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Document C99/51-E

10 May 1999

Original: English

GENEVA    —    1999 SESSION   —   (14 - 25 JUNE)





                                                                                                        PLENARY MEETING
(PL 1.2.2)

Report by the Secretary-General

1     Subject:            IP-BASED Networks and the management of

                                                      internet domain names


2     Purpose


–     To report on activities that ITU is already undertaking in regard to IP‑based networks, on the roles and activities of other relevant international organizations, and on the degree of cooperation between ITU and those organizations.

–     To report on ITU participation in international discussions and initiatives on the management of Internet domain names and addresses.



Ref. doc.


PP-98 Res.




3     Background


PP-98 Resolutions COM5/14 and COM5/15.






4     Recommendation


The Council is invited to consider this report and recommend appropriate action. In addition, the Council is invited to endorse two specific initiatives:

–     participation by ITU-T in the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) Protocol Supporting Organization (PSO);

–     ITU management of the .INT top level domain.








5     Implications


The aforementioned initiatives would be undertaken using existing resources.







                                                                                                         Yoshio UTSUMI

Annex: 1

1         Overview

1.1        The Internet represents a fundamental revolution in the way the global community thinks, lives, shops, gathers information and conducts business. Since the telecommunication industry provides the infrastructure for the Internet, the two are inextricably linked. In fact, the public switched telephone network (PSTN) connects tens of millions of computers on the Internet, providing most of the transport over which the Internet protocol (IP) and related application services such as the World Wide Web are carried. In addition, the PSTN provides dial-up access to the Internet for millions of users.

1.2        In response to Resolution COM5/14 (Minneapolis, 1998), the Secretary-General has prepared the following report which contains a summary of the activities that ITU is already undertaking with regard to IP-based networks. The report also contains information on the roles and activities of other relevant international organizations, describing their involvement in IP-based network issues, and indicating cooperation measures between ITU and those organizations.

1.3        A more comprehensive report on these subjects, including URL references, is available on the Web and has been included on the Council CD-ROM.

2      Telecommunication Standardization Sector


2.1        The explosive growth of the Internet, and other IP-based networks, and with it the ever increasing demand for higher bandwidth/capacity, has network operators and manufacturers alike reconsidering their services, network structures, products, etc. Information technology and the use of IP‑based networks and applications (e.g. e-commerce) have become critical factors in the development of telecommunication networks.

2.2        Data traffic is growing at more than ten times the rate of voice traffic and it is estimated that in the near future data will account for 80 per cent of all traffic carried by telecommunication networks. Therefore, with this rapid change, the past concept of telephone networks that also carry data will be replaced by the concept of data networks that also carry voice. In this regard, seamless interworking between IP-based networks and telecommunication networks and interoperability of their respective applications/services is essential to meet the burgeoning business requirements placed on modern communications networks.

2.3        Another important trend in telecommunication networks is the emergence of mobile networks and a significant increase in the number of customers subscribing to them. The work on the third generation mobile networks performed by ITU under the name of IMT-2000 has, as its main features, an increased data speed of 384 kbit/s up to 2 Mbit/s, a global roaming capability and the virtual home environment (enabling users to move seamlessly between fixed and mobile networks). These features will provide an additional infrastructure for the IP-based network services with fast, ubiquitous access through the global roaming capability.

2.4        Interoperability of networks and of applications is becoming an increasingly important aspect. The interaction of IP-based networks and telecommunication networks for the purpose of gaining access to the Internet, or other IP-network applications, and the need for the interoperability of IP-based services and telecommunication services means providing real time Internet or other
IP‑based multimedia services with the speed, capacity, ease of use, reliability and integrity of the public telephone networks in use around the world. These are aspects of telecommunication network standardization in which ITU-T has an excellent track record.

2.5        Not only are we facing major changes in the telecommunication network, but also these changes are developing at ever shorter time intervals, with reduced development intervals and corresponding shorter life-cycles for services and products. Standards bodies must be able to change their focus and work direction to produce necessary standards at much shorter intervals.

2.6        In short, business directions are changing across the telecommunication industry. Consequently, standards organizations, forums and consortia are facing new challenges in terms of work direction and focus. We are also seeing the emergence of new bodies to address related areas.

2.7        The ultimate value of IP and telecommunication network interactions is the building of an integrated network through which people will have increased opportunities to interconnect and exchange ideas. It is a major challenge for ITU-T to meet and it is necessary, if the vision is to become reality, for ITU-T to leverage its knowledge, experience and competence in developing global standards for communications networks.

