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ITU and its Activities Related to Internet Protocol (IP) Networks


Chapter Three: Overview of ITU Activities Related to Internet Protocol (IP) Networks

3.1              Introduction

ITU's activities, policies and strategic direction are determined and shaped by the industry it serves; an industry that is being shaped by the trends described in Chapter Two: Understanding Telecommunication Network Trends.

Since support for IP-based technologies has emerged as a strategic element in the design, development and use of many telecommunication networks, this has had a major impact on ITU’s work programmes in its radiocommunication, telecommunication standardization and development focused-activities. For example, the growing popularity of the Internet and other IP-based networks dramatically increased requirements for telecommunications capacity and bandwidth, which has in turn driven much innovation in telecommunication access and transport networks. Some examples include leveraging copper wire “last-mile” networks through digital subscriber line (DSL) technologies, re-architecturing of cable networks to support IP services and advances in optical networking technologies. Another simple example is the deployment of voice over IP (VoIP) technology: for example using ITU-T H.323, the world’s most widely deployed VoIP technology.

Accompanying this is an increased focus by ITU members on the regulatory and policy issues related to convergence and international coordination issues arising out of this convergence, which includes IP-based networks such as the Internet.

This chapter explores ITU activities as they relate to the Internet and IP-based networks.  It starts with a review of extracts from Resolutions and Decisions made by ITU bodies in Sections 3.2 and 3.3 and follows this with a description of some of the more detailed ongoing or planned work item activities related to IP-based networks.

3.2              Extracts of Selected ITU Plenipotentiary Resolutions

The ITU Plenipotentiary conference, which meets every four years (the last time in 2002), has outlined the role that ITU should play with respect to the Internet Protocol (IP)-based network, including the “Internet”. This term is not used in ITU in isolation. ITU Resolutions refer to “Internet names and addresses”, “IP-based networks” and “IP-based services”, where IP stands for “Internet Protocol”, a component of the TCP/IP set of standards underpinning IP-based networks and services including the Internet. Particular reference can be made to ITU Member State Resolutions in the Final Acts of the ITU Plenipotentiary Conference held in Marrakesh in 2002.[1]

ITU Plenipotentiary Resolutions typically require regular reporting and review by “ITU Council”.  The ITU Council comprises a maximum of 25 per cent of the total number of Member States, which are elected by the Plenipotentiary Conference with due regard to the need for equitable distribution of Council seats among five world regions (Americas, Western Europe, Eastern Europe, Africa, Asia, and Australasia).  The current Council is comprised of 46 Members.

The role of the Council is to consider, in the interval between Plenipotentiary Conferences, broad telecommunication policy issues to ensure that the Union's activities, policies and strategies fully respond to today's dynamic, rapidly changing telecommunications environment.  The Council takes steps to facilitate the implementation of the provisions of the ITU Constitution, the ITU Convention, the Administrative Regulations (International Telecommunications Regulations and Radio Regulations), the decisions of Plenipotentiary Conferences and, where appropriate, the decisions of other conferences and meetings of ITU. The next meeting of the ITU Council is in June 2004.

As two examples, Annex 1: Council Reports on Management of Internet Domain Names and Addresses provides the reporting for the years 2001 (ITU Council 2002 (Section 11.1)) and 2002 (ITU Council 2003 (Section 11.2)) respectively, on ITU’s activities related to Management of Internet Domain Names and Addresses (Resolution 102, revised in Marrakesh 2002) and Role of Administrations of Member States in the Management of Internationalized (Multilingual) Domain Names (Resolution 133 (Marrakesh 2002).

3.2.1 ITU Plenipotentiary 1998 Resolution 101: Internet Protocol (IP)-based networks


a) that advances in the global information infrastructure, including the development of Internet Protocol (IP)-based networks and especially the Internet, are an issue of crucial importance to the future, as an important engine for growth in the world economy in the twenty-first century;

b) that the increased use of the Internet is replacing existing services and introducing new ones based on its highly advanced technology: the utilization of e-mail has become commonplace, voice over Internet is being developed rapidly;

c) that IP-based networks will continue to introduce dramatic changes in the way we acquire, produce, circulate and consume information;



a)      ITU-T to continue its collaborative activities on IP-based networks with ISOC/IETF;

b)      all Sectors to consider their future work programmes on IP-based networks,


