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South Asian Telecommunications Regulators' Council (SATRC)
Tehran, Islamic Rep. of Iran 27 February 2011
Distinguished colleagues and friends,
Ladies and gentlemen,

In my opening address I talked about the importance of an effective regulatory framework to encourage the roll out of broadband services.

I would now like to take this opportunity to highlight some of the key regulatory issues facing ITU today. I will start with my Sector the Sector for Standardisation.

What are our objectives? We have three main objectives:
- To develop interoperable, non-discriminatory, international standards
- To assist in bridging the standardization gap between developed and developing countries
- To extend and facilitate international cooperation among international and regional standardization bodies
Let me expand on the first objective. ITU is in the business of producing international standards, not national or regional standards but standards that can be implemented on a world-wide basis. This means they have to have been accepted by the world community and to do this it means we must satisfy the requirements of the full ITU membership: 192 governments and over 700 private sector entities.

It also means that anyone has the right to build equipment or provide services that meet these standards. To do this they to be able to acquire the rights to any patents in the standards either free of charge or on reasonable terms, regardless of where they are based or who they are, even if they are competitors of the license holders. We have a common IPR policy with ISO and IEC whereby at the start of every meeting participants have to declare if they have any patents related to the standards under development. If they have they must make a commitment to provide these on free or reasonable terms on a non-discriminatory basis otherwise they will be excluded from the standard. IPR policy is therefore very critical and very topical in this region especially. I am hoping very much that we will have a workshop on this subject in this region this year.

Finally, our standards should provide interoperability so that users of products produced to these standards can make use of them anywhere in the world regardless of who has manufactured them and who is offering the service.

This is an extremely difficult objective to achieve in the multistakeholder environment we are now in. To address it we are implementing what we call a conformity and interoperability programme.

Key elements are: the development of testing specifications; conformance testing to determine compliant products; and interoperability testing amongst various manufacturers’ products implementing the standard(s).

We have to develop more testing suites to accompany our standards in future. In particular we need to defining more interfaces where interoperability can be tested. This will increase competition and reduce the chances of being locked into a single product.

We are also putting in place a conformity database which will record information on what products have been tested to ITU-T Recommendations. The demand for a conformity database was simple: people want a database on the ITU website where they can see what products have been successfully tested to ITU-T Recommendations.

To ensure the credibility of the database, tests must be carried out in an accredited laboratory: first, second or third party; or be accepted by an accredited certification body. Companies will voluntarily input the data directly into the database which will be verified by submitting a Supplier’s Declaration of Conformity.

We have also started a programme of interoperability events. In 2010 we had Interop events in Geneva, Singapore and India. Several IPTV manufacturers participated to prove conformity to our IPTV standards and to prove their equipment would interoperate with the equipment of the other manufacturers.

These Interop events not only show cased interoperable products but proved ITU global standards in this important field are ready to go, and in fact are already being implemented. Proprietary solutions may have offered faster deployment in the short term - but in the medium and longer term, buyers will be subject to vendor lock-in with costly upgrades and reduced content and hardware choice. The forum based standards I am pleased to say are mostly region specific with little or no implementation.

The third element of the programme is human capacity building. We have held events in Nairobi, Quito, Ecuador and Singapore and look forward to more workshops and tutorials on the subject this year.

The fourth element of the programme is to help establish regional or sub-regional test centres. We are currently working with a number of countries that are interested in establishing these, and we have a pilot project in Tanzania. I am pleased to say that UNIDO has expressed a keen interest in working with us in this area.

Our second objective is to bridge the standards gap, what this means is to involve as many of the ITU member countries as possible in the development of these standards. It means facilitating the participation of as many countries as possible in our work. We are doing this in several ways: by reducing the membership fee for companies from certain developing countries; by providing remote participation in our meetings; by having more meetings in the regions rather than in Geneva; and by offering fellowships for delegates from lest developed countries. We are also producing more handbooks and tutorials on the implementation of our standards, and offering briefing session for new delegates to our meetings. We have over 50 workshops planned this year around the world. And of course, since 2007 all our standards are available for downloading from our website free of charge.

