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Home : Office of the Secretary-General : Corporate Strategy Division : WTPF : WTPF 2009
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Forum, 22-24 April 2009

Forum debates will take place over a three-day period, from 22-24 April inclusive, on the following topics:

Convergence, INCLUDING Internet-related public policy matters
As new technologies and platforms steadily erode the links between infrastructure and applications, convergence is arguably the most powerful driving force transforming today’s ICT landscape. One example is standard voice telephony, which is no longer limited to copper-wire POTS networks, but carried via the Internet, via co-axial cable TV links, and over the airwaves via a range of wireless technologies.

At the same time, the Internet has rapidly grown from a global information resource into a platform that increasingly supports a huge range of critical processes and applications. The crux of today’s Internet governance debate centres on resource management, and in particular on the management of top level domains, the allocation of IP addresses – and the regulations stipulating who defines their associated rules. With Internet demographics changing rapidly – Asia-Pacific now has the largest share of users by region – and developing countries greatly under-represented in current governance mechanisms, there’s an urgent need to ensure governance frameworks reflect new market realities.

Next Generation Networks

NGN packet-switched technology is already beginning to replace the traditional circuit-switched networks that have served as the basis of telephony since its inception. The ultimate goal: seamless connectivity to broadband services over any network and any device, worldwide.

ITU is leading the move to NGNs through its NGN Global Standards Initiative – one of the largest, most wide-ranging standardization projects ever undertaken. But for all their advantages, NGNs present their own challenges. In areas like regulation, uncertainty remains as to whether existing mechanisms are sufficient to support a smooth migration while ensuring the continued interoperability with legacy networks. This is vital to maintain effective and accessible global communications.

Emerging telecommunication policy and regulatory issues

The increasing pervasiveness of ICTs and the rapid growth of always-on IP-based services are creating new challenges for service providers and users alike. Network security, data privacy, identity management, online child protection and digital rights management are just a few of the thorny issues that demand considered, globally agreed strategies. At the same time, new network and device types and fast-growing demand for bandwidth are creating new spectrum and satellite management issues that require a coordinated international approach.

ICTs can also play a pivotal role addressing climate change issues, through their deployment as highly effective early warning systems, through their use to monitor a wide range of climatic variables, and through the opportunities they offer to help cut emissions in other sectors. Power-saving technologies, technologies to make cars, aircraft and other forms of transport more fuel-efficient, and the use of next-generation videoconferencing and online collaboration tools to reduce the need for physical travel can all contribute to a greener, cleaner planet.

The International Telecommunication Regulations (ITRs)

The International Telecommunication Regulations (ITRs) are a treaty-level instrument setting out the principles governing the provision and operation of international communications. While the current ITRs have remained unchanged since coming into force on 1 July 1990, the industry they relate to is undergoing an unprecedented period of transformation, both technological and operational. The advent of convergence and the growing dominance of IP-based packet-switched networks, combined with widespread liberalization of ICT markets through privatization and competition, is rewriting the rules of the game. In many countries, the role of government has evolved from being an operator of analogue voice services to the policy maker and regulator of a vast array of convergent multimedia services, delivered over many different types of networks and devices.

WTPF will look at the need for a far-reaching overhaul of current regulations in areas like network management, identification of the origin of network traffic, security, quality of service, the misuse of facilities and numbering resources, network fraud and dispute resolution.


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Updated : 2009-04-15