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Discover ITU's History

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[You] will be agreeably surprised to discover that the history of an international body devoted to technical matters may sometimes prove as gripping as an adventure story, because it is indeed a fascinating adventure - and one that arouses enthusiasm - to keep always in the forefront of progress in a technical field undergoing constant and rapid development.  (Marcel Thué, 1979)

Established in 1865 to manage the first international telegraph networks, ITU has worked ceaselessly since then to connect the world. Over the years, the Union's mandate has expanded to cover the invention of voice telephony, the development of radiocommunications, the launch of the first communications satellites, and most recently, the telecommunications-based information age. Along the way, ITU's structure and activities have evolved and adapted to meet the needs of this changing mandate.
In this section, you will find facts, figures, dates, lists and articles that highlight the people, places, activities and accomplishments that are part of ITU's history.

For a century and a half since 1865, the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) has been at the centre of advances in communications – from telegraphy through to the modern world of satellites, mobile phones and the Internet. 

​​​ITU works through conferences and meetings, where members collaborate, take decisions, and negotiate the agreements which serve as the basis for the operation of global telecommunication services.