickerson, BT head of standards and co-leader of ITU-T Focus Group on Next Generation Networks (FGNGN) Working Group 7 on future packet-based networks. "We shouldn't have interoperability problems when the NGN is deployed," he said.

FGNGN's job is to define network architecture and requirements to support fixed-mobile convergence, letting a fixed-line operator provide the same services as a network operator offering 3GPP defined services, for example, using IMS, said Dick Knight of BT vice chairman of FGNGN: "Thus equipment can be connected to either a fixed or mobile network [and] receive the same services, and a dedicated device, such as a phone, may roam between a 3GPP or 3GPP2 network and a fixed line network."

Fixed-mobile convergence will be enabled by extending the 3GPP IMS to provide the same services over the fixed network, said Dickerson: "BT is pushing for emulation of PSTN services to meet the 2009 deadline, when we'll be closing down PSTN... BT plans to move all its customers to its 21st Century Network," BT's version of the NGN, by 2009.

"FGNGN has given strategic and technical direction to industry, and enables a network operator to offer new services in new markets: Presence, IM, maybe in the future broadcast digital TV and video on demand. The design of a flexible service platform enables the networks to innovate to provide almost any capabilities and services we can imagine," Knight said.

FGNGN's main product will be Release 1, which "is a set of capabilities," said Keith Mainwaring of Cisco, co- leader of the FGNGN Working Group on Quality fo Service (QoS) and member of ITU Study Group 11, "one that specifies the mechanisms to provide NGN services. Defining the mechanisms will be assigned back to ITU Study Groups." With most standards "quite stable," the group is getting ready for final comments, "expected to be mostly of an editorial nature," said Chae-Sub Lee of Korea's Electronics Telecom Research Institute (ETRI), FGNGN chairman. QoS documents will comprise about 40% of Release 1. Among the group's 6 or so expected independent releases may be 12-14 QoS documents, said Lee.

Release 1 is due to be completed Nov. 18 in London, and a day later Cisco, Motorola, BT and Siemens will sponsor an industry event at which CTOs plan to speak on how firms will use the NGN standards.

The full text can be accessed through Warren's Washington Internet Daily.

For more information on the topics above, see the ITU FGNGN website.

Tuesday, September 13, 2005 4:12:56 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Monday, September 05, 2005

The second phase of the World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS) takes place this November in Tunisia. The third meeting of the Preparatory Committee (PrepCom-3 of the Tunis phase) will be held in Geneva from 19-30 September under the auspices of the International Telecommunication Union (ITU), and is certain to attract many high-level participants from the world of ICTs (information and communication technologies).

With support from SDC, GKP, and UNDP-APDIP, dev.tv intends to take advantage of this gathering to stage a one-hour televised debate on whether ICTs can effectively help lift people out of poverty. The debate will be broadcast on BBC World to 275 million homes worldwide, and will also be streamed over the internet during the week of the WSIS.

Monday, September 05, 2005 7:34:35 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Saturday, August 27, 2005

Standards that may accelerate the adoption of VoIP in corporate environments and resolve an issue that has slowed down the adoption of videoconferencing have been completed by ITU-T.

The standards from ITU-T’s multimedia Study Group (Study Group 16) provide a robust and easy to implement solution that will allow any H.323 based system communicating on an IP network to more easily communicate across the boundary imposed by NAT or firewalls (FW).

Videoconferencing and VoIP have long been plagued with problems when trying to work across network address translation (NAT) and firewall boundaries. Despite previous attempts to address the issue, no standardized way of dealing with the problem has emerged until now. 

Without the ITU solution many network managers and operators have found that the only way to allow inbound VoIP calls in a firewall-protected environment is to leave a permanent hole from the outside world, open a range of port numbers for VoIP use, or locate devices outside of the firewall. Clearly, these solutions violate even the most basic security policies. 

Recommendation H.460.18 enables H.323 devices to exchange signalling and establish calls, even when they are placed inside a private network behind NAT/FW devices. These extensions, when used together with Recommendation H.460.19, which defines NAT/FW traversal for media, enable upgraded H.323 endpoints to traverse NAT/FW installations with no additional equipment on the customer premises. Alternatively, the H.460.18 and H.460.19 functionality may be implemented in a proxy server, so that unmodified H.323 endpoints can also benefit from it.

Work on the related Recommendation H.248.37 was also finished at the Study Group meeting. Session border controllers (SBCs) are becoming an important part of the Internet infrastructure, and some SBCs are being split into media gateway controller (MGC) and media gateway (MG) components. One important function of a SBC is to perform network address and port translation (NAPT). H.248.37 allows the MGC to instruct a MG to latch to an address provided by an incoming Internet Protocol (IP) application data stream, rather than the address provided by the call/bearer control. This enables the MG to open a pinhole for data flow, and hence allow connections to be established. 

As well as these ITU-T Recommendations, Study Group 16 will shortly publish two technical papers on the topic: The Requirements for Network Address Translator and Firewall Traversal of H.323 Multimedia Systems and Firewall and NAT traversal Problems in H.323 Systems.

Via the ITU-T Newslog.

Saturday, August 27, 2005 8:24:40 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Thursday, August 25, 2005

Recommendation H.460.20 consented at the last Study Group 16 meeting solves the problem of how to provide location information in calls generated to/from H.323 systems. The Recommendation allows these systems – such as VoIP or videoconferencing – to convey information that could be a URL, an e-Mail, a postal code, or a mobile telephone number. This is much more than can be achieved with a traditional public switched telephone network (PSTN) call.

Currently calls generated or terminated in H.323 systems do not carry - end-to-end – details of where that call is coming from. This information is needed by the public switched telephone network (PSTN) for emergency services, more accurate billing and for routing the call. Additionally it is useful, for instance, in applications such as telemarketing where calls can be routed according to their origin. 

Technically H.460.20 gives H.323 the ability to convey the location number present in ISUP – the system that determines the set-up, co-ordination and taking down of calls. Without this ability location information is lost at the interworking edge between the IP network and the PSTN. An additional benefit is that it simplifies interworking with the session initiation protocol (SIP).

Via the ITU-T Newslog.

Thursday, August 25, 2005 9:15:13 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Friday, August 05, 2005

The Chairman's report (PDF) from the ITU WSIS Thematic Meeting on Cybersecurity held June 28 - July 1 2005 has been released.

The event was organized in the framework of the implementation of the Declaration of Principles and Plan of Action adopted on 12 December 2003, at the first phase of the World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS) and in preparation for the Tunis phase of WSIS, to be held from 16 to 18 November, 2005. The event website provides links to the final agenda, all background papers, presentations, electronic contributions, the Chairman’s Report and audio archives.

The four-day meeting was structured to consider and debate six broad themes in promoting international dialogue and cooperative measures among governments, the private sector and other stakeholders as well as promotion of a global culture of cybersecurity. These include information sharing of national and regional approaches, good practices and guidelines; developing watch, warning and incident response capabilities; technical standards and industry solutions; harmonizing national legal approaches and international legal coordination; privacy, data and consumer protection; and developing countries and cybersecurity.

The first day of the meeting focused on countering spam as follow-up to the ITU WSIS Thematic Meeting on Countering Spam, held in July 2004.

Friday, August 05, 2005 12:38:36 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

At a recent ITU cybersecurity event, Bruce Schneier, Founder and CTO, Counterpane Internet Security, Inc. gave a keynote speech entitled Negotiating for Security.

A Real Audio archive is available of Mr. Schneier's talk (speech starts 4 minutes from start of archive).

Mr. Schneier states that security is one of the fundamental building blocks of the information society as everything we now do with information requires some kind of security—sometimes a little, sometimes a lot, may it be personal, corporate or government related. He said that to a very real extent the limits of the information society can be seen as the limits of security. In other words, if we cannot do it securely, we will not do it with computers and on the internet. Therefore, this means that security is a fundamental enabling technology of the global information society. Moreover, he noted that society as a whole is increasingly moving onto computers and networks and therefore things that had previously nothing to do with computers suddenly do: whether airplanes or the national power grid, these now have an important information security component to their secure functioning. This means that information security therefore has become our general security, which is almost everything. This fact explains our need for an increased focus on security and why the things we are trying to achieve here at this meeting are so important.

Friday, August 05, 2005 11:16:36 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

At the recent ITU WSIS Thematic Meeting on Cybersecurity, Maria Cristina Bueti, Policy Analyst, Strategy and Policy Unit, ITU, presented a background paper entitled ITU Survey of Anti-Spam Laws and Authorities Worldwide. The survey was conducted in April 2005 and sent to ITU’s 189 Member States. The survey results, based on 58 responses received, showed that there are a number of countries that have already implemented anti-spam legislation. In some cases, countries use data protection laws or consumer protection laws to cope with spam issues. A number of countries do not have anti-spam legislation or any laws applicable to spam. A slide from her presentation is shown below.

Friday, August 05, 2005 10:58:37 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Wednesday, August 03, 2005

John Levine, Chair, IRTF Antispam Research Group (ASRG) writes in his weblog that the anti-spam Sender Policy Framework (SPF) email authentication scheme is losing market mindshare.

In a recent talk at an ITU Cybersecurity Event, Mr. Levine gave a presentation entitled The Limits of Security Technology: Lessons from the Spam Wars. In his talk, he asked the audience to reflect carefully as to how technology fits in to the overall solution. He stressed that technology can be morally and politically neutral but we need to decide exactly what it is that we want. For example, an ultimate solution to spam could impact on issues such as anonymous speech, whether we wanted virtual or physical identities, or closed or open systems. These were all tradeoffs that needed to be considered.

