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Established by Council in 1999, ITUís New Initiatives Programme is intended as a seedbed for cultivating research on emerging issues of a cross-sectoral nature. The Programme aims to address topics of urgent importance to the broader telecommunications community, focusing particularly on regulatory and policy-making aspects. Implications for ITUís three Sectors are considered, with a view to possible inclusion of activities relating to each topic in the regular work programme of the Union. The New Initiatives Programme comprises four main elements: Strategic Planning Workshops, Telecommunication Case Studies, Internet Policy and Web Publishing.

Strategic Planning Workshops

These top-level meetings bring together recognized experts from around the world to discuss specific topics of industry concern. During the year 2000, workshops were held on IP Telephony and Fixed-Mobile Interconnection.

The IP Telephony workshop served as the basis for preparations for 2001ís World Telecommunication Policy Forum on the implications of delivering telephony services over IP networks.

The workshop on Fixed-Mobile Interconnection, meanwhile, examined the marketís failure to efficiently address the cost of terminating calls between fixed and mobile networks. In many cases, interconnection rates between these networks do not reflect underlying costs, resulting in high call charges. The workshop encouraged ITU to create a database of fixed-mobile retail and interconnection rates, with a view to increasing cost transparency.

Telecommunication Case Studies

To support and enhance the Workshop programme, country case studies are regularly commissioned to examine how individual Member States have handled particular issues. In addition to case studies on IP Telephony and Fixed-Mobile Interconnection, case study research was initiated on Internet diffusion, the regulatory implications of broadband technologies, and the licensing of third generation mobile services.

Internet Policy

One of the aims of ITUís New Initiatives Programme is to maintain the Unionís relevance and leadership in an era of volatile technological change and rapidly evolving operating conditions. As such, the development of the Internet and the opportunities and challenges it presents for ITU Members has been a major focus of activity. In 2000, the Unionís Strategy and Policy Unit published its latest ITU Internet Report, this time on the topic of IP Telephony.

Web Publishing

Dedicated websites are created for each Strategic Planning Workshop topic, providing links to background material and case studies. In 2000, development of sites covering IP Telephony and Fixed-Mobile Interconnection was supplemented by the creation of themed websites on ITU and the Information Society, and on ENUM, a new mapping protocol designed to foster smooth interconnection between the Internet and E.164 PSTN phone numbers.

While the New Initiatives Programme receives limited funding from the ITU budget, the expansion of activities during 2000 was facilitated by voluntary contributions, notably from Japan and the Republic of Korea.



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