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World Conference on International Telecommunications (#WCIT12) myth busting - presented by ITU to civil society stakeholders during the WCIT12 global briefing session held at ITU HQ on 9 October, 15:00-16:30.
Why the ITRs are important The International Telecommunication Regulations (ITRs): Establish general principles on the provision and operation of international telecoms Facilitate global interconnection and interoperability Underpin harmonious development and efficient operation of technical facilities Promote efficiency, usefulness, and availability of international telecommunication services Treaty-level provisions are required for international networks and services The ITRs underpin how we communicate with each other by phone or computer, with voice, video or data, and across the globe.
What is in the ITRs? • Article 1: Purpose • Article 2: Definitions • Article 3: Right to communicate at good technical quality; countries to coordinate their infrastructure • Article 4: International telecom services to be made available to the public • Article 5: Priority to be given to emergency communications • Article 6: Charges for services, and accounting rates between carriers • Article 7: Suspension of services when “dangerous for national security, or contrary to national laws, public order or decency.” • Article 8: ITU to gather and circulate information on suspended services • Article 9: Special arrangements not affecting all countries • Article 10: Entry into force; reservations
The ITRs coordinate, countries implement • Only governments can implement the ITRs, through national legislation or regulation • There have been NO proposals for a global body to impose implementation of the ITRs
The ITRs need to be revised The current version of the ITRs has remained unchanged since 1988. ITRs1988 (came into 2012 force in 1990) In 1988, there were very few countries with a liberalized market. Most operators were a monopoly regime, under government or state control
The ITRs need to be revised Shift from fixed to mobile, from voice to data as the drivers of traffic and main sources of revenue The international Increased use of As technology evolves, telecom IP-enabled governments are environment has infrastructure and evaluating their policy changed greatly in applications mean and regulatory technology and opportunities and approaches to ensure policy. It continues challenges an enabling to evolve rapidly for the ICT sector environment
The preparatory process for WCIT-12 Council Working Group to Prepare for the WCIT 12 (CWG-WCIT12) held three meetings in 2010, two in 2011, and three in 2012 (in February, April and June) Regional preparatory meetings were held in the Asia-Pacific, Africa, Arab region, RCC (CIS Countries), Europe, and Americas – all open also to Sector Members 124 input documents have been submitted by the ITU membership; over 450 proposals under consideration
The preparatory process for WCIT-12 Wide consultations on the issues with: • ITU Member States (193) • Private-sector members of ITU (567) • Associates and academic members of ITU (217) • Civil society – through such venues as the WSIS Forum On the ITU website: • WCIT Background Briefs and FAQs (www.itu.int/en/wcit-12/