Wednesday, August 03, 2005 8:42:59 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Friday, July 29, 2005

The final version of a paper commissioned by the ITU entitled A Comparative Analysis of Spam Laws: The Quest for a Model Law (PDF) has been released. The paper was authored by Derek E. Bambauer, John G. Palfrey, Jr., and David E. Abrams, Berkman Center for Internet & Society, Harvard Law School, for the ITU WSIS Thematic Meeting on Cybersecurity held in Geneva, 28 June - 1 July 2005.

Executive Summary

Spam presents a significant challenge to users, Internet service providers, states, and legal systems worldwide. The costs of spam are significant and growing, and the increasing volume of spam threatens to destroy the utility of electronic mail communications.

The Chairman’s Report from the ITU WSIS Thematic Meeting on Countering Spam in July 2004 emphasized the importance of a multi-faceted approach to solving the problem of spam and named legal governance as one of the necessary means. Our paper focuses on the potential nature of the legal regulation of spam, specifically the importance of harmonizing regulations in the form of a model spam law. We agree with the Chairman that the law is only one means towards this end and we urge regulators to incorporate other modes of control into their efforts, including technical methods, market-based means, and norm-based modalities.

Spam uniquely challenges regulation because it easily transverses borders. The sender of a message, the server that transmits it, and the recipient who reads it may be located in three different states, all of which are under unique legal governance. If spam laws are not aligned in these states, enforcement will suffer because the very differences between spam laws may mean that a violation in one state is a permissible action in another. Moreover, spammers have an incentive to locate operations in places with less regulation, and the opportunity to states to create a domestic spam hosting market may engage them in a race to the bottom.

Harmonizing laws that regulate spam offers considerable benefits, insofar as a model law could assist in establishing a framework for cross-border enforcement collaboration. To those enforcing the regulation of spam, harmonization as a model law effort offers: clear guidelines, easy adoption, enhanced enforcement, stronger norms, fewer havens for spammers, and the increased sharing of best practices. If such regulators then agree that harmonization can aid legal regimes intent on curbing spam, they must initially address four critical tasks: defining prohibited content, setting default rules for contacting recipients, harmonizing existing laws, and enforcing such rules effectively. This legal approach must be concurrently matched by efforts that employ other modes of regulation, such as technical measures, user education, and market-based approaches.

Our analysis of existing spam legislation gathered by the ITU Strategy and Policy Unit evaluated these laws’ elements to determine whether they were commonly included or not, and whether provisions were uniformly implemented or varying when present. Our research documents seven instances in which extant laws strongly converge: a focus on commercial content, the mandatory disclosure of sender/advertiser/routing, bans on fraudulent or misleading content, bans on automated collection or generation of recipient addresses, the permission to contact recipients where there is an existing relationship, the requirement to allow recipients to refuse future messages, and a mix of graduated civil and criminal liability. Also documented are five key areas of disagreement which are vital to a harmonized spam law but which have evaded consensus thus far: a prior consent requirement for contacting recipients, a designated enforcer, label requirements for spam messages, the definition of spam (whether it is limited to e-mail communication, or includes other applications, such as SMS), and the jurisdictional reach of the system’s spam laws. Naturally, a harmonization effort must tackle and narrow these zones of divergence in order to succeed.

Spam laws, whether harmonized or not, are at best only part of the solution to the spam problem and must be developed in concert with technical, market, and norms-based tools if the scourge of spam is to be substantially reduced. Efforts to harmonize the legal regulation of spam can serve as one effective means to solving the unique challenges spam presents. A model spam law is possible to develop, despite the many differences among the world’s spam laws.

Friday, July 29, 2005 10:00:40 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Wednesday, July 27, 2005

From the ITU-T Newslog: The Focus Group on Next Generation Networks (FGNGN) has recently completed a technical report that will hand back some elements of network management to the customer.

The document is an approved deliverable of the group that will be submitted to FGNGN’s parent within ITU-T, Study Group 13, for further consideration as a candidate ITU-T product (e.g. Recommendation, supplement, handbook, etc.). It outlines a framework for customer manageable IP networks (CMIP).

CMIP will give end users the ability to manage network elements and resources, such as bandwidth and storage.

Using a menu driven system CMIP will allow end-users to split bandwidth, dedicating, for instance, 1 Mbps to file sharing, .5 Mbps to instant messaging and e-mail, and .5 Mbps to web browsing.

Service providers will benefit by being able to offer this ability as value-add to their Internet service offerings, and will also be able to better provision network resources for services, such as web browsing, VoIP, and peer to peer (P2P), given the increased knowledge of exactly how users are using their bandwidth.

Wednesday, July 27, 2005 10:31:53 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Tuesday, July 26, 2005

BCR Magazine has an editorial entitled Monetizing the Internet:

"I won’t pretend that John Waclawsky’s article in this month’s issue (“IMS 101: What You Need To Know Now”) is easy going. There are a lot of protocol acronyms and stuff about standards bodies that might tempt you to turn the page. Don’t.

Waclawsky’s article has everything to do with what the public networks, wireline and wireless, are likely to become over the next few years. It deals with the IP/Internet Multimedia Subsystem or IMS, the standards set that began in the wireless world but is likely to become the foundation of a comprehensive vision that the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) calls the Next Generation Network or NGN.

What’s remarkable about Waclawsky’s article, to me anyway, is its conclusion. If you’ve followed his past articles for BCR (see “Closed Architectures, Closed Systems And Closed Minds,” October 2004, and “Where Do System Standards Go From Here?” March 2005), you know that Waclawsky is not kindly disposed toward these overarching, carrier-driven standards efforts. He’s highly skeptical of attempts to, as he puts it in this month’s article, “monetize the Internet.” He uses the current article to critique the IMS and related efforts, and finds much wanting.

Yet his bottom line is this: “In spite of the drawbacks and delays, it seems one or more variations of IMS could become the norm for all broadband access.” This forecast cannot be made with any relish."

More....

Tuesday, July 26, 2005 9:58:30 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

The ITU Council has approved that the theme for World Telecommunication Day 2006 (May 17) be Promoting Global Cybersecurity.

Here is the background of this decision as contained in the proposal to ITU Council:

The United Nations General Assembly adopted, in 2002, a resolution entitled UNGA Resolution 57/239: Creation of a global culture of cybersecurity, calling for international organizations to consider measures to foster a global culture of cybersecurity and invited Member States to develop throughout their societies a culture of cybersecurity in the application and use of information technologies. The General Assembly also stressed the necessity to facilitate the transfer of information technology and capacity-building to developing countries, in order to help them to take measures in cybersecurity.

The ITU Plenipotentiary in 2002 adopted Resolution 130: Strengthening the role of ITU in information and communication network security, instructing the Secretary General and the Directors of the Bureaux to intensify work within existing ITU study groups and inviting ITU Member States and Sector Members to participate actively in the ongoing work of the relevant ITU study groups.

In 2004, a second resolution, UNGA Resolution 58/199: Creation of a global culture of cybersecurity and the protection of critical information infrastructure, was adopted by the United Nations on the global culture of cybersecurity and the protection of critical information infrastructure. The General Assembly, through this Resolution, encouraged Member States, regional and international organizations that have developed strategies to deal with cybersecurity and the protection of critical information infrastructures to share their best practices and measures that could assist other Member States in their efforts to facilitate the achievement of cybersecurity; it also stressed the necessity for enhanced efforts to close the digital divide, to achieve universal access to information and communication technologies and to protect critical information infrastructures by facilitating the transfer of information technology and capacity-building, in particular to developing countries so that all States may benefit fully from information and communication technologies for their socio-economic development.

In 2004, the World Telecommunication Standardization Assembly (WTSA) adopted Resolution 50 on Cybersecurity, requesting the ITU-T to continue to raise awareness, of the need to defend information and communication systems against the threat of cyberattack, and continue to promote cooperation among appropriate entities in order to enhance exchange of technical information in the field of information and communication network security.

In accordance with PP Resolution 130 and WTSA Resolution 50, it was proposed that ITU should take a lead role in promoting a global cybersecurity campaign. The vehicle of World Telecommunication Day can be used to build an awareness campaign in support of this objective. In implementing this campaign, ITU would work in close cooperation with organizations involved in global cybersecurity issues, including the European Network and Information Security Agency, the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development as well as other national, regional and international interested entities.

Tuesday, July 26, 2005 9:48:46 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Monday, July 25, 2005

Press Release: The International Telecommunication Union (ITU), the United Nations specialized agency for telecommunications, and infoDev, a multi-donor programme focusing on information and communication technologies (ICT) for development, today launched a new online Regulation Toolkit designed to address the complex regulatory challenges emerging from a rapidly evolving ICT industry.

An update and expansion of infoDev’s influential print publication Telecom Regulators’ Handbook (issued in 2000), the new web-based toolkit is aimed at national and regional regulatory agencies, ICT policy-makers, and other stakeholders with an active interest in ICT regulation. Nearly 140 countries worldwide now have a national regulatory authority, with the vast majority having been put in place during the last 10 years. These relatively new authorities, many of which have been established as part of a broader programme of national ICT liberalization, have a strong need for reliable and impartial information on regulatory issues and best practice.

"Today’s regulators and policy makers — especially those in the developing world — are seeking practical advice and concrete best practice guidelines to help grow their national ICT markets," said Hamadoun I. Touré, Director of ITU’s Telecommunication Development Bureau (BDT). "The new ICT Regulation Toolkit responds to this demand by providing a first-class product on policy and regulation."

