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World Administrative Telegraph and Telephone Conference (Melbourne, 1988)
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http://handle.itu.int/11.1004/020.1000/4.33

WATTC-88

World Administrative Telegraph and Telephone Conference (Melbourne, 1988)

28 November - 9 December 1988 - Melbourne, Australia

The 1988 Melbourne World Administrative Telegraph and Telephone Conference (WATTC) was greatly influenced by the increasingly strong trend towards privatization, liberalization and convergence of services. As a consequence, negotiations were difficult. However, a compromise text was finally agreed upon. The resulting text was called the International Telecommunication Regulations (ITRs) and it replaced both the Telegraph Regulations and the Telephone Regulations, thus implicitly recognizing the decreased importance of telegraphy.

While the ITRs were a compromise at the time, they turn out, in retrospect, to have been instrumental in facilitating continuing privatization and liberalization of telecommunications markets. These trends were further facilitated by agreements made in the Global Agreement on Trade in Services in 1994 (Annex on Telecommunications) and in 1996 (Reference Paper on Basic Telecommunications Services).

The ITRs contained a key provision in Article 9, Special Arrangements. For the first time private operators were explicitly allowed to use leased lines to provide services, including data services. This provision facilitated the expansion of IP-based networks and the services popularly referred to as the Internet.

The Morris worm, or Internet worm of 2 November 1988, was one of the first computer worms distributed via the Internet and was certainly the first worm to gain significant mainstream media attention. When the WATTC was convened on 28 November, this worm was still a topic of concern. Although the worm itself was not explicitly mentioned in the ITRs, the “avoidance of technical harm” provision of Article 9 is generally considered to have been inspired by a desire to take steps that would prevent a reoccurrence of problems of this type. This is possibly the first cybersecurity treaty provision. A similar provision was subsequently added to what is now Article 42 of the ITU Convention.

The WATTC also adopted a number of Resolutions and Recommendations and one Opinion which complemented the provisions of the ITRs.

​Text contributed by Richard Hill (ITU/TSB) and Tony Rutkowski (WATTC’88 participant)
Use the tabs below to explore the different publications, documents, and resources related to this event. The History of ITU Portal uses Persistent Identifiers for its digitized documents. To copy a Persistent ID, hover the cursor over the document link and then right-click on it.
Final Acts of WATTC-88 (Melbourne, 1988)(English)download PDF PDF (acrobat)
Actes finales de la CAMTT-88 (Melbourne, 1998)(French)download PDF PDF (acrobat)
Actas Finales de la CAMTT-88 (Melbourne, 1988)(Spanish)download PDF PDF (acrobat)
Final Acts of WATTC-88 (Melbourne, 1988)(Arabic)download PDF PDF (acrobat)
Final Acts of WATTC-88 (Melbourne, 1988)(Chinese)download PDF PDF (acrobat)
Final Acts of WATTC-88 (Melbourne, 1988)(Russian)download PDF PDF (acrobat)
Final List of Documents of WATTC-88 (Melbourne, 1988)(English)download PDF PDF (acrobat)
Document No. 1-128(English)download PDF PDF (acrobat)
Liste finale des documents de la CAMTT-88 (Melbourne, 1988)(French)download PDF PDF (acrobat)
Document No. 1-128(French)download PDF PDF (acrobat)
Lista Finale de Documentos de la CAMTT-88 (Melbourne, 1988)(Spanish)download PDF PDF (acrobat)
Documentos No. 1-128(Spanish)download PDF PDF (acrobat)

Chairman

Dr. P.S. Wilenski (Australia)

Countries participating

114

List of participants

List of Participants of WATTC-88 (Geneva, 1988) [English/French/Spanish](Multilingual)download PDF PDF (acrobat)

Further Reading

Butler, R.E. "Editorial: The CCITT Plenary and WATTC." Telecommunication Journal 56, no. 3 (1989): 139-140.(English)download PDF PDF (acrobat)
"Union Activities: International Telecommunications Regulations signed in Melbourne." Telecommunication Journal 56, no. 3 (1989): 141-143.(English)download PDF PDF (acrobat)

Library Catalogue

Link to the Library Catalogue (Melbourne, 1988)(Multilingual) URL
YearConference NameAcronymConference TypePlace

1879

International Telegraph Conference (London, 1879)

Telegraph and Telephone ConferenceLondon

1885

International Telegraph Conference (Berlin, 1885)

Telegraph and Telephone ConferenceBerlin

1890

International Telegraph Conference (Paris, 1890)

Telegraph and Telephone ConferenceParis

1896

International Telegraph Conference (Budapest, 1896)

Telegraph and Telephone ConferenceBudapest

1903

International Telegraph Conference (London, 1903)

Telegraph and Telephone ConferenceLondon

1908

International Telegraph Conference (Lisbon, 1908)

Telegraph and Telephone ConferenceLisbon

1925

International Telegraph Conference (Paris, 1925)

Telegraph and Telephone ConferenceParis

1928

International Telegraph Conference (Brussels, 1928)

Telegraph and Telephone ConferenceBrussels

1938

International Telegraph and Telephone Conference (Cairo, 1938)

Telegraph and Telephone ConferenceCairo

1949

International Telegraph and Telephone Conference (Paris, 1949)

Telegraph and Telephone ConferenceParis

1958

Administrative Telegraph and Telephone Conference (Geneva, 1958)

Telegraph and Telephone ConferenceGeneva

1973

World Administrative Telegraph and Telephone Conference (Geneva, 1973)

WATTC-73Telegraph and Telephone ConferenceGeneva

1988

World Administrative Telegraph and Telephone Conference (Melbourne, 1988)

WATTC-88Telegraph and Telephone ConferenceMelbourne