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World Telecommunication Standardization Assembly (WTSA-04)

WTSA-04 News and Highlights

Assembly outlines future global standards-setting

Florianópolis, 14 October — The World Telecommunication Standardization Assembly drew to a close today — World Standards Day1 — with a plan for future global standards-setting and a clear statement about the direction of the future work of ITU’s Telecommunication Standardization Sector (ITU-T)2. Internet-related issues and next-generation networks emerged as key areas. 475 delegates from 75 countries participated.

The 8-day meeting covered a wide range of issues that will impact the future direction of the telecommunication industry. It made important decisions that lay the foundations for the next generation of information and communication technologies. The Assembly also streamlined the ITU-T work programme to achieve greater efficiency in the production of ITU standards (ITU-T Recommendations). Areas of work to be covered by study groups were consolidated and, as a result, an increased scope of study will be achieved with a reduction of some 15 per cent in the number of study topics (Questions).

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Industry And Government Ask ITU To Address Cybersecurity
Symposium Calls For Accelerated Development Of Security Standards

Florianópolis, 4 October 2004 — Cybersecurity experts meeting in Florianópolis, Brazil, 4 October called on ITU to intensify work on standards for securing information communications technologies (ICT).

A key conclusion of the meeting attended by private sector and government representatives is that standardization should form a vital part of the global cybersecurity effort. Attendees also agreed that multilateral international cooperation to increase awareness and information sharing among stakeholders is equally important. A number of best practices for manufacturers and operators were also highlighted as well as the need to consider cybersecurity in all its dimensions: technical, policy and regulatory.

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Defining Standards Activity Beyond 2004
5-14 October, 2004 sees the World Telecommunication Standardization Assembly (WTSA) which is the regular event that defines the next period of study for ITU-T. This year Brazil has kindly offered to host the event.

The assembly will review and decide on working methods including approval process, the work programme, structure of study groups, study questions, and develop procedures for cooperation with external organizations. Essentially WTSAs determine the priorities, urgency and timeframe for completion of work relating to the preparation of standards. It's expected that high on the agenda of this WTSA will be restructuring of the study group system that splits ITU-T's work into specific areas of study.

8-11 October 2004

Committee 6 addresses Internet issues
Following consultations and drafting group meetings over the weekend, a number of compromises were reached on a series of Internet-related issues. These were reviewed by Committee 6 on Monday for further consideration by the plenary meeting of the Assembly.
  • Measures to combat spam

  • With spam having grown into one of the major plagues affecting the digital world, causing additional costs and loss of revenue to Internet service providers, telecoms operators and business users, measures to combat spam have taken on an added sense of urgency.

  • ITU-T’s contribution to WSIS

  • The WSIS Declaration adopted by Heads of State in December 2003 recognizes that "the management of the Internet encompasses both technical and public policy issues and should involve all stakeholders and relevant intergovernmental and international organizations".

  • International telecommunication numbering, naming, addressing and identification resources

  • Based on the recognition that it is in the best interests of ITU members to build and maintain confidence in the use of telecom services, Committee 6 revised a resolution on the allocation of international telecommunication numbering, naming, addressing and identification codes such as country codes, signalling area and network codes, data country codes, mobile country codes, etc.

  • ENUM

  • Considering the work carried out by ITU-T on ENUM and remaining unresolved issues, Committee 6 proposed tasking Study Group 2, responsible for the operational aspects of service provision, networks and performance, to study how ITU could have administrative control over changes relating to international telecommunication resources including naming, numbering, addressing and routing used for ENUM.

  • Country Code Top Level Domain Names

  • Considering that there are still issues that need to be addressed relating to the delegation of country code top level domain (ccTLD) to entities designated by national authorities, Committee 6 proposed a new resolution instructing ITU-T Study Group 2 to work with governments and industry to review Member States’ ccTLD experiences.
The issue of call-back has been on the ITU agenda for some time. At WTSA 2004, Committee 6 drafted an amendment to the existing resolution on call-back which requests Study Group 3 (Tariffs) to study the economic effect of call-back in developing countries and how it impacts on their ability to develop their telecommunication networks and services.