Conceived as a permanently evolving resource, the toolkit consists of a series of modules on key regulatory issues in the rapidly converging ICT sector. The first module, which went live today, deals with the authorization of telecommunication services. It addresses such issues as different authorization approaches and practices, and competitive licensing processes. It also highlights recent trends toward lighter authorization and licensing practices that reduce barriers to market entry.

Monday, July 25, 2005 3:11:53 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Friday, July 22, 2005

In between the meetings of two lead technical groups working on image and video compression, ISO/IEC's JPEG and ITU-T's Study Group 16, ITU will host a Workshop on Video and Image Coding and Applications (VICA) at the ITU headquarters, Geneva, Switzerland, 22 to 23 July 2005. Key experts will join users to review the development, assessment and application of video and image coding and to discuss and start work on an action plan and a roadmap for VICA standardization.

Presentations will instigate discussion on how standards work in the field, including how next generation networks (NGN) can support the development of so-called ubiquitous services - any device, anytime, anywhere. Current work on home network environments will also be taken into account. For more information, see the ITU meeting website.

One of the presentations includes an overview of the ITU-T H.264 standard (also known as MPEG-4 Advanced Video Coding (AVC) made by Gary Sullivan, Microsoft, Rapporteur for ITU-T Q.6/16.

Friday, July 22, 2005 7:20:29 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Tuesday, July 12, 2005

Via Africa: Creating local and regional IXPs to save money and bandwidth has been released by The ITU Telecommunication Development Sector (ITU-D) Regulatory Reform Unit.

This booklet has three sections that seek to look at how national and regional Internet Exchange Points (IXPs) might be created, particularly in the African context but it also draws on lessons from elsewhere:

  • Section One looks at the African policy context out of which IXPs came and outlines the practical reasons for implementing them on the continent.
  • Section Two describes how national IXPs have been set up and deals with both the people and technology issues that have to be addressed. It also identifies ways in which the regulatory framework can be made more favourable to encourage their successful operation.
  • Section Three looks at the next logical step: how it might be possible to connect national IXPs so that data can flow between countries without needing to leave the continent. It summarizes: the discussions to date about the best approach to this task; the option chosen by AfrISPA; and what needs to happen to make it a reality.

There is also a discussion of the regulatory issues that may need to be considered and the appendices of the booklet contain a list of useful documents and references.

Tuesday, July 12, 2005 3:16:52 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Thursday, June 30, 2005

According to a CNET article, computer security and software companies are urging the U.S. Senate to approve the world's first treaty targeting cybercrime.

A letter from the groups, including the Business Software Alliance, VeriSign, InfraGard and the Cyber Security Industry Alliance, called on senators to ratify the controversial document, which was the subject of a brief flurry of attention last year before it expired without a floor vote.

"The cybercrime convention will serve as an important tool in the global fight against those who seek to disrupt computer networks, misuse private or sensitive information, or commit traditional crimes utilizing Internet-enabled technologies," said the letter, which was sent Tuesday. "It requires countries to adopt similar criminal laws against hacking, infringements of copyrights, computer-facilitated fraud, child pornography and other illicit cyberactivities."

Today's WSIS Thematic Meeting on Cybersecurity Sessions 13 and 14 includes discussion of the Convention on Cybercrime.

Thursday, June 30, 2005 4:16:03 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

ITU-T has recently hosted a workshop on IPv6 organized in cooperation with the European Union’s IPv6 Task Force Steering Committee (IPv6 EU TF-SC) and the IPv6 Forum. The event, held in Geneva, between 22 to 23 June 2005, examined the current status of IPv6, with regards to rollout, policy, technology and applications. An additional aim was to promote awareness of IPv6 to countries where Internet use is relatively low. The agenda and presentations have been made available on the event web site.

Thursday, June 30, 2005 12:02:39 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Wednesday, June 29, 2005

During this morning's session at the ITU WSIS Thematic Meeting on Cybersecurity on Information Sharing of National and Regional Approaches, Good Practices and Guidelines, Myriam DUNN, Head, International Relations and Security Network (ISN), Center for Security Studies (CSS), Swiss Federal Institute of Technology, Switzerland presented a background paper (PDF) on A Comparative Analysis of Cybersecurity Initatives Worldwide.

Wednesday, June 29, 2005 12:14:33 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

The final presentation at yesterday's session on spam at the ITU WSIS Thematic Meeting on Cybersecurity, John LEVINE, Chair, IETF Antispam Research Group (ASRG) made a presentation entitled the Limits of Security Technology: Lessons from the Spam Wars.

Wednesday, June 29, 2005 11:46:17 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

Yesterday, at the ITU WSIS Thematic Meeting on Cybersecurity, during the day focused on spam, a session was dedicated to discussing national policies and legislative approaches to spam. As part of this session, a Background Paper commissioned by ITU, entitled A Comparative Analysis of Spam Laws: the Quest for Model Law, was presented (presentation) by Derek BAMBAUER, Research Fellow, Berkman Center for Internet & Society. The authors of hte paper are Derek BAMBAUER, John PALFREY, Executive Director, and David ABRAMS, Berkman Center for Internet & Society, Harvard Law School, United States. From the introduction to the report: 

The goal of this paper is to help policymakers understand the potential benefits and challenges of model spam legislation as a tool to improve the security of and user confidence in information and communications technology (ICT), as well as the potential that model spam legislation holds for Internet users worldwide. First, it sets forth a framework for understanding spam and identifies key issues confronting regulators. Next, the paper examines the set of options for spam laws based on existing and proposed legislation gathered by the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) Strategy and Policy Unit (SPU). It analyzes the level of consensus among these extant laws and the degree to which a particular component is included in most legislation and in the degree to which provisions addressing this component are similar or harmonized. The paper points towards zones where there is considerable consensus while simultaneously illuminating the most fundamental differences, so that policymakers can tackle the hard issues and choices involved in spam laws. Finally, the paper makes preliminary recommendations for spam law efforts and considers both the potential for and the likely efficacy of a model spam law.

During the same sessions, there were presentations from:

  • Panellist: Jonathan KRADEN (biography), Staff Attorney, Federal Trade Commission (FTC), United States
      o  Presentation
  • Panellist: Miguel MONTERO (biography), Spam Ruling Administrator, Radiografica Costarricense (RACSA), Costa Rica
      o  Presentation
  • Panellist: Liang LIU (biography), Assistant Director, Anti-Spam Coordination Team, Internet Society of China, People’s Republic of China
      o  Presentation
  • Presentation: Maria Cristina BUETI (biography), Policy Analyst, Strategy and Policy Unit, ITU
    ”ITU Survey of Anti-Spam Laws and Authorities Worldwide”
      o  Presentation
Wednesday, June 29, 2005 11:10:22 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Tuesday, June 28, 2005

Luc Mathan from the relatively new Messaging Anti-Abuse Working Group (MAAWG) is giving a presentation on MAAWG's efforts to align the messaging industry stakeholders along three directives: Collaboration, Technology and Policy. The working group will address collaborating on cross-operator communications, best practices and technology to combat messaging abuse, as well as developing a cohesive point of view on public policy.  More information about MAAWG.

MAAWG members are developing a feedback loop mechanisms to deal with spam complaints between ISPs. They are also creating a contact database for service providers to be able to contact the appropriate person to deal with a messaging abuse situation.

Tuesday, June 28, 2005 9:29:29 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

Steve Linford of the Spamhaus Project is speaking at the ITU WSIS Thematic Meeting on Cybersecurity on the first day which is concentrating on countering spam. Some of his remarks:

  • Spamhaus blocks approximatley 8 billion spam messages per day
  • They estimate there are 4 million infected zombie machines which have been compromised with 60-100,000 newly infected per week
  • These are used to launch Distributed Denial of Service (DDOS) Attacks
  • This is increasingly a criminal activity with "spam supermarkets"
  • Mostly American and Russian spammers using Chinese hosting. These are technically smart users who firewall their sites from their hosting companies.
  • Spammers in Russia are more criminal than US counterparts. They are involved in
  • The largest Russian ISP, Rostelecom says they cannot terminate accounts as Russian law does not permit it.
  • Australian spam laws are best in the world, penalties are high enough to make a dent in spam
  • Consumer confidence in the Internet is dropping every day
  • Spam is a cancer and it is fast killing the Internet

Some of Steve's conclusions include:

  • You must ban and not regulate spam
  • Governments must give resources to law enforcement agencies
  • Make it criminal for ISPs to host spammers
  • Require a 24 hour point of contact for all ISPs to terminate problems
  • Educate users to not reply to spam

The meeting is also being audiocast live over the Internet. Mr. Linford's talk is the beginning of Session 2.

Tuesday, June 28, 2005 9:06:59 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

At the start of the 21st century, our societies are increasingly dependent on information and communications technologies (ICTs) that span the globe. The ITU WSIS Thematic Meeting on Cybersecurity opens today and takes place from 28 June – 1 July 2005 at ITU headquarters in Geneva, Switzerland. This conference will examine the recommendations in the World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS) first phase's Declaration of Principles and Plan of Action that relate to building confidence and security in the use of ICTs and the promotion of a global culture of cybersecurity. Now available on the meeting web site is the agenda (with links to presentations as they are given) and meeting background papers and contributions. The meeting is also being audiocast live over the Internet.