2.8        The next WTSA will be in the year 2000, at which time ITU-T will review its work priorities, direction and structure. However, it is TSAG's view that by the year 2000 the telecommunication environment will have already moved significantly towards making IP‑based technology a key part of the network infrastructure. Therefore, ITU-T cannot wait until 2000 to change its work directions in order to maintain its leadership role in the development of global standards, as part of the inevitable network evolution.

Current situation

2.9        Since 1998, Study Group 13 has acted as lead study group for "IP-related aspects" with the mandate "to provide a focal point in ITU-T for IP-related studies, including the interrelationship between IP and telecommunication networks and their convergence".

2.10      In recognition of the relevance of IP (Internet protocol)-based networks and their impact on the short-term business perspectives of ITU members, Study Group 13 has developed an "ITU-T IP project" separate from, but closely related to, GII studies. The project, which is intended to encompass all ITU-T IP-related work, will be regularly updated as the work progresses and as the various ITU-T study groups expand their activities in support of the IP-related work.

2.11      The primary objective of the IP project is to identify the issues relative to IP and telecommunication interoperability, utilizing the features of both to mutual advantage in the support of business needs.

2.12      The following twelve work areas have been identified as being of current major concern to ITU-T:

Area 1 - Integrated architecture

Area 2 - Impact on telecommunication access infrastructures of access to IP applications

Area 3 - Interworking between IP-based network and switched-circuit networks, including wireless based networks

Area 4 - Multimedia applications over IP

Area 5 - Numbering and addressing

Area 6 - Transport for IP-structured signals

Area 7 - Signalling support, IN and routing for services on IP-based networks

Area 8 - Performance

Area 9 - Integrated management of telecom and IP-based networks

Area 10 - Security aspects

Area 11 - Network capabilities including requirements for resource management

Area 12 - Operations and maintenance (OAM) for IP

2.13      For each of these areas, the project describes the scope and focus of the work area, the issues, current work in the ITU-T study groups and related work in IETF

2.14      Study groups will continue to study IP-related aspects in accordance with their respective responsibilities and mandates, as established in Resolution 2 of WTSC-96. At the request of TSAG, the study groups have updated their questions to include IP-related aspects. At its meeting in April 1999, TSAG reviewed the report of the lead study group, as well as the liaison statements received by the various ITU-T study groups, and will prepare further actions for WTSA-2000 in order to respond positively to this priority item in the Sector's strategic plan.

2.15      A detailed report describing the activities of the ITU-T study groups has been included on the CD-ROM distributed to Council participants.

Role of ITU with regard to ICANN's Protocol Supporting Organization (PSO)

2.16      In October 1998, the non-profit Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) was formed in order to assume responsibility for IP address allocation, protocol parameter assignment, domain name system management and root server system management functions. These functions were previously performed by the Internet Assigned Numbers Authority (IANA), Network Solutions Incorporated (NSI), and other entities, under United States Government contract. The ICANN bylaws provide for the establishment of supporting organizations, including an Address Supporting Organization (ASO), a Domain Name Supporting Organization (DNSO) and a Protocol Supporting Organization (PSO).

2.17      As at April 1999, the latter organization (PSO) has yet to be established, but it is scheduled to be formed among international Internet-related standards development organizations (SDOs) shortly after ICANN's next meeting in Berlin at the end of May 1999. PSO will be responsible for appointing three members to the ICANN Board of Directors and providing advice and recommendations and reviews on Internet-related protocol and parameter issues.

2.18      Contributions to the recent TSAG meeting proposed that ITU seek an effective role in PSO because of its standards activities related to the Internet. Consequently, the General Secretariat, TSB and ITU-T study group representatives have been involved in discussions on the establishment of PSO with representatives from ISOC/IETF and the World Wide Web Consortium. One approach under discussion is the establishment of a memorandum of understanding between SDOs that would define cooperative arrangements for the functioning of PSO.

2.19      Council is requested to endorse this course of action.

3         Radiocommunication Sector

IMT-2000 initiative (third generation mobile)

3.1        Some features of IMT-2000 Capability Set 1 include:

•            Support of packet data services (e.g. IP)

•            Data rates up to 2 Mbit/s

•            Quality of service negotiation

•            Asymmetric or symmetric upstream/downstream bit rates.

3.2        The result will be a new generation of mobile combination handsets/personal digital assistants (PDAs).

3.3        There are multiple liaison activities with ITU-T study groups: see the IMT-2000 work plan for further information on related study group activities.

3.4        ITU-R Working Party 8A has approved a new study question on IP over mobile networks.

3.5        ITU-R Working Party 9A is addressing IP-performance issues as they relate to transport of IP through radio and is developing a tool to collect information concerning performance-related ITU-T recommendations (e.g. G.821, G.826, I.356, I.AAL, I.380).