1        that ITU shall fully embrace the opportunities for telecommunication development that arise from the growth of IP-based services;


3.2.2 ITU Plenipotentiary 2002 Resolution 102: Management of Internet domain names and addresses[2]

“Instructs the Secretary-General:

1           to take a significant role in international discussions and initiatives on the management of Internet domain names and addresses, taking into account associated developments and the purposes of the Union;

2           to encourage all Member States to participate in the discussions on international management of Internet domain names and addresses, so that worldwide representation in the debates can be ensured;

3           to liaise and to cooperate, in conjunction with the Bureaux, with the regional telecommunication organizations pursuant to this resolution;

4           to provide assistance, in conjunction with the Bureaux, to Member States, if so requested, in order to achieve their stated policy objectives with respect to the management of Internet domain names and addresses;

Instructs the Director of TSB:

1           to continue to liaise and to cooperate with appropriate entities on relevant Internet domain name and address management issues, such as the transition to IP Version 6 (IPv6), ENUM, and internationalized domain names (IDN);

2           to work with Member States and Sector Members, recognizing the activities of other appropriate entities, to review Member States' ccTLD and other related experiences;

3           to work with Member States and Sector Members, recognizing the activities of other appropriate entities, to develop a recommendation to clarify the management of the domain ".int";

Instructs the Director of BDT:

1           to organize international and regional forums, in conjunction with appropriate entities, for the period 2002-2006, to discuss policy, operational and technical issues on the Internet in general and the management of Internet domain names and addresses in particular for the benefit of Member States, especially for least developed countries;”

3.2.3          ITU Plenipotentiary 2002 Resolution 123: Bridging the standardization gap between developing and developed countries

“pursuing initiatives that assist in bridging the standardization gap between developing and developed countries.”

3.2.4          ITU Plenipotentiary 2002 Resolution 130: Strengthening the role of ITU in information and communication network security

“2) intensify work within existing ITU study groups in order to:

i)           reach a common understanding on the importance of information and communication network security by studying standards on technologies, products and services with a view to developing recommendations, as appropriate;

ii)          seek ways to enhance exchange of technical information in the field of information and communication network security, and promote cooperation among appropriate entities;”

3.2.5          ITU Plenipotentiary 2002 Resolution 133: Role of administrations of Member States in the management of internationalized (multilingual) domain names[3]

“1          to take an active part in all international discussions and initiatives on the management of Internet domain names and addresses;

2           to take any necessary action to ensure the sovereignty of ITU Member States with regard to country code numbering plans and addresses will be fully maintained, as enshrined in Recommendation E.164 of the ITU Telecommunication Standardization Sector, in whatever application they are used;

3           to promote effectively the role of Member States in the internationalization of domain names and address of their respective languages;”

3.3              Other Related ITU Decisions, Resolutions and Declarations

3.3.1          ITU Council 2003 Decision to Develop IP Policy Manual

At its 5-16 May 2003 meeting, the ITU Council discussed document C03/27 R1, which is the report by the Secretary-General, the Director of BDT, and the Director of TSB, concerning activities related to management of Internet domain names and addresses in accordance with ITU Plenipotentiary Resolutions 102 and 133.[4] (See the Summary Record of the Twelfth Plenary Session of Council 2003, 15 May 2003).[5]

The Council unanimously endorsed the ITU report and expressed its full support for ITU's initiatives to date. It further encouraged the efforts made by the Bureaux particularly in the areas of network security and internationalized domain names. The Council also endorsed a proposal made by several countries for ITU-T, in collaboration with ITU-D, to develop an IP policy manual to advise Member States, especially developing countries, on the management of Internet domain names and related issues.[6]

The responsibility of specific ITU-T Study Groups is defined in WTSA 2000 Resolution 2,[7] as updated by Telecommunication Standardization Advisory Group (TSAG).[8] An overview of some of the ITU-T’s Study Group IP-based networks activities is given in Sections 4.8 - 4.18.