The meeting will specifically consider six broad themes in promoting international cooperative measures among governments, the private sector and other stakeholders, including:

  • information sharing of national approaches, good practices and guidelines; 
  • developing watch, warning and incident response capabilities;
  • harmonizing national legal approaches and international legal coordination;
  • technical standards;
  • privacy, data and consumer protection;
  • developing economies and cybersecurity.

The first day of the meeting will focus on countering spam as follow-up to the ITU WSIS Thematic Meeting on Countering Spam held in July 2004.

Tuesday, June 28, 2005 6:09:43 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Friday, June 03, 2005

From the ITU-T Newslog: A meeting of Study Group 15, the ITU-T group responsible for studies into optical and other transport network technologies, has consented a new Recommendation that defines the way for equipment providers to produce systems for Ethernet virtual private line (EVPL) services. EVPLs offer a way for operators to provide point-to-point connections for carrying data over shared-bandwidth facilities.

The announcement is in line with the current industry trend to offer Ethernet services, and further signals Ethernet's growth in popularity as an enterprise telecom service.

Long-recognized as a ubiquitous LAN technology, Ethernet is now seeing increased attention as a carrier-grade service. In part this is due to the convenience of being able to simply provide end-to-end service, but also carriers can realize savings both in terms of capital and operational expenditure.

In terms of capital expenditure, Ethernet is easy and cost-effective to provision in the network. In terms of operational expenditure, carriers can deploy a single physical connection to the end user, but adapt its data-carrying capacity as end-user requirements dictate over time. This flexibility means a significant saving for the operator and the customer.

This work follows earlier work in the area of ITU Ethernet standards approved last year. See this ITU press release from June 2004.

The new Recommendation - G.8011.2 - defines the service attributes and parameters for carrying Ethernet characteristic information over shared-bandwidth, point-to-point connections, provided by SDH, ATM, MPLS, PDH, OTH, or ETY server layer networks.

Friday, June 03, 2005 11:18:42 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Thursday, June 02, 2005

In the framework of its Technology Watch activities, ITU-T has recently published a technical paper on radio frequency identification (RFID) and opportunities for its use in mobile telecommunication services. RFID enables data to be transmitted by a tiny portable device, called a tag, which is read by an RFID reader and processed according to the needs of a particular application. It is only recently that the technology has begun to take off in the mass market. Analysts predict that RFID will revolutionize areas of industry, such as supply chain management and the retail business, for example by reducing costs with better stock management. The technical paper presents several ideas for applications of RFID technology in mobile telecommunication services as well as possible areas for standardization efforts. Apart from purely technical concepts, the challenging aspects of security and privacy are discussed. A PowerPoint presentation of the paper is also available.

ITU-T recently set up a correspondence group on RFID in the framework of its Technology Watch and a dedicated e-mail reflector on the matter for initiating studies on the technology. Additionally, ITU-T is to hold a workshop on RFID standardization issues in the first quarter of 2006. [via ITU-T Newslog]

Thursday, June 02, 2005 12:15:07 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Friday, May 27, 2005

From the ITU-T Newslog: ITU-T has completed the specifications necessary for telecoms operators around the world to offer a ‘super’ triple play of video, Internet and voice services.

The ITU-T Recommendation for very-high-bit-rate digital subscriber line 2 (VDSL2) will allow operators worldwide to compete with cable and satellite operators by offering services such as high definition TV (HDTV), video-on-demand, videoconferencing, high speed Internet access and advanced voice services including VoIP, over a standard copper telephone cable.

VDSL2 will offer consumers up to 100 Mbps up and downstream, a massive ten-fold increase over the more common ADSL. Essentially it allows so-called ‘fibre-extension’ bringing fibre like bandwidth to premises not directly connected to the fibre-optic segment of a telecoms company’s network.

As well as addressing increasing consumer demands, VDSL2 offers telecom carriers a solution that promises to be interoperable with the ADSL kit that many operators already have in place. This interoperability will make the migration of customers to VDSL2 much simpler. Another important feature of VDSL2 is that it will work in both legacy ATM networks and next generation IP based networks.

VDSL2 is seen by many operators as an ideal accompaniment to a fibre to the premises (FTTP) rollout, where for instance fibre is supplied direct to an apartment block and from there copper cable is used to supply residents with high-speed VDSL2.

Yoichi Maeda, chairman of the Study Group responsible for the work said: “We have leveraged the strengths of ADSL, ADSL2+, and VDSL to achieve the very high performance levels that you will see with VDSL2. It looks set to become an extremely important feature of the telecommunications landscape and is a landmark achievement for our members, many of whom were relying on this Recommendation in order to take their businesses to the next level.”

The publication of standardized specifications in an ITU-T Recommendation (G.993.2) means that operators can avoid being locked into a single vendor. As well as the economic advantages that this may bring it also means that operators can select the best solutions according to their needs.

Friday, May 27, 2005 2:09:17 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
Friday, May 27, 2005 2:03:01 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

At an ITU/EU (ENISA) Regional Seminar on Cybersecurity for CEE, CIS and Baltic States in Riga, Latvia, Robert Shaw of the ITU Strategy and Policy Unit has given a presentation (PDF) on the upcoming ITU WSIS Thematic Meeting on Cybersecurity which will be held June 28-July 1 2005 at ITU headquarters.

Other presentations on available on the event web site, including an update by Pernilla SKANTZ on the establishment of the European Network and Information Security Agency (ENISA).

Friday, May 27, 2005 1:32:33 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Thursday, May 26, 2005

Communications has a post on the recent IMTC Forum 2005: The Future of Next Generation Networks: Convergence of VoIP, Videoconferencing and Mobile, May 10-12, 2005.

The IMTC is an industry association best known for championing video telephony.  Many of the attendees have devoted 10, 15, even 20 years of effort to making video telephony work. 

All of the presentations made at the Forum are linked to in this document (Word) on the IMTC web site. Some presentations worth highlighting include:

Thursday, May 26, 2005 2:47:47 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Wednesday, May 25, 2005

The 2005 ASEM Cyber Security Workshop, Seoul will be held in Republic of Korea, hosted by the Ministry of Information and Communication of Korea. The ITU WSIS Thematic Meeting on Cybersecurity will follow shortly afterwards, June 29-July 1 2005 in Geneva, Switzerland.

Wednesday, May 25, 2005 11:42:48 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

2005 marks the 20th anniversary of the publication of the report of the Independent Commission ("Maitland Commission") on Worldwide Telecommunication Development, entitled "The Missing Link". To mark the anniversary, ITU has published the original report on its website, in English, French and Spanish.

The "missing link" of the title's report refers to the gap in telecommunications development, within and between nations. Although the term "digital divide" is now more common, the original arguments presented in the report are still quite valid. In particular, the report calls for "decisions at the highest political level" to bring "all of mankind within easy reach of a telephone by early part of the next century". Research by ITU (see the 2003 World Telecommunication Development Report) indicates that, by the start of this century, just over 80 per cent of the world's population were within reach of phones (increasingly mobile phones rather than fixed line telephones). Although this falls short of the original target, the "decisions at the highest political level" that the report calls for is now closer to fruition with the holding of the World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS), which is the first time this issue has been discussed at the Heads of State and Heads of Government level. The WSIS Declaration of Principles, adopted by the first phase of the WSIS in December 2003 contains the following commitment (para 10):

"We are also fully aware that the benefits of the information technology revolution are today unevenly distributed between the developed and the developing countries and within societies. We are fully committed to turning this digital divide into a digital opportunity for all, particularly for those who risk being left behind and being further marginalized". 

Wednesday, May 25, 2005 11:21:59 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Thursday, May 19, 2005

Om Malik's Broadband Blog has a piece on ITU-T's upcoming VDSL2 standard and a comparison of speeds of various xDSL flavours. ITU-T Study Group 15 meetings are now underway (16-27 May 2005) in Geneva working on this as well as a number of other standards. The list of 281 delayed contributions into the meeting shows the intensive activity in this Study Group by service providers and equipment manufacturers.

Thursday, May 19, 2005 4:33:06 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

This new Strategy and Policy Unit website gathers ITU resources related to Next Generation Networks.

Thursday, May 19, 2005 12:49:44 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Wednesday, May 18, 2005

A recent meeting of Study Group 12 saw progress in the development of QoS-related standards for IP-based networks and services.

QoS is seen as a key area to address in IP-based networks, especially as more carriers announce plans to carry voice traffic using the protocol.

Progress was made on the revision of Recommendation G.1020 which gives performance parameter definitions for quality of speech and other voiceband applications utilising IP networks. The updates will specify voice quality measurements associated with the use of the VoIP management protocol, RTP Control Protocol Extended Reports (RTCP XR). RTCP XR defines a set of metrics that contain information for assessing VoIP call quality and diagnosing problems.

And Y.1541 which gives network performance objectives for IP-based services, is also actively under revision to include new QoS classes with more stringent packet loss performance, needed for example for commercial video applications and certain TCP formats.

Also during its meeting - the first of the new study period - SG12 consented a revision of Recommendation G.107 (the E-model, see previous e-Flash story, to include an improved treatment of bursty packet loss.

[via ITU-T Newslog]

Wednesday, May 18, 2005 9:37:12 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

ITU members are increasingly signalling the interest of the telecommunications community in grid computing. The technology is under study by the Technology Watch within ITU-T. And following discussions between the Global Grid Forum (GGF) and ITU-T, a workshop on telecoms and grids is planned for 2006.

On behalf of GGF, Franco Travostino of Nortel gave a presentation at the recent Study Group 13 meeting in Geneva. In it he gave an introduction to the work of the forum, also explaining the basics of grids.