4         Telecommunication Development Sector

Internet-related activities of the BDT Information System Unit

4.1        The Information System Unit is involved in a number of activities related to statistics and analysis used to measure access to the Internet worldwide:

•            A number of annual time series related to Internet diffusion are collected, compiled and disseminated. These include Internet host computers, Internet host computers per inhabitant, Internet users, Internet users per inhabitant (all published in the ITU's annual World Telecommunication Development Report), Internet subscribers, Internet networks, number of Internet service providers.

•            Analysis of Internet pricing trends. A comparative basket for 45 countries was compiled in November 1998.

•            Analysis of Internet access in developing countries (see the relevant chapters in the ITU Report "Challenges to the Network").

•            Ongoing work in methodological considerations for identifying the best indicators to measure Internet diffusion and using data to analyse the situation and make forecasts.

Assistance with policy and regulation

4.2        BDT's Sector Reform Unit is responsible for implementing the Valletta Action Plan programme on reform, legislation and regulation of telecommunications. In that respect, the unit provides assistance to countries in the restructuring of the telecommunication sector. The unit collects and analyses information on trends in sector reform. It carries out an annual survey on telecommunication regulation. One of the main topics addressed in this year's survey is the Internet. The survey information will be analysed and reported in the second edition of "Trends in
Telecommunication Reform: 1999" which will be published on the occasion of TELECOM 99. The theme for this year's report is the regulation of digital convergence.

4.3        The unit is also responsible for development and updating of the "Telecommunication Regulation" website (T-Reg online). This website serves as the BDT's regulatory information service for the telecommunication community and provides essential information relating to regulation and sector reform. The website includes an electronic reference library, which contains documents on Internet and convergence.

4.4        The unit organizes regional seminars on telecommunication reform and regulation. These meetings address subjects that are identified by the regions themselves. A workshop on telecommunication reform was organized on 3-5 May 1999 in Gaborone (Botswana) for English‑speaking African countries.

Capacity building

4.5        Extensive use is made of the Internet to deliver online training and support (ITU Virtual Training Centre and Global Telecommunication University).

4.6        Examples of activities include:

•            A series of courses delivered via the Internet, teaching how to use the Internet for distance learning. These courses will be delivered once again this year to the majority of telecommunication organizations in the Arab States.

•            Online training via the Internet is soon to be provided to several thousand students in ITU member organizations in developing countries, on a wide variety of subjects including IP networks.

•            IP-networking workshops for developing countries are planned, in collaboration with private Sector Members.

Promoting universal access

4.7        Programme 3 of the Valletta Action Plan is responsible for promoting universal access to information communication technologies (ICTs). It does so in close collaboration with BDT regional coordinators and representatives and other international, national and private sector partners. There are a number of ongoing activities aimed at bringing Internet connectivity to developing countries, particularly in underserved or rural areas.

4.8        These activities include:

•            Organizing regional seminars and workshops

•            Implementation of community telecentre pilot projects - currently under way in Mali, Benin, Tanzania, Uganda, Mozambique, Bhutan, Viet Nam, India, Honduras and Suriname

•            Full-scale implementation of telecentres is taking place in Argentina, under the project "Argentine Internet for All". This project, jointly financed by the Secretariat of Communications of Argentina (USD 23 million) and BDT, will bring Internet access to isolated and underserved areas. The project aims to install 950 "community technology centres" (CTCs). Each CTC will have at least five Internet connected PCs. In addition, 50 "virtual training centres", each with ten Internet connected PCs, will offer Internet services and permit the creation of local web-based content.

ITU-D study groups

4.9        A focus group has been established on the promotion of infrastructure and use of the Internet in developing countries (Question 13/1).

Electronic commerce for developing countries (EC-DC)

4.10      Last year, BDT launched a special development initiative called electronic commerce for developing countries (EC-DC). EC-DC is a global project with the following objectives:

•            to enable developing and least developed countries to use existing infrastructures and services to participate in electronic commerce;

•            to facilitate the transfer of electronic commerce technology and increase public awareness;

•            to stimulate the planning and deployment of Internet-connected telecommunication infrastructure and value-added services.

4.11      Since the successful launching of the EC-DC pilot at WTDC-98 (Valletta, 1998) and its approval in September 1998 as a BDT project financed by the TELECOM surplus funds programme, EC-DC projects have started up in Venezuela, Egypt and Morocco, and requests have been received from several other countries to participate in EC-DC. Partnership agreements are being discussed with a view to providing financial and other assistance for EC-DC in many other countries.