Committee 4 debates how to tackle NGN
In Committee 4, agreement has still to be reached on whether or not Study Groups 11 (signalling) and 13 (architecture) will remain as separate entities or a new NGN group will be formed from a merger of the two.

Working methods revisited
Committee 3 spent considerable time discussing whether the current way to approve technical recommendations that have no policy or regulatory impact needs revision. Currently, a recommendation can be approved by a study group if it is not opposed. The proponents for change argued that this effective veto right was introducing a degree of uncertainty to the development of technical recommendations.

Plenary meeting of the Assembly starts substantive work
The second plenary of WTSA started consideration of input from committees. It agreed two resolutions and one Recommendation. The Recommendation approved — Y.1271 — describes ‘Framework(s) on network requirements and capabilities to support emergency communications over evolving circuit-switched and packet-switched networks’. The first resolution is to continue the activities of ICG-SAT (Inter-Sector Coordination Group on Satellite Matters). Agreement on this group had already been achieved at ITU-R Radiocommunication Assembly last year.

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6-7 October 2004

Results-based budgeting
At its second meeting yesterday, Committee 2 continued discussions on implementing results-based budgeting.
The discussions focused on the priorities and objectives to be identified for the purpose of preparing the ITU-T budget, taking into account the strategic plan adopted by the Plenipotentiary Conference in 2002. In particular, participants started to review the strategic goals outlined in the Plan and translated them into more specific objectives that can be used for budgeting purposes.

Working procedures refined
Building on the success of WTSA 2000's proposals to increase efficiency in the production of ITU standards (ITU-T Recommendations), WTSA-04 delegates have agreed to the consolidation of the areas of work to be covered by study groups. As a result, an increased scope of study will be achieved with a reduction of some 20% in the number of Questions for more efficiency.

The work of WTSA’s Committee 4 reconfirmed the majority of the Telecommunication Standardization Advisory Group’s (TSAG) recommendations on restructuring. The life of many of the study groups that existed before the Assembly will extend into the next study period. Discussion, however, continues on the exact mandate of most, and whether or not Study Groups 11 (signalling) and 13 (architecture) will merge to form a new next generation network (NGN) group.

ITU presents
A new feature of WTSA’s are the technical briefings that have been well attended introductions to different areas of technology. Wednesday saw briefings on international domain names and IPv6. Thursday’s sessions looked at next generation networks as well telecommunications for disaster relief and telemedicine.

Where to go from here?
Outlining an ambitious work programme
Committee 5 dedicated its first two meetings, held on 7 October, to the reports of study group chairmen. The reports gave an overview of the key achievements of the concluding study period and outlined the work it is proposed to carry out in the following term. A total of 982 standards were approved since the last Assembly representing 1 standard per working day.

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5 October 2004

Opening of the World Telecommunication Standardization Assembly

Mr Pedro Jaime Ziller de Araujo, president of the Brazilian regulator ANATEL opened the ITU's first World Telecommunication Standardization Assembly held in Latin America. Brazil is hosting the event on the island of Santa Catarina.

The event attracts participants from government and industry around the world. This year over 500 people are expected to attend from 80 countries.

WTSA takes place every four years and examines the structure of ITU-T and proposes the way forward for the next four years. It is necessary to regularly address the make-up of the organization in this way because of the fast moving nature of the information and communication technologies (ICT) industry.

Going straight to work
The opening ceremony was followed immediately by the first Plenary meeting which elected the Chairman of the Assembly, Mr Savio Pinheiro of Anatel and agreed on the structure of the meeting. The TSB Director introduced his report to the Assembly, providing an overview of the activities of the Sector since the last Assembly and offering his vision of the future of the Sector.

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Opening address by Mr Paulo Lustosa
Executive Secretary of the Ministry of Communications (Portuguese only)

Opening address by Mr Yoshio Utsumi
Secretary-General of ITU

Statement at the first Plenary Meeting by Mr Savio Pinheiro
Chairman of WTSA-04 (Portuguese only)

Statement at the first Plenary Meeting by Mr Houlin Zhao
Director, TSB

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