Travostino describes grid computing as a software platform for distributed participants to form a virtual organization, securely share resources, and engage in coordinated problem-solving activities.

There are a number of areas of interest for the telecoms industry. At a simple level, telcos could use grids internally, for billing and simulations for example. They could also offer grid managed services, or act as service brokers.

Travostino pointed out that the discussion on grids involves more than just how to provide bigger pipes. There are other issues that may be of interest to ITU-T, such as how to control the network, how to manage dynamic provisioning and how to provide collision-free addresses (IPv4 <-> NAT).

[via ITU-T Newslog]

Wednesday, May 18, 2005 9:24:57 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

On the 17th May, World Telecommunication Day, the ITU-T has launched a new communications centre, The Lighthouse.

The Lighthouse will provide a user-friendly and alternative view of ITU-T, shedding light on activities, past, present and future by offering non-technical explanations of work areas, news, features and FAQs. Included is an ITU-T newslog with an RSS news feed, with the opportunity to subscribed to news on specific standards topic areas.

Wednesday, May 18, 2005 9:05:24 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Tuesday, May 17, 2005

Although currently mired in a standards war between different camps in the IEEE, UWB is likely to form the basis of an important short-range wireless standard for consumer equipment such as set-top boxes, high definition TVs and portable music systems. The ITU’s Radicommunication Sector is planning to draft ITU recommendations on the UWB standard at its upcoming meeting currently be held in San Diego from 18 to 27 May 2005. The group is due to hand its final recommendations to the ITU and disband after another meeting in October 2005.

However, nailing down the standard is just one of the challenges, some wish to keep UWB restricted to very low power levels at national regulatory levels which impact its potential uses and possible competition with other wireless technologies. An article in TechWorld (pointer via Fergie's Tech Blog)

discusses the doubts held by Bob Heile, chair of the IEEE 802.15.3a working group.

If Europe and Asia apply more restrictions to the technology than the FCC in the US, the technology may not perform well enough to displace Wi-Fi, which is constantly improving, said Bob Heile, chair of the IEEE 802.15.3a working group.

"I believe we will see regulations in Europe that are substantially more restrictive than those applied by the FCC," said Heile, in France for a conference on the ZigBee sensor protocol. "Japan is likely to be even more conservative. If that happens, how good is the performance going to be?

Watkins is hopeful that next week's meeting of the UWB group of the international telecoms standards body, the ITU, may help."

Tuesday, May 17, 2005 8:05:20 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Monday, May 16, 2005

The following is the message by UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan on World Telecommunications Day, 17 May 2005:

"We live in an age in which communication between people is essential to achieving our shared goals of development and peaceful coexistence. Innovations in information and communication technologies have increased exponentially our capacity to connect with each other. It is up to us to use to harness the potential of these technologies in our work to extend the benefits of education, health care, trade and environmental protection to all.

The theme of this year’s World Telecommunication Day, "Creating an Equitable Information Society: Time for Action", calls on us to give shape to the vision adopted at the first phase of the World Summit on the Information Society in 2003. I urge Member States and all other stakeholders to reaffirm their commitment to that process, and to participate at the highest levels when the Summit reconvenes in Tunis in November of this year.

Efforts to build an equitable and accessible information society depend on the strength of partnerships between Governments, civil society and businesses, underpinned by the support of international organizations such as the United Nations. On this World Telecommunication Day, which marks the 140th anniversary of the founding of the International Telecommunication Union, let us pledge to bridge technological differences and promote interconnectivity for all. Together, we can create a truly global information society that will benefit all the world’s people."

Monday, May 16, 2005 5:03:57 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Thursday, May 12, 2005

From the April 2005 ITU News (free subscription required): International Internet Connectivity:  Are poor countries subsidizing the rich?, contents include:

  • Framing the issues
  • The ITU role: The story thus far... and the future
  • What does the Working Group on Internet Governance say?
Thursday, May 12, 2005 10:01:18 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Tuesday, May 10, 2005

News on VoIP regulatory proceedings since the beginning of 2005 from the ITU-D's Regulatory Reform Unit newsroom.

Tuesday, May 10, 2005 11:21:33 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Monday, May 09, 2005
 Wednesday, May 04, 2005

The UK communications regulator OFCOM has done one of the first public consultations on the regulatory implications of Next Generation Networks (NGN), particularly with regard to BT's 21CN NGN initiative. The consultation document, entitled Next Generation Networks - Future arrangements for access and interconnection (overview,complete) explores the implications of Next Generation Networks (NGNs) for access and interconnection arrangements in the UK. The responses to the consultation are available here.

In BT's response to the consultation, it indicates some of its views on 21CN regulation:

Finally BT observes that some key aspects of the strategic positioning, NGN access and interconnect, are not addressed in Ofcom's questions. We wish to point to the following specific points.

  1. We would expect that NGNs will blur many of the boundaries all of us in the industry currently take for granted. For example, the distinction between "operators" and "service providers" will diminish; and one could foresee an increase in pan-European alternative providers leveraging their IP infrastructure using next-generation interconnection more effectively. Further, as the barriers to market entry are lowered through technology advances and open standards, we would expect many new entrants to change the landscape - some with innovative value propositions and others by identifying and exploiting new arbitrage angles.

  2. We believe end user customers will soon demand seamless, ‘any to any’ interworking between mobile and fixed networks. Operators will require the ability to roam on, and interconnect to, other national and international fixed and mobile networks in order to facilitate the provision of next generation services. The regulatory regime needs to become more technologically neutral and focus on economic bottlenecks, irrespective of the underlying network technology.

  3. We believe that innovative services will be heavily reliant on intelligent interworking to provide coherent services. Therefore, cross platform access (including roaming and interconnect) to intelligence capabilities will be essential in ensuring further development of services and competition in the convergent marketplace.

  4. BT is disappointed to see the level of potential regulatory intervention and micromanagement, both in commercial and technical terms, demonstrated in this Consultation. This is particularly inappropriate as it followed so soon after the second phase of the Telecoms Strategic Review, which promulgated a deregulatory agenda and a focus on regulating only bottlenecks. This Consultation also includes some substantive inconsistencies of approach which will need to be addressed.

  5. It is critical that the outcome of this - and any later - consultation processes should be a regulatory regime which rewards investment and does not leave BT with a significant proportion of the 21CN investment risk, whilst distributing the investment returns across the industry. Ofcom will wish to consider this issue as they contemplate the responses to the Consultation.

The ITU Strategy and Policy Unit, in cooperation with the ITU-T and ITU-D, is organizing a workshop on NGN Policy and Regulation in February 2006.

Wednesday, May 04, 2005 4:32:31 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Tuesday, May 03, 2005
 Monday, May 02, 2005

The Economist Intelligence Unit has published its annual e-readiness ranking of the word's largest economies. Currently 65 countries are assessed on their ability to promote and support digital business and information and communications technology (ICT) services. A country's e-readiness is essentially a measure of its e-business environment, a collection of factors that indicate how amenable a market is to Internet-based opportunities. The ranking allows governments to gauge the success of their technology initiatives against those of other countries. It also provides companies that wish to invest in online operations with an overview of the world's most promising investment locations. The 2005 rankings

  1. Denmark
  2. US
  3. Sweden
  4. Switzerland
  5. UK

A more comprehensive method is ITU's Digital Access Index (explanation here in English, French and Spanish).

[via Information Policy]

Monday, May 02, 2005 10:39:38 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

Richard Stastny has a post on his take on the 1-2 May 2005 ITU-T workshop on NGN in collaboration with the IETF in Geneva at ITU headquarters.

  • The workshop was very well attended (270 participants), both from IESG and IAB, and also from ITU-T SG groups and other standardization bodies (e.g. ETSI TISPAN). An indication of the high-level attendance can also be derived from the speakers list in the program.

Update: he has some further thoughts in a later post on the different visions of NGN.

[via VoIP and ENUM]
Monday, May 02, 2005 9:59:30 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Friday, April 29, 2005
The ITU-T has prepared a brochure giving an overview of ITU-T's H.264 advanced video coding standard. The increased compression efficiency of the new ITU-T H.264/MPEG-4 Advanced Video Coding (AVC) standard will lead to new application areas and business opportunities. Broadcasting over cable, satellite, cable modem, terrestrial, etc., will benefit from the new standard. It is now possible to transmit video signals at about 1 Mbit/s with TV (PAL) quality, which enables streaming over xDSL connections. Another interesting business area is TV transmission over satellite. By choosing H.264, the number of programmes per satellite can be doubled in comparison to current systems using H.262 (MPEG-2). Also, in the field of mobile communication, H.264 will play an important role because the compression efficiency will be doubled in comparison to the coding schemes previously specified by Third-Generation Mobile (3GPP and 3GPP2) for streaming.