The third of our strategic objectives is collaboration with other national, and regional standards bodies, forums and consortia. Unfortunately the standardisation scenario is a complex one. There are hundreds of standards bodies, many of them competing with each other and with ITU.

In 2009 we established a high level industry advisory group consisting of over twenty Chief technology Officers from many of the world’s leading ICT companies. This proliferation of standards bodies is one of their major concerns. As a result ITU is making an attempt to form partnerships with those major standards bodies that support ITU in its role as the pfre-eminent global standards body. I have participated in recent meetings of the new standards body in India called GISFI and would be very interested in collaborating with this body and others in the region.

So these are our strategic goals, and a tremendous lot of activity goes on in ITU every week by hundreds of experts from around the world to meet these objectives.

In ITU-T one of the biggest of our ten study groups is the one on security.

ICTs can transform modern lifestyles but at the same time, these innovative tools also create opportunities for exploitation and abuse.

Cybersecurity is one of the most critical concerns of the information age. It is a global issue that demands a truly global approach. Cyber criminals and cyber terrorists do not need to be anywhere near the scene of the crime. International cooperation and response is the only answer.

ITU has a vital responsibility to ensure the safety of all those who venture online – especially as online services become an integral part of peoples’ lives.

Along with legal and operational measures, technical solutions need to be developed and standardized, providing hardware and software security baselines that can be adopted by vendors, manufactures and end users.

There are now literally hundreds of ITU standards on security, or which have security implications. In particular:

Recommendation ITU-T X.509 which secures the connection between a browser and a server on the web and enables digital signatures for e-commerce transactions. Recommendation ITU-T X.805 which gives telecom network operators the ability to pinpoint all vulnerable points in a network and mitigate them. Recommendation ITU-T X.1205 which provides an overview and definition of cybersecurity.

Ongoing ITU-T work on security includes architecture and frameworks; cybersecurity; vulnerabilities, threats and risk management; incident handling and traceback; countering spam; telebiometrics; information security management; identity management; security for next generation networks (NGN), IPTV, home networks, ubiquitous sensor networks, mobiles; and secure application services. ITU-T Study Groups are also starting to look at security concerns in emerging areas such as smart grids and cloud computing.

Development of global strategies for the creation and endorsement of a generic and universal digital identity system and the necessary organizational structures to ensure the recognition of digital credentials across geographical boundaries are a particularly urgent area of focus..

Identity theft was identified in an ITU survey as the biggest fear preventing users from placing more trust in online networks. In 2009, a first set of ITU-T Recommendations dealing with identity management was approved for application in NGN, for globalization of existing solutions, and ensuring interoperability, and for user control of digital identity.

In addition, ITU-T’s cybersecurity information exchange (CYBEX) initiative imports more than twenty best of breed standards for platforms developed over the past several years by government agencies and industry to enhance cybersecurity. These platforms capture and exchange information about the security "state" of systems and devices, about vulnerabilities, and about cyber attack incidents.

Ladies and gentlemen, I would also like to take this opportunity to say a few words on a topic that seems to have been given a lot of coverage recently.

Given the high level of interest on the exhaustion on IPv4 addresses by IANA let me start by saying that ITU has been supporting the implementation of IPv6 for some time.

It is clear that there is no consensus on the need for regulation to mandate the deployment of IPv6, however, it is equally clear that deployment must take place.

At several high-level ITU conferences during the last decade, ITU addressed IPv6 related issues.

For example PP10 Resolution 102 revised in Guadalajara, 2010 instructs the Director of TSB to “...ensure that the ITU Telecommunication Standardization Sector (ITU-T) performs its role in technical issues, and to continue to contribute ITU-T expertise and to liaise and cooperate with appropriate entities on issues related to the management of Internet domain names and addresses and other Internet resources within the mandate of ITU, such as IPv6, ENUM and IDNs, as well as any other related technological developments and issues, including facilitating appropriate studies on these issues by relevant ITU-T study groups and other groups”. Resolution 180 mandates ITU in the area of facilitating the transition from IPv4 to IPv6.