5         General Secretariat


5.1        The General Secretariat is playing an increasing role in facilitative initiatives for strengthening international coordination, dialogue and harmonization in the context of the Internet and the global information economy/society, particularly with respect to the Union's leading role in matters relating to the role of telecommunications. These initiatives include opening and facilitating dialogue between telecommunication regulators and competition authorities and supplying information and analysis relevant to their work, as well as supporting the development of frameworks for cooperation. Some examples include:

•            The Strategic Planning Unit, with the assistance of colleagues throughout ITU, has prepared expert reports and studies on important policy and regulatory issues. Two such studies on the Internet ("Challenges to the Network") have already been completed in 1997 and 1999. ITU has also established a strong position in the provision of Internet indicators and data.

•            There has been a tradition of informal ITU-related meetings hosted by the Union. For example, ITU's regulatory colloquia have served a useful purpose in developing the exchange of views on regulatory issues, including most recently e-commerce.

Internet names and addresses

5.2        With reference to Resolution COM5/15 of the Plenipotentiary Conference on the management of Internet domain names and addresses, the General Secretariat has been involved in several related activities, including the following:

Participation in IAHC, gTLD-MoU and POC

5.3        At the request of the Internet Assigned Numbers Authority (IANA) and the Internet Society (ISOC), ITU was one of the original participants in the International Internet Ad Hoc Committee (IAHC) created in October 1996 that attempted to establish a new framework for management of Internet generic top level domains. The IAHC's final plan was described in the Generic Top Level Domain Memorandum of Understanding (gTLD-MoU) and ITU was and continues to be a participant in the gTLD-MoU Policy Oversight Committee (POC). Besides POC, an additional component of the gTLD-MoU framework was the establishment of an association of globally distributed Internet domain name registrars called the Internet Council of Registrars (CORE).

5.4        Following the release of the United States Government's white paper on management of Internet names and addresses dated 5 June 1998, the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) was established. The description of ICANN on its website says:

             "The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) is the new non‑profit corporation that was formed to take over responsibility for the IP address space allocation, protocol parameter assignment, domain name system management, and root server system management functions now performed under U.S. Government contract by IANA and other entities."

5.5        On 21 April 1999, CORE was selected by ICANN as one of an initial set of five new testbed registrars who will bring competition to domain name registration services for .com, .net, and .org top level domains. It is increasingly clear that ICANN will adopt almost all the key provisions developed by IAHC and described in the gTLD-MoU.

Internet ISO 3166 top level domain survey

5.6        In the last few years, ITU has received an increasing number of queries on responsibility for Internet domain name registration in different regions of the world. Because the available information was often incomplete or out of date, ITU conducted a comprehensive survey in 1998‑1999 of the contact information and registration sites for all Internet top level domains based on the ISO 3166 standard. The survey, which is available on the ITU website, was carried out in cooperation with the Internet Assigned Numbers Authority (IANA), and all data gathered have been supplied to IANA on a continuing basis.

ICANN Governmental Advisory Committee

5.7        ITU is participating in the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) Governmental Advisory Committee (GAC).

5.8        At its first meeting in Singapore on 2 March 1999, GAC requested ITU's participation in two subgroup studies, namely:

•            the current administrative regime with regard to country-code top level domains (ccTLDs), including access to information for users and the basis of delegation decisions;

•            advice on whether any specific business rules/regime should be applicable to country code top level domains which are classified as "open" or "restricted".

Coordination activities with IANA and ICANN

5.9        ITU has several ongoing liaison activities with IANA and ICANN following requests from ITU Member States for assistance in the transfer and/or management assignment of ISO 3166 Internet top level domains - including provision of technical top level domain hosting services at ITU and technical and policy assistance, particularly for developing countries.

Comments on the WIPO Internet domain names process RFC-3 interim report

5.10      ITU has provided comments pertaining to the protection of the Union's names and acronyms for the WIPO Internet domain name process RFC-3 interim report which will form the basis of a recommendation by WIPO to ICANN on dispute resolution policy vis-ΰ-vis domain names and trademarks.

.INT top level domain management

5.11      Following an initial request from the Internet Assigned Numbers Authority (IANA), discussions are under way for a planned ITU management of registrations in the .INT Internet top level domain. .INT is a highly restricted low-volume (approximately one per month) top level domain intended principally for intergovernmental organizations like ITU.

5.12      The Council is requested to endorse this role.

6         Activities and cooperation with other international organizations

6.1        Annex A contains a list of activities and/or organizations involved in Internet and IP networks that involve cooperative initiatives with ITU.