The new Recommendation is destined to influence further application areas including but not limited to the following:

  • Interactive or serial storage multimedia (ISM or SSM) on optical and magnetic devices, DVD, etc.
  • Real-time conversational services (RTC), such as videoconferencing and videophone, over ISDN, Ethernet, LAN, DSL, wireless and mobile networks, modems or mixtures of these.
  • Video-on-demand or multimedia streaming services, such as remote video surveillance (RVS), over ISDN, cable modem, DSL, LAN, wireless networks, etc.
  • Multimedia Messaging Services (MMS) over ISDN, DSL, Ethernet, LAN, wireless and mobile networks, etc.
  • Multimedia services over packet networks (MSPN), such as multimedia mailing (MMM), etc.
Friday, April 29, 2005 11:59:20 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

The presentations from last month's ITU-T Cybersecurity II Symposium, hosted by RANS in Moscow, are now available, including presentations from:

  • Mr Herbert Bertine, Chairman of ITU-T Study Group 17, presentation
  • Mr Igor Faynberg, Technical Manager, NGN Standards, and Technologies and ITU-T FGNGN WG 5 Leader, presentation
  • Mr Magnus Nyström, RSA Security, presentation
  • Mr Charles Brookson, Head of Technology and Standards, Department of Trade and Industry (DTI), UK, presentation
  • Mr Igor Furgel, Common Criteria, T-Systems GEI GmbH, presentation
  • Mr Bill McCrum, Deputy Director General, Telecom Engineering, Industry Canada, presentation
  • Mr Hyun-Cheol Jeong, Senior Research Staff, Korea Information Security Center of KISA, presentation
  • Mr Gary Kondakov, Managing Director, Kaspersky Labs in Russia, CIS and Baltic countries, presentation
  • Mr Eliot Lear, Consulting Engineer, Network Security, CISCO, pesentation
  • Mr Alexander Pogudin, CEO of Center of Financial Technologies, presentation
  • Ms Amal Abdallah, Federal Communications Commission, USA, presentation
  • Mr Andrey Chapchaev, Director General, Infotecs, presentation


Friday, April 29, 2005 11:45:22 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Friday, April 22, 2005

ITU-T is hosting a workshop on IPv6 organized in cooperation with the European Union’s IPv6 Task Force Steering Committee (IPv6 EU TF-SC) and the IPv6 Forum. Here is the advanced programme.

Taking place in Geneva, between 22 to 23 June 2005, the event will examine the current status of IPv6, with regards to rollout, policy, technology and applications. An additional aim will be to promote awareness of IPv6 to countries where Internet use is relatively low. The workshop will also follow-up on recent comments sent to the Director of ITU-T’s secretariat, the Telecommunication Standardization Bureau (TSB) on the management and distribution of IP addresses. .

Friday, April 22, 2005 4:59:51 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

The March 2005 issue of Business Communications Review, pp. 20–21 has an interesting article entitled Which NGN? that debates different visions of the future of the Internet:

  • But this all could change. Major moves are afoot to radically alter the way the Internet operates. If certain organizations and people have their way, the Internet will evolve to look considerably more like the public switched telephone network (PSTN) or today’s mobile/cellular networks. And this could happen much sooner than you might think.
  • To facilitate this migration, many carriers started participating in a major international standards development effort. Working through an International Telecommunication Union (ITU) Study Group, the carriers (with vendor and government assistance) are developing their own blueprint that they call the “Next Generation Network” (NGN). Intense standards work is under way at the ITU and other groups such as the Alliance for Telecommunications Industry Solutions (ATIS) to further the integration and interoperability of IP networks with the PSTN and mobile networks.
  • Architecturally, the ITU’s NGN relies heavily on the IP Multimedia Subsystem (IMS) framework, developed by the 3rd Generation Partnership Project (3GPP)/3GPP2 for 3G/UMTS and CDMA mobile networks. The IMS has been extended to cover wireline facilities, to create a converged, seamless mobile user experience. The ITU NGN also mandates IPv6, and uses traffic prioritization end-to-end to deliver service quality. It requires reservation and commitment of network resources before connections are established.

Although the article suggest a conflict of vision on NGN standards, this post also notes that the ITU and IETF are exploring ways of cooperating on NGN standardization. Both ITU's FGNGN (Focus Group on Next Generation Networks) and Study Group 13 (Next Generation Networks) are meeting in the coming weeks at ITU to advance NGN standardization.

Friday, April 22, 2005 4:55:32 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

Telecommunications Magazine has an article on ITU's recent Ubiquitous Network Societies workshop.

  • So what does ubiquitous really mean? One take has a future where everything is connected to everything else by some type of wireless network. Alongside this is a future that sees superconvergence of everything from fixed to mobile networks spanning multi-platforms, multi-functions and multi-applications.
  • In short, it sounds like the long-held dream of all telecom professionals everywhere, providing services and applications to everyone regardless of their location. “Technology and network access will become an afterthought to daily activities,” predicts [ITU Secretary-General Yoshio] Utsumi.
Friday, April 22, 2005 11:04:33 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Thursday, April 21, 2005

According to new ITU research, here are the top 10 mobile operators by proportionate subscribers in the world, as of December 2004. China Mobile is in first place with over 204 million subscribers.

Thursday, April 21, 2005 1:25:55 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Monday, April 18, 2005

ITU-T Workshop on NGN in collaboration with IETF will be held in Geneva at ITU Headquarters on 1 - 2 May 2005. The workshop will also serve as an important meeting point for ITU-T and IETF management.

The overall objectives of the workshop are to explore specific NGN issues that impact both the ITU-T and the IETF to better understand the work underway in the two organizations and to identify areas where actions could be taken between the ITU-T and IETF to further coordinate their work. Six sessions will each be co-chaired by an ITU representative and a representative from IETF. Topics will include requirements and functional architecture; nomadicity and mobility; QoS, control and signalling capabilities; network management; security capabilities and evolution.

The workshop, the second on NGN in 2005, is an example of the way in which ITU-T is seeking to engage all interested parties in work towards the development of worldwide standards for NGN. Objectives of the workshop include:

  • To explore specific NGN issues that impact both the ITU-T and the IETF to better understand the work underway in the two organizations; and
  • To identify those areas where actions could be taken between the ITU-T and the IETF to further should coordinate their NGN-related work., and to seek to reach agreement on any actions to be taken to coordinate the work of the two organizations and perhaps establish joint activities.

Also see the ITU press release:

The objectives of the workshop are to report the progress of ITU’s work on NGN and explore specific issues that impact both the ITU and the IETF in order to better understand the work underway in the two organizations and to identify areas where action can be taken to make further progress.

Houlin Zhao, Director of the ITU’s Telecommunication Standardization Bureau notes that, "We have made tremendous progress, thanks to the support of ITU members and members of other standards developing organizations such as IETF, ETSI and ATIS. The momentum that this work has achieved will allow the ICT industry to develop a raft of new products and services on a much more powerful and dynamic infrastructure based on globally accepted standards."

Monday, April 18, 2005 1:28:33 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Thursday, April 14, 2005

An experts workshop on Ubiquitous Network Societies was held from 6 to 8 April 2005 in Geneva, Switzerland at ITU Headquarters. The Chair's Report from the meeting is available here. Workshop presentations can be downloaded here. The background and thematic papers presented at the workshop include:

Thematic/Background Papers

Country Case Studies

Thursday, April 14, 2005 12:02:45 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

ITU Session on Internet Governance (PDF) was presented by Robert Shaw, ITU Strategy and Policy Unit, on 17 February 2005 in a session before the Working Group on Internet Governance (WGIG's) open consultations held at the United Nations. The subject of the talk was Internet Governance in context of evolution of telecommunications technologies and policies.

Thursday, April 14, 2005 11:50:20 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

From the Advanced Video Coding (AVC) Alliance: AVC is the new generation compression algorithm for consumer digital video. Compared to the current industry standard MPEG-2, AVC is at least twice as efficient at all bit rates. This means that AVC will open up channels to the end user that were previously closed for digital video services at the right quality. AVC offers significantly higher video resolution at the same bit rate, or the same video quality with half the bit rate that is required for MPEG-2. This will enable attractive new products and services to be introduced by all players in the value chain.

AVC is the result of work started in the ITU and in MPEG, completed in the Joint Video Team (JVT) made up from experts of the two organizations. The algorithm is published as H.264 by the ITU, while ISO/IEC published it as MPEG-4 Part 10.

The primary application of AVC is in new video services where MPEG-2 is less suitable, especially where limited bandwidth is available. Examples are mobile applications, IPTV over ADSL and HDTV in Europe, where spectrum is particularly scarce. Recently, the DVB Steering Board approved the AVC implementation guideline specification, which was prepared by the Digital Video Broadcast (DVB) Technical Module. The specification has been sent to the European Telecommunications Standards Institute (ETSI) pending formal
standardization.

For more information, see Wikipedia's H.264/MPEG-4 AVC.

Thursday, April 14, 2005 9:27:26 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Wednesday, April 13, 2005

ITU has just released its new statistics on global broadband penetration per 100 inhabitants as of 1 January 2005. Korea and Hong Kong, China have kept the top rankings they received in 2004. The Netherlands makes an impressive move from 9th in ranking in 2004 to 3rd this year. Denmark also moves up two slots to 4th. Canada drops to 5th from 3rd in 2004. Switzerland moves from 10th in 2004 to 6th this year. Israel moves to 12th this year. The USA drops from 13th in 2004 to 16th in 2005. France has moved up fast in the rankings and is now just behind the USA followed by the UK at 15th.

Wednesday, April 13, 2005 8:47:36 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Tuesday, March 01, 2005

The ITU Council Working Group on WSIS held a meeting on 13-14 December 2004 discussing ITU activities relevant to the World Summit on the Information Society. The Working Group is to prepare, based on inputs of ITU Member States and Sector Members, as well as those of the Secretary?General and the Directors of the Bureaux and submit to ITU Council proposals on  necessary ITU actions to help accomplish the goals and objectives articulated in the WSIS Declaration of Principles and Plan of Action.