We have established a dedicated group to address this issue with the participation of the Internet community. It will be meeting next in April.

We have noted voices and opinions from the developing world as well as from the developed world, from academic and research institutes, as well as from industry members. Often these voices focus on the need to avoid some of the problems that have arisen with IPv4 allocations.

ITU has proven relevant competency as the architect and custodian of the world’s international telephone numbering system, a system which is characterised by stability. The stability of the Internet is paramount and I am sure that the problems experienced thus far are surmountable and I know that ITU has the knowledge, strength and will to assist.

It would be remiss of me to finish without mention of what will probably be the most significant regulatory conference in ITU’s long history which will take place next year: The World Conference on International Telecommunications (WCIT). As I mentioned at the start of the day, I see the primary role of a regulatory framework to provide for the growth and expansion of the industry. To illustrate this, allow me to reach back just beyond the last two decades of liberalization, back to 1988, when 178 ITU Member States ratified a specialized, but vastly important, treaty called the International Telecommunication Regulations or ITRs at the World Administrative Telegraphy & Telephone Conference (WATTC-88) in Melbourne, Australia. This major treaty laid down the foundations for our modern communications industry by setting down guidelines for the treatment of international telecommunication traffic, provided for the expansion of the Internet, and established some of the key industry norms that govern the settlement of international traffic even today.

The treaty established the framework for the subsequent and stunning growth in international telecommunication traffic, proliferation in new entrants and operators and the explosion in investment for rolling out network infrastructure around the world. It included some very important principles and definitions that are still with us today, such as privilege telecommunications receiving priority within international transmission, the conditions governing the suspension of international telecommunication services, the right of any end-user to send telecommunication traffic (subject to national laws) and a short, but vital clause stating that carriers are not responsible for the content of the traffic they carry.

Revising and updating these core principles to take into account the digital transition and convergence in ICTs will be the main task for ITU Member States at the WCIT next year. And it is vital that ITU sets out clear guidelines to ensure the continued growth and reliable provision of international ICT services as it did twenty years ago, before liberalization. I believe the new treaty must reinforce these principles as well as addressing new issues such as quality of service and security.

Finally, I would like to mention a new initiative that I believe will have a very positive effect on the ITU and the global ICT industry.

With the certain knowledge that many technological innovations come from the academic world I am pleased to announce a new ITU membership category for academia, universities and their associated research establishments. This allows ITU to open its doors more widely to academic institutions with strong research programmes and ICT innovations, bringing new impetus to all of our work.

In ITU-T, the opportunity to network strategically with key players from industry offers huge potential for academics and researchers in steering global standards development. Whether using ITU-T standards as academic course content, submitting contributions to study groups, or gaining recognition and visibility through our Technology Watch Reports and our annual Kaleidoscope academic conferences, academics and researchers now have many routes to raise the international profile of their work. By the way our call for papers for Kaleidoscope was issued last week and is on our website. I would encourage submissions for presentation in Cape Town this December, and prizes of $10,000 and publication of the winning papers by the IEEE Communications Society.

Within just a few weeks of its launch, 12 academic institutions have already joined ITU - and many more are doing so, from all around the globe. For developing countries, the membership fee is less than $2000. I have set out here in the room our academia membership brochure which provides full details about the new category and explains how your universities can join. I therefore look forward to welcoming many new academia members to ITU-T from Iran and the other SATRC countries.

I thank you for your attention, I have covered a number of diverse issues, but it just goes to illustrate the extent of the challenges facing us all. As I mentioned earlier, I look forward to collaborating with SATRC to address these issues over the coming years.

Thank you again for your attention.


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Updated : 2011-03-03