3.3.2          World Telecommunication Standardization Assembly (WTSA) 2000 Resolution 20: Procedures for allocation and management of international numbering resources[9]


a)          that the procedures governing the allocation and management of international numbering and addressing resources and related codes (e.g. new telephone ISDN country codes, telex destination codes, signalling area/network codes, data country codes) are laid down in the relevant E‑, F-, Q- and X-Series ITU‑T Recommendations;

b)          that the principles concerning future numbering and addressing plans to deal with emerging services and relevant number allocation procedures to meet international telecommunication needs will be studied in accordance with the ongoing work programme approved by this Conference for ITU-T Study Groups;

c)          Articles 14 and 15 of the Convention concerning the activities of ITU-T Study Groups and the responsibilities of the Director of the TSB, respectively,


that the assignment of international numbering and addressing resources is a responsibility of the Director of the TSB and the relevant Administrations,


1           the Director of the TSB before assigning, reassigning and/or reclaiming international numbering and addressing resources, to consult:

i)           the Chairman of the relevant Study Group or if needed the Chairman's delegated representative; and

ii)          the relevant Administration(s); and/or

iii)          the applicant/assignee when direct communication with the TSB is required in order to perform its responsibilities.

In the Director's deliberations and consultation the Director will consider the general principles for numbering and addressing resource allocation, and the provisions of the relevant E-, F-, Q- and X-Series of ITU-T Recommendations.

2           the relevant Study Groups to provide the Director of the TSB with advice on technical, functional and operational aspects in the assignment, reassignment and/or reclamation of international numbering and addressing resources in accordance with the relevant Recommendations, taking into account the results of any ongoing studies.”

3.3.3          World Telecommunication Development Conference (WTDC) Istanbul Action Plan (IsAP) Programme 3

One of the main purposes of this Programme as adopted by ITU Member States is “Access to the information society should be one of the main goals of this Programme…”. The main tasks in this Programme in the domain of Internet Protocol include:

  • Advise Member States in formulating relevant national and regional strategies and policies for the use of Internet;
  • Organize workshops, meetings and seminars to address technical, legal and policy issues for Internet Protocol;
  • Provide assistance to Member States in developing laws and model legislation for e-services/applications, prevention of cyber-crime, security, ethical issues and data privacy;
  • Develop Internet Protocol toolkits for policy makers;
  • Develop tools to facilitate the exchange of project information, best practices, technology and policy issues on Internet Protocol, IT security, legal issues related to the areas of activity of this Programme;
  • Assist in developing guidelines on the technology and policy aspects of Internet Protocol;
  • Enhance ICT literacy and building public awareness;
  • Promote public awareness and foster the use of the Internet.

3.3.4          Declarations of ITU Member States at IP Symposia

This activity is follow-up to the BDT’s implementation of ITU Plenipotentiary Conference 2002 Resolution 102 (see Section 3.2.2).     Kigali Declaration

  • We recommend that the development of information and communication technologies (ICTs), including DNS management and IP address allocation, be considered at the highest political level including at national, sub-regional and Africa Union levels, in cooperation with ITU and other appropriate entities.
  • We recommend that national policy-makers and/or regulators pay particular and urgent attention to the issue of allocation/assignment of Internet names and addresses. It was emphasized that the Internet is a global resource.
  • We strongly recommend that ITU engage itself in the establishment of an enabling international framework that fully recognizes the sovereign and legitimate interests of all ITU Member States. This includes, inter alia, the allocation and management of ccTLDs and the protection of country names.
  • We recommend that ITU organize a symposium as early as possible on the topic of establishment of Internet Exchange (IX) points at national and regional levels to keep traffic local and thereby reduce international traffic and related costs. The symposium should address related topics including sharing of country experiences and the necessity of regional interconnection.     Moscow Declaration

  • For the consideration of national authorities, ITU is requested to provide examples of best practices and models of national organization structures and, if appropriate, model law frameworks with regard to administration of country code Top Level Domains (ccTLDs).
  • ITU is requested to provide assistance to ITU Member States, upon specific request, in the repatriation of the management of their ccTLDs as well as to provide technical and policy assistance concerning ccTLD management including dispute resolution considerations, the latter in partnership with WIPO.
  • Recognizing the sovereign and legitimate interests of ITU Member States with regard to the protection of their country names in the DNS, ITU is requested to keep Member States appraised of the current state of discussions concerning implementation of the WIPO recent recommendations in this regard.
  • ITU is encouraged to enhance its training initiatives with regard to DNS and IP address management and recommend best practices, including with regard to deployment of IPv6, in cooperation with appropriate entities;


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Updated : 2011-04-04