Some of the input documents to that meeting relate to Internet governance including:

Tuesday, March 01, 2005 11:51:12 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Thursday, April 10, 2003

ITU Opens Up World for Interactive TV Providers. The International Telecommunication Union announces the approval of a new standard that allows content providers to roll out value-added interactive TV (iTV) services to any network without modification. The standard (Recommendation ITU-T J.202) defines the interfaces that designers use to produce content (Application Programming Interfaces — API) and gives guidelines for their use. It has the backing of the broadcast industry as well as key manufacturers of TV equipment and set-top boxes. ITU-T J.202 consolidates the work of other standards makers illustrating ITU-T’s position as the pre-eminent body for coordination of Information Communication Technology (ICT) standards. J.202 was standardized in ITU-T Study Group 9. The standard consolidates efforts from the Digital Video Broadcasting (DVB), Association of Radio Industries and Businesses (ARIB), Advanced Television Systems Committee (ATSC), and Open Cable Applications Platform (OCAP).

Thursday, April 10, 2003 7:52:05 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

The Republic of Korea has the highest broadband penetration in the world (see page 6 of this recent report issued by ITU (PDF)). The corresponding ITU country case study discusses Daum, Korea’s top portal web site. Some 90 per cent of all Korean Internet users log onto Daum. Around 450 million pages of Daum’s content is viewed on an average day ranking it as one of the top Intenet portals in both pages per user and session time in the world.

Thursday, April 10, 2003 2:11:32 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Monday, April 07, 2003

The ITU is hosting a workshop this week on the different strategies used by ITU Member States, at both local and national levels, for promoting the deployment and use of broadband networks. The key research question is why some economies have been more successful than others and whether this success can be replicated. In preparation for the workshop, the ITU Strategy and Policy Unit has now posted its workshop background paper (PDF, Word) as well as Country Case Studies for Canada (PDF, Word), Iceland (PDF, Word), Japan (PDF. Word), Republic of Korea (PDF) and Hong Kong, China (PDF).

Monday, April 07, 2003 2:55:36 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Friday, April 04, 2003

At the next meeting of ITU-T Study Group 16, an important high-performance video encoding/decoding standard is likely to be approved, entitled Recommendation H.264, "Advanced Video Coding for Generic Audiovisual Services". H.264 is the result of work by the Joint Video Team (JVT) which combined the ITU-T Video Coding Experts Group (VCEG) and the ISO/IEC Moving Picture Experts Group (MPEG). This article in vnunet.com discusses a possible application of the emerging standard, which includes videoconferencing, digital storage media, television broadcasting, and Internet streaming (also see this earlier vnunet.com article and CNET article. H.264 can deliver the same quality as MPEG-2 (e.g. used in DVD players) but with much less bandwidth.

Friday, April 04, 2003 4:17:45 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

Here's the presentation (PDF) I made last week to the GAC at the Rio de Janiero ICANN meeting. It gives an overview of the ITU, changes in the telecom sector, its impact on the ITU, and ITU's activities related to IP-based networks and the Internet. I also made a presentation on ITU's perspectives on ENUM (PDF) in an open ICANN session.

Friday, April 04, 2003 11:58:36 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Friday, January 31, 2003

ITU Press Release: Two new standards from ITU will allow service-providers to offer a raft of new services. In its capacity as world leader in optical network standards, ITU has agreed today on protocols for Gigabit-capable Passive Optical Networks (G-PONs) that are a further step towards all-optical networks. The ITU Telecommunication Standardization Sector lead study group on optical technology is ITU-T Study Group 15.

Friday, January 31, 2003 2:50:38 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Friday, January 17, 2003

OAGI, an XML business language standards group, recently joined four International Standards Organizations in a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on Electronic Business, which includes the IEC, ISO, ITU and UN/ECE [Boston.com].

  • "The purpose of the MoU is to minimize the risk of divergent and competitive approaches to standardization, avoid duplication of efforts and confusion amongst users," said Houlin Zhao, Director of ITU Telecommunication Standardization Bureau. "Under the MoU's Management Group, for instance, ITU technical groups will be able to share their agendas with OASIS technical committees to promote convergence where appropriate and advance the interests of the marketplace at-large."
Friday, January 17, 2003 10:56:25 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Wednesday, January 15, 2003

ITU's annual World Telecommunication/ICT Indicators Meeting opened today. The meeting will cover topics related to the definition, collection, processing, dissemination and use of telecommunication/ICT indicators (statistics). The programme and list of documents is available.

Wednesday, January 15, 2003 11:10:12 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Wednesday, January 01, 2003

[Computerworld] Wi-Fi spectrum battle pits antiterrorism efforts against commercial growth: "The U.S. position paper, submitted to the ITU at its November meeting in preparation for the ITU's World Radio Conference (WRC) in June, which will make the spectrum decisions, endorses a global allocation for WLANs in the 5.150-5.350 band as long as radars are protected by a technique know as Dynamic Frequency Selection (DFS), which shuts down WLAN transmissions when a radar signal is detected."

Wednesday, January 01, 2003 4:35:05 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Friday, December 20, 2002

The ITU-T has announced (Word) the approval of ITU-T Recommendation J.122 (Second Generation Transmission Systems for Interactive Cable Television Services – IP Cable Modems). From the prepublished Recommendation J.122: "As cable operators have widely deployed high-speed data services on cable television systems, the demand for upstream bandwidth has increased, particularly with the popularity of more symmetric data applications. The current Recommendation has been created for the purpose of increasing channel capacity and improving noise immunity. The intended service will allow transparent bidirectional transfer of Internet Protocol (IP) traffic, between the cable system headend and customer locations, over an all-coaxial or hybrid-fibre/coax (HFC) cable network." Cablelabs has issued an associated press release:

  • "The new standard can be used as the foundation upon which IPCablecom IP-communication/telephony services can be offered. The standardization is remarkable due to the fact that work on the specification began less than 18 months ago. The rapid standardization is important to promoting worldwide adoption of this important technology."

CommsDesign also has a related piece.

Friday, December 20, 2002 11:51:18 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Thursday, December 19, 2002

ITU Media Advisory: ITU to hold Workshop on Member States' experiences with ccTLDs. More information and contributions to the meeting can be found here.

Thursday, December 19, 2002 2:03:35 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

From News.comSpeedy Net video codec done, but late: "The technical design of a compression technology that promises to stream video over the Internet at DVD-worthy speeds has been completed, according to the international standards team developing it. But the widely anticipated standard, known as Recommendation H.264 of the United Nations' International Telecommunication Union (ITU), won't be ready for public consumption until March--three months behind schedule." This work is done in ITU-T Study Group 16, the ITU-T Lead Study Group on multimedia services, systems and terminals.

Thursday, December 19, 2002 10:16:49 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Friday, December 06, 2002

ISP Planet has an article on the standardization work being done in ITU-T Study Group 15 on the next generation of ADSL standards (ITU calls them "Recommendations"). SG15 is the ITU-T's lead study group on access network transport and optical technology. These new SG15 recommendations are being approved under the ITU-T's fast-track approval process (AAP). Here are the Recommendations under AAP last call from from the last meeting.

Friday, December 06, 2002 12:52:47 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

On 20-22 November 2002, the ITU Strategy and Policy Unit hosted a workshop on Competition Policy in Telecommunications. The workshop offered an opportunity for competition and telecommunications policy-makers, national telecommunications regulators, user groups, experts and industry, to exchange information and experiences on the issue of competition policy and law in telecommunications regulation. The background and objectives of the workshop, workshop documents, which includes country case studies for Denmark (PDF), India (PDF) and the United States (PDF), presentations made at the workshop, as well as the Chairman's report (PDF) (recommended) are available on the ITU web site.

  • "The definitions of markets and dominance are key to the application of competition policy and law in telecommunications and other sectors. In the past, two principal approaches have been taken in defining relevant markets, one based on statutory service classifications commonly used in sector-specific regulation, and the other based on demand and supply substitutability, used in competition law. In the latter approach, a hypothetical monopolist test is typically applied as a tool to identify the range of services and the geographic area that constitute a market. Since markets evolve continually, there is a risk of obsolescence if market definitions are cast in legislation or regulations for the purpose of sector-specific regulation. In this regard, technologically neutral market definitions, such as those underlying the new European Union telecommunications regulatory framework are seen as more flexible than those of countries such as the United States, where traditionally different services, such as fixed, wireless mobile and cable services are regulated under different parts of the US Communications Act."

I discussed the new European Union’s telecommunication regulatory framework, which represents an attempt to move away from technology-specific and service-specific legislation, in this speech I gave in July 2002.

Friday, December 06, 2002 12:29:02 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Thursday, December 05, 2002

Somebody once said that the open source movement is a modern-day equivalent of communal barn-raising. It's a surprisingly innovative force that policy-makers worldwide need to understand. Why has open source hit the radar scope of governments? The simple answer is that the public policy stakes have become much higher. The development of advanced info-communication networks is now a key policy objective for almost all governments around the world. Not only are these networks seen as an important determinant of national competitiveness in an increasingly globalized knowledge economy, they are also seen as offering new opportunities in areas such as education, health and social advancement. It’s no surprise that almost every government in the world has put a high priority on improving access to advanced info-communications technologies, promoting digital literacy and improved access to government public services (e-government). Not surprisingly, open source is increasingly seen as another tool toward this goal, in both developed and more particularly in developing countries. O'Reilly Network has recently published an interesting timeline from 1995 to the present documenting the use of open source software by governments around the world.

