Allow me to speak in Portuguese in honor of our hosts. I
would like to address two important questions from our agenda:
- the ITU role in the discussion of Internet
governance issues and
- the challenges presented by a new converged
environment for national ICT regulators.
I) ITU and Internet governance
The first question I would like to raise is the following: Why
is ITU the appropriate forum for discussing Internet governance
A brief answer to that question can be summarized in a few words,
Tradition, Expertise and Legitimacy.
The International Telecommunication Union has an over-140-year
history of commitment to connecting the world and helping it
communicate, and holds moreover a long-lasting tradition of
multi-stakeholder membership. It assembles 191 Member States,
over 700 Sector Members and Associates from both private and
public sectors, international and regional ICT organizations.
Moreover we can go so far as to say that our Union is essential
to Internet Governance and, from the convergence perspective,
ITU plays a vital role in the achievement of the Millennium
Development Goals, the implementation of the Tunis Agenda and
WSIS outcomes, and the consolidation of an inclusive,
development-oriented and people-centered Information Society.
This leads us to the inevitable debate on the limited status
other international organizations may have in addressing
Internet-related public policy issues.
Take ICANN for instance. By no means am I advocating that the
responsibilities currently held by ICANN should be assigned to
ITU; that would be unreasonable, especially considering the
excellent job ICANN already does in managing the Domain Name
Nonetheless, I am just as certain that ICANN’s current working
methods, decision-making process and institutional confidence
would greatly benefit from this Union’s broad experience, if for
instance Governments’ and GAC’s pronouncements were made less
“consultative” and more “legally binding”, following the example
of ITU’s decision making process.
To sum up, even though ITU should never be the sole forum for
discussing Internet Governance issues, it surely is one of the
most prestigious and technically capable of doing so and
additionally of providing GAC with subsidies for debates. Brazil
believes this may be an excellent exercise of transparent,
multilateral and democratic Internet governance.
II) The challenges of a converged environment
The second matter I would like to address is the following: What
kind of challenges does convergence present for national ICT
Perhaps, the greatest challenges we face are not really
associated to convergence itself, but to the transitional
process towards convergence. In other words, regulating
ubiquitous next generation networks (NGNs) with a service-oriented
architecture is certainly easier than regulating networks at
different degrees of evolution and variable levels of
convergence in equipment and services.
The current transition in such a heterogeneous environment must
additionally preserve the on-going contracts and licenses, deal
with limited geographic coverage as well as with problems
related to universal service and market imperfections.
Developing countries are furthermore urged to confront problems
related to lack of capital and low incomes, which limit the
access to telecommunications, jeopardize the deployment of new
services and the maintenance of adequate consumer service
In such a context of change, the adoption of flexible regulation
would be preferable. For ICT regulators, the main challenges of
carrying out a smooth evolution towards convergence are: to
reduce license issuing, reframe the radiofrequency spectrum,
build convergence-oriented capacity and redimension the national
backbone capacity in terms of international connectivity.
Taking into account the work that has been carried by the ITU,
Member States should re-think the International
Telecommunication Regulations (ITRs) through the lenses of a
converged NGN-based environment and keep in mind the specific
needs of developing countries, such as cost reduction of
telecommunication services. It is therefore necessary that the
above-mentioned hypothesis be carefully considered.
To conclude, convergence and new technologies are important
tools for developing countries as they overcome inherited
problems related to poor network coverage and reduce the digital
gap by updating their current telecommunication plant and
service networks into a modern infrastructure. In this context,
the asymmetries between developing countries and between the
latter and the developed ones will have to be duly considered.
It is thus essential that careful thought be given to the new
concept of telecommunication networks, especially on what
concerns international traffic and its revenues, as one of ITR’s
As the regulatory environment rapidly changes, I would like to
emphasize the importance of capacity-building for regulators and
policy-makers. As far as developing countries are concerned, it
is necessary that the issue of human resources management be
duly addressed, taking into account the specific needs of
different regions and member States in the light of the emerging
challenges raised by convergence. ITU has on several occasions
recognized the relevance of capacity-building, including in the
Secretary-General’s report before us, and it seems necessary to
promote continuous dialog and intense exchange of ideas and
experiences among regulators on such an important issue. Thank
you very much, Mr. Chairman