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 Monday, July 16, 2012
WCIT 2012: an opportunity to create an open, innovative and sustainable ICT environment

ITU Secretary-General Hamadoun Touré and Chair of the Executive Board of the European Telecommunications Network Operators' Association (ETNO) Luigi Gambardella met today at ITU headquarters in Geneva. During their discussion they stressed the importance of the World Conference on International Telecommunications 2012 (WCIT-12), which will review the International Telecommunication Regulations, or ITRs. They said that an update of this international treaty will lay the framework to support continued growth and an innovative and sustainable future for the telecommunication and information and communication technologies (ICTs) sector.

 

Dr Touré noted that “the 1988 ITRs opened the door for the telecommunication revolution of the 1990s — and notably privatization, liberalization, and new technologies such as mobile. Now it’s time to take the next step and open the door for the broadband revolution of the next decade, so that all the world’s people can gain access — affordable, equitable, high-speed fixed or mobile access — to voice, video and data.”

 

Mr Gambardella stated that “WCIT-12 allows us to address the need for a new ecosystem for communications, enabling operators and service providers to meet the huge challenges that are being driven by the rapid rise in data traffic, while allowing users to continue enjoying the benefits brought about by the Internet and other technologies."

 

The ITRs set out the basic principles for ensuring that networks can connect smoothly and efficiently across borders and among technologies. However, the environment has changed dramatically since their last revision in 1988. The growth in traffic puts a strain on network resources and risks worsening users' experience of connectivity. The ITRs need to reflect changes in markets and technologies, while allowing innovation to continue.

 

The ITU membership, which includes ETNO, sees WCIT-12 as an opportunity to agree on a new and sustainable model for international communications, favouring innovation, openness and consumer choice. ETNO believes that improved user experience would be encouraged by allowing commercial agreements between players on end-to-end quality of service. The association has put forward a proposed revision to the ITRs that it believes would ensure that the framework is future proof.