Activities and cooperation with other international organizations

Electronic commerce coordination activities

A.1        Staff from the International Telecommunication Union (ITU), World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO), International Trade Centre (ITC), World Trade Organization (WTO), United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE), and United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) are having discussions to enhance collaboration and integration of e‑commerce development activities among Geneva agencies.

Committee T1

A.2        A compendium of IP-related work activities in Committee T1 was submitted to the ITU-T TSAG meeting in April 1999. T1 is active in ITU-T standardization activities.

European Telecommunication Standardization Institute (ETSI)

A.3        ETSI, which is an ITU-T Sector Member, cooperates with ITU-T in standardization activities. Of special related interest in the context of IP networks is the ETSI TIPHON project (Telecommunications and Internet Protocol Harmonization over Networks related to IP telephony). ETSI is also involved in third generation mobile work which is related to ITU's IMT-2000 project.

International Organization for Standardization (ISO)

A.4        ISO collaborates with ITU in ITU-T standardization activities (cf. WTSC-96 Resolution 7 and Recommendation A.23).

Internet Assigned Numbers Authority (IANA)

A.5        The transfer of certain responsibilities of IANA to the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers is under consideration.

Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN)

A.6        A description of ICANN and related ITU activities can be found in this report.

ICANN Governmental Advisory Committee (GAC)

A.7        A description of the ICANN Governmental Advisory Committee and related ITU activities can be found in this report.

ICANN Protocol Supporting Organization (PSO)

A.8        A description of the ICANN Protocol Supporting Organization and related ITU activities can be found in this report.

Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF)

A.9        IETF is a large open international community of network designers, operators, vendors and researchers concerned with the evolution of the Internet architecture and smooth operation of the Internet. ITU-T has ongoing cooperative initiatives with IETF on standardization issues.

Internet Engineering Steering Group (IESG)

A.10      IETF working groups are grouped into areas, and managed by area directors. Area directors form the members of the Internet Engineering Steering Group (IESG). Members of IESG are involved in cooperative initiatives with ITU-T on standardization coordination activities.

Internet Architecture Board (IAB)

A.11      The Internet Architecture Board (IAB) provides architectural oversight for the Internet Engineering Task Force. ITU has also been in coordination with IAB on the activities.

Internet Society (ISOC)

A.12      The Internet Society (ISOC) is a professional membership society with more than 150 organizational and 6 000 individual members in over 100 countries. It is the organization home for the groups responsible for Internet infrastructure standards, including the Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF) and the Internet Architecture Board (IAB). ITU has ongoing liaison activities related to standards with ISOC's Vice-President for Standards who coordinates with IESG (see the section on Internet Engineering Steering Group).

Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD)

A.13      The OECD's Directorate for Science, Technology and Industry (DSTI) deals with issues relating to science and technology, information and communications technologies and industry. DSTI addresses issues in the areas of communications, the "information economy", and legal aspects of the information society. It also deals with technological and policy convergence and the measurement and policy issues raised by the development and diffusion of information and communications technologies and infrastructures and their impact on the economy and society.

A.14      ITU cooperates with OECD on Internet and telecommunication indicators. ITU participated in the Ministerial Conference on Realizing the Potential of Global Electronic Commerce (Ottawa, 7‑9 October 1998). The Union also participates with observer status at OECD's Telecommunications and Information Services Policy (TISP) meetings. With reference to ITU activities in domain names and addresses, OECD has also undertaken surveys related to Internet domain name allocation policies.

Telecommunications Industry Association (TIA)

A.15      A compendium of IP-related work activities in TIA was submitted to the ITU-T TSAG meeting in April 1999.

World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO)

A.16      ITU worked with WIPO in the International Internet Ad Hoc Committee (IAHC) created in October 1996 that attempted to establish a new framework for management of Internet generic top level domains. The Union has provide comments pertaining to the protection of its names and acronyms for the WIPO Internet domain name process RFC-3 interim report.

World Trade Organization (WTO)

A.17      ITU collaborated with WTO on the second World Telecommunication Policy Forum in March 1998 (WTPF-98) on the theme "Trade in telecommunication services". The Union has also collaborated with WTO on training in developing countries on electronic commerce. Further collaboration activities with WTO are the subject of Document C99/36 (Cooperation Agreement between ITU and World Trade Organization).

World Wide Web Consortium (W3C)

A.18      W3C was founded in October 1994 to lead the World Wide Web to its full potential by developing common protocols that promote its evolution and ensure its interoperability. ITU-T is collaborating with W3C (along with IETF) on establishment of the ICANN Protocol Supporting Organization (PSO).





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