On that note, in October 2002, I participated in Georgetown University's Open Source Summit: Public Interest & Policy Issues, which was spearheaded by Dr. Linda Garcia and her smart group of students at the Communication, Culture & Technology Program at Georgetown.  Across town, I see that as a follow-up to their October 2002 conference on Open Source for E-Government, the Cyber Security Policy and Research Institute (CSPRI) of George Washington University is organizing a conference on "Open Source for National and Local eGovernment Programs in the U.S. and EU" to be held in Washington, DC, USA, March 17 - 19, 2003. Here is the call for papers. Slashdot has a related thread.

In preparation for the 2003 World Summit on the Information Society, the ITU Strategy and Policy Unit maintains some ICT Success Stories pages which includes one related to e-government.

Thursday, December 05, 2002 2:26:29 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Wednesday, December 04, 2002

The ITU-T, on 9-11 December 2002, is hosting a Workshop on Satellites in IP and Multimedia. An advance program is available.

Wednesday, December 04, 2002 12:39:26 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

Coinciding with ITU TELECOM Asia 2002,  the ITU has published its 5th edition of the Asia-Pacific Telecommunication Indicators. A presentation (PDF) with highlights and extracts is available as is a related summary of the report. The report demonstrates the Asia-Pacific region has now become the world's largest telecom market. Asia-Pacific also leads in advanced Internet technologies such as broadband access and mobile data. The Republic of Korea and Hong Kong, China, are the top two economies in the world in terms of broadband Internet penetration. In mobile Internet, Japan and the Republic of Korea were the first two nations to launch third generation cellular networks commercially. The region also has the largest percentage of Internet users. These exploits corroborate the view that the global telecommunications epicentre is shifting from North America and Western Europe to the Asia-Pacific region. Also see the related ITU Press Release.

Wednesday, December 04, 2002 12:20:41 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Tuesday, October 01, 2002

Readers will have noticed that I've been "on vacation" for a long time and this blog hasn't been updated. The reason is that I'm working on the implementation of a multi-author weblog that leverages the collective expertise of the staff in the ITU Strategy and Policy Unit and integrates with the ITU web publishing system. This is going to take some time but hopefully the results will be worth it. More news when it's available.

Tuesday, October 01, 2002 4:26:28 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Thursday, July 04, 2002

Updated: The ITU is taking the leading role in the organization of the World Summit on the Information Society, which will be held in Geneva in December 2003 and Tunis in 2005. The Summit is being held under the high patronage of the UN Secretary-General, Kofi Annan. The anticipated outcome of the Summit is to develop and foster a clear statement of political will and a concrete plan of action for achieving the goals of a global Information Society. As part of the preparatory process for the Summit at the global level, three preparatory committee meetings are to be held. The first, PrepCom-1, is taking place this week in Geneva (1-5 July 2002) as described in this ITU press release. News highlights of the discussions at this preparatory meeting are made available at the end of each day: Day 1, Day 2, Day 3, Day 4, Day 5. The closing ITU press release Global Strategy for the Information Society Takes Successful First Steps can be found here.

Thursday, July 04, 2002 10:06:28 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Tuesday, July 02, 2002

The Moving Picture Experts Group (MPEG) development of the MPEG-4 standard is widely seen as important to the availability of an open, cross-platform, interactive multimedia standard. For example, MPEG-4 functionality is being built into 3G mobile phones. For a detailed overview of MPEG-4, see here. The MPEG-4 Industry Forum (M4IF), who promote adoption of MPEG-4, held a workshop and exhibition last week in California. The keynote address, given by Rob Koenen, President of M4IF, provides an overview of the state of play of MPEG-4, including the thorny issue of licensing. The ITU Telecommunication Standardization Sector (ITU-T) and ISO/IEC recently announced that they had formed a joint video team (JVT) to produce a next generation video coding standard, which will become part of the MPEG-4 standard.

Tuesday, July 02, 2002 2:33:35 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Wednesday, June 19, 2002

The Asia-Pacific Telecommunity (APT), a regional intergovernmental telecommunication organization, in its preparation of common proposals to the ITU Plenipotentiary Conference in Marrakesh, Morocco, 23 September - 18 October 2002, includes a proposal from APT members concerning the Role of Member Administrations in the Management of Internationalized Domain Names (IDN) and Addresses (Word), which would include an instruction to the ITU Secretary-General to promote effectively the role of Member States in the internationalization of domain names and address of their respective languages.

Wednesday, June 19, 2002 7:30:06 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

The ITU-T is organizing a workshop on IP and Optical networks in Chitose, Japan from 9-11 July 2002. Participation is open to non ITU-T members. The relevant ITU-T Study Groups (SG13 and SG15) have made available their respective general work plans for IP networks (Word, PDF) and Optical Transport Networks.

Wednesday, June 19, 2002 6:58:31 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Tuesday, June 18, 2002

U.N. Conference Says Digital Divide Still Growing. The digital divide between rich and poor countries is growing despite the many efforts to help developing nations break into the global economy via computers. "Some countries have prospered while others have fallen behind,'' said Yoshio Utsumi, Secretary-General of the Geneva-based International Telecommunications Union.  "If we do not take any action, the gap between the information 'haves' and 'have nots' will continue to grow.'' Utsumi said "information poverty'' remained a reality for much of the world. More than 80 countries had fewer than 10 telephone lines for every 100 inhabitants. And in three out of five countries, fewer than one out of 100 people used the Internet, he said. [New York Times: Technology]

Tuesday, June 18, 2002 9:11:42 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Monday, June 17, 2002

ITU has issued a press release: World Leaders must shape the direction of the 'Information Society'; United Nations General Assembly told that 'global strategy' needed, in preparation for the World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS), which will be held under the high patronage of UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan, with ITU taking the lead role in preparations. The first phase will be held in Geneva 10-12 December 2003 and the second phase in Tunis in 2005.  "The transformation to the Information Society is every bit as profound as the movement from agrarian to industrial societies and just as in the past, such change has led to winners and losers. ' Some countries have prospered, while others have fallen behind,'  Yoshio Utsumi, Secretary-General of the International Telecommunication Union, told the General Assembly of the United Nations in New York. ' If we do not take any action. The gap between the information 'haves' and 'have nots' will continue to grow.'

Monday, June 17, 2002 7:06:09 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Saturday, June 15, 2002

The ICANN Protocol Supporting Organization (PSO) General Assembly 2002 will take place on Wednesday afternoon, 19 June 2002, starting at 16:00 CET, at ITU headquarters in Geneva, Switzerland, in conjunction with the ITU-T-Telecommunication Standardization Advisory Group Meeting (17-21 June, 2002). The meeting will be webcast.

Saturday, June 15, 2002 8:12:13 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Friday, June 14, 2002

ITU-T Study Group 15, ITU-T's lead study group on optical networks, has agreed on a new global standard for Metro ‘Optical Fibre’ Networks that will expand the use of Coarse Wavelength Division Multiplexing (CWDM) in metropolitan networks.

Friday, June 14, 2002 2:43:14 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Wednesday, June 12, 2002

The International Telecommunication Users Group (INTUG) has posted a submission it has made to ITU-T Study Group 3 concerning Termination of international calls to mobile networks. The executive summary claims:

  • an increasing number of mobile cellular operators are creating a separate tariff for the completion of international calls to their networks 
  • these wholesale prices can be as much as 1500% more expensive than calls to a fixed network in the same country
  • the mobile operators are leveraging their domestic power in the call termination market into foreign markets for call origination
  • with the growing importance of mobile cellular networks, other operators have no alternative but to connect, even when they are unable to negotiate and must pay the price levied by the terminating network
  • consequently retail prices to foreign mobile networks can be higher by 10 to 30 cents (Euro or US) per minute
  • consumers are frequently unaware of these higher prices
  • even if consumers do know that a call will be at a higher price, they frequently have no obvious alternative
  • INTUG wishes to see the principle of cost orientation applied to the termination of calls on mobile cellular networks 
  • INTUG also wishes to see signatories to the WTO GATS Reference Paper enforce implementation of their commitments to the interconnection of international calls to mobile cellular networks

Wednesday, June 12, 2002 4:41:47 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Friday, May 31, 2002

This ITU information note to the press summarizes the progress being made on ENUM in ITU-T Study Group 2, ITU-T's lead Study Group on numbering issues. For ISOC's corresponding press release, see here. For information on delegations, see RIPE NCC's ENUM pages. For more information on ENUM, see the materials from a recent ITU tutorial workshop on ENUM and particularly Global Implementation of ENUM: A Tutorial Paper, much of which written by yours truly and the smart folks at Nominum, the authors of the latest version of BIND, the DNS software. The ITU Strategy and Policy Unit also maintains some information pages on ENUM.

Friday, May 31, 2002 12:16:18 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Wednesday, May 22, 2002

Our workshop in Seoul, Korea has finished today and it was a nice success. Lots of thought provoking ideas on how to globally improve information systems security and network infrastructure protection. Korea has been an excellent place to hold the workshop as they have made tremendous progress here on the technical, policy, legislative and enforcement fronts. There was a much consensus that there was a need for better international standards and implementation, information sharing, halting cyber-attacks in progress, coordinating legal systems, and providing assistance to developing countries. The workshop site is being updated with the papers and presentations made during the last two and a half days. The Chairman's report should also be available there shortly.

Wednesday, May 22, 2002 11:40:11 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

Dr. Steven Bryen  of Aurora Defense presented at our workshop that closed today a paper entitled A Collective Security Approach To Protecting The Global Critical Infrastructure. The paper makes a brief mention of Echelon and it was interesting to run across this article published on Cyrptome that recently appeared in the Danish newspaper Ekstra Bladet. It reports to be an interview with one of the architects of Echelon II.

Wednesday, May 22, 2002 10:06:39 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     |