Geneva, Switzerland, 23 January 2012
First of all, I would like to welcome all the participants who are here today for this workshop, and I would like to thank the speakers who will contribute to the discussions.
As we all know, this workshop deals with some sensitive topics that have been discussed for many years in the ITU. Unfortunately, it has not yet been possible to reach consensus on these topics. The purpose of this workshop is to present differing points of views so as to facilitate further discussions which, we hope, will eventually result in a consensus view.
The first session will present a general overview of apportionment of revenues in general, that is, how are revenues dived amongst entities when more than one entity is involved in delivering a service, in particular an international service such as an international telephone call or international data transfer.
The next series of sessions will present the very sensitive issue of International Internet Connectivity and the issue of who pays what portion of the costs for this very important service. I am sure that there will be much stimulating discussion and a fruitful exchange of information and experiences.
The final series of sessions will be devoted to the equally sensitive issues of Network Externalities. As you know, while there is general agreement on the economic concept of a “network externality” there is no agreement on whether, and if so how, to apply it in practice with respect to international telecommunications services.
I take this opportunity to remind all delegates that two very important events will take place at the end of 2012, namely the World Telecommunication Standardization Assembly and the World Conference on International Telecommunications. These events will take place in November and December 2012 in Dubai, United Aram Emirates.
The WTSA defines the next period of study for ITU-T, and preparations for WTSA-12 will take place throughout this year, notably in the form of regional preparatory meetings.
The WTSA will also review working methods including approval processes; the work programme; and the structure of Study Groups. It will be preceded by a one-day Global Standards Symposium.
Global standards are only truly global if developing country needs are taken into account.
Regional preparatory meetings are a proven platform for the development of successful proposals. They are the best opportunity for regional groups to coordinate proposals. I take this opportunity to encourage you to participate in preparatory meetings in your regions.
At the last WTSA – held in Johannesburg in 2008 - ITU members asked for increased emphasis on key areas such as ICTs and climate change, the deployment of IPv6, accessibility to ICTs for persons with disabilities, conformance and interoperability testing, and encouraging more academic and developing country participation in ITU’s work.
I am pleased to report that we have fulfilled this mandate with many game changing announcements in the last four years.
WCIT will look at ways to revise the current International Telecommunications Regulations, the ITRs, which were adopted in 1988. The ITRs served us well, but there is general agreement that they need to be updated to reflect the significant changes that have taken place in the ICT sector over the past 24 years.
Items for discussion at WCIT are likely to include topics which are relevant to the global ICT sector, such as:
- Human right of access to communication
- Security in the use of ICTs and protection of critical national resources
- Charging and accounting (including taxation)
- International frameworks
- Interconnection and interoperability
- Quality of service
- Enforcement measures
To conclude, I wish to say that I am sure that meetings such as the present workshop and conferences such as WCIT will help to make the world a better place – for everyone, wherever they live and whatever their circumstances.
I thank you for your attention and I wish you well for your work during the next two days.