Honolulu, Hawaii, 19 January 2013
Good morning, Ladies and Gentleman. Aloha
It’s a pleasure for me to attend this PITA Members Meeting, first time for a long time. The two ITU conference held at the end of last year: the World Telecommunication Standardization Assembly (WTSA-12), held on 20-29 November 2012, and the World Conference on International Telecommunications (WCIT), held on 3-14 December in Dubai, UAE, had significant results for the sector generally, and specifically for the Pacific region.
The Assembly attracted over 1000 delegates from over 100 countries. I am pleased that PITA prepared for these conferences and grateful for its active participation.
This 4-yearly event reviews the structure of the ITU Standards Sector (ITU-T), appoints the leadership teams for our 10 study groups, and sets the priorities for the coming years. ITU-T’s activities were given a strong endorsement and in addition new areas of work were agreed such as e-health, e-waste and software defined networks.
The WTSA also strongly supported our programme called Bridging the Standardization Gap, by which we endeavour to facilitate the participation of developing countries in our work. This has proved to be very successful with over 40 new countries having participated in our work since 2007, 16 last year alone. We have done this through the creation of regional study groups, reduced membership fees, and fellowships, all thanks to a voluntary fund that was established a few years ago and is supported by Korean Communications Commission, NSN, Microsoft and Cisco.
The new leadership teams for the 10 Study Groups have members from 35 different countries. Among these, 24 are developing countries, which means 68 per cent of the leaders of our work are from developing countries, including many from the Pacific region. I believe this confirms the progress being made in ITU-T to bridge the standardization gap.
WTSA also looked at ways to encourage more academia members to ITU-T. We have 36 universities members of ITU-T since this category was first created last year. Universities in developing countries benefit from a substantially reduced fee of just $2000 a year, which allows them to participate in any of our meetings around the world, make contributions to the development of our standards, publish ITU technical reports, and participate in the network of academia members we are creating. We also offer internships to researchers in our member universities.
A key achievement was to conclude on the standards for MPLS-TP following many years of collaboration with IETF. The two standards were urgently required by operators to increase network efficiency and reduce costs. WTSA also approved standards on the remote management of networked devices in customers’ homes, and on deep packet inspection.
Numbering and naming misuse is a particular concern in this region and was addressed in several of the output Resolutions of the Assembly:
- Resolution 20 instructs the Director of TSB to follow up on the misuse of any numbering, naming, addressing and identification resources and inform the ITU Council accordingly; and take necessary action to ensure that the sovereignty of Member States with regard to country code plans is fully maintained.
Resolution 29 requires that administrations and operating agencies authorized by Member States should suspend call-back methods such as constant calling (or bombardment or polling), and answer suppression, which degrade the network. It also requires the study of the economic effects of call-back, refilling, spoofing, hubbing and other forms of alternative calling procedures.
- Resolution 60 calls for the study of identification/numbering resources in relation to the deployment of IP-based networks and the transition to NGN and Future Networks, and the evolution of the international telecommunication numbering system and its convergence with IP-based systems.
- Resolution 61 calls on Member States to ensure that ITU-T E.164 numbering resources are used only by the assignees and only for the purposes for which they were assigned, and that unassigned resources are not used; and to ensure that authorized operating agencies release routing information to duly authorized agencies in cases of fraud; and encourage administrations and national regulators to collaborate and share information on fraudulent activities related to misappropriation and misuse of international numbering resources, and to collaborate to counter and combat such activities.
- Resolution 65 calls for the provision of calling line identification (CLI), calling party number delivery (CPND) and origin identification (OI), and that the delivered calling party numbers (CPN) shall be prefixed with country codes so that a terminating country can identify in which country the calls are originated, before they are delivered from an originating country to that terminating country, and that in addition the delivered CPN and CLI shall include the national destination code, or sufficient information to allow proper billing and accounting, for each call.
The Assembly also encouraged the development of best practices to improve the resilience of networks to natural disasters, a group to promote innovative ideas from developing countries, and the implementation of the programme on conformity and interoperability testing – launch of a public database where vendors can list their products meeting ITU standards, interoperability events, capacity building, and assisting in the establishment of regional test centres.
An important signal ahead of WCIT was Resolution 69 inviting Member States to refrain from taking any unilateral and/or discriminatory actions that could impede another Member State from accessing public Internet sites.
The day before the start of the Assembly we held the second Global Standards Symposium with leaders of all the main standards bodies participating as well as governments and industry. The theme was the challenges of interfacing with the vertical sectors, such as health, transportation and energy, and cooperation and collaboration between SDOs. This is becoming increasingly challenging. Due to convergence the traditional boundaries between SDOs is blurring and there is a risk of increasing competition.
The advantage that ITU-T has over our competitors is its membership. No other standards body that the unique combination of 193 governments and over 450 private sector entities and academia. Our diverse membership ensures that ITU-T standards are truly international, non-discriminatory, and meet the needs of the full membership – whether in developing countries or developed countries.
Turning to the WCIT, I believe the new treaty is a considerable boost to the work of the ITU-T Sector, as it requires Member States to encourage the application of relevant ITU-T standards by service providers and authorized operating agencies, in many areas including the following:
- a wide range of international telecommunication services
- Quality of service
- International telecommunication numbering
- International calling line identification
- provision of information on operations
- provision of free-of-charge, transparent, up-to-date and accurate information to end users on international roaming prices
- safety-of-life telecommunications
- priority of telecommunication services
- making known the number to be used for emergency services, and the introduction of a globally harmonized national number (112 or 911) in addition to any existing national emergency numbers
- countering spam
- and accessibility
The treaty addresses many concerns and of particular interest in this region Articles 3.5 and 3.6 requires Member States to endeavour to ensure that international telecommunication numbering resources specified in ITU-T Recommendations are used only by the assignees and only for the purposes for which they were assigned; and that unassigned resources are not used; and that Member States shall endeavour to ensure that international calling line identification (CLI) information is provided taking into account the relevant ITU-T Recommendations.
WCIT called for ITU-T to study the regulatory, technical and economic issues which need to be taken into consideration due to the transition from dedicated phone and data networks, to converged IP-based networks.
It also called for Member States to work together to ensure the security and robustness of international telecommunication networks.
The treaty also encourages broadband investments, through competition and competitive wholesale pricing, and the implementation of IXPs to reduce costs, as well as improving the resilience of networks.
WCIT also called for greater effort to provide access to the international fibre-optic networks at reasonable cost, especially to small island states; and for ITU to play an active and constructive role in the development of broadband and the multistakeholder model of the Internet.
ITU and APT will be holding a joint information session on the outcome of the WTSA and WCIT in Bangkok on 6 and 7 March, which will look at the results of the APT proposals, and how the decisions will impact the region. The event is open to all interested parties and fellowships are available for participation, so I hope to see many of you there.
The 1600 delegates from 151 Member States at WCIT made one thing extremely clear: the critical importance of ICTs to their future socio-economic development. The active participation of so many countries was very different to when the treaty was first adopted in 1988, and represents a major paradigm shift in the political and economic agenda. As a result the conference recognized the need to review this treaty more regularly in future, suggesting every eight years.
The ITU’s membership, through the expertise of its thousands of experts working in ITU, and their dedication and hard work, share a common objective to connect the world and extend the benefits of ICTs and broadband to all the peoples of the world, including those in remote areas.
We look forward to working closely with PITA to help implement these decisions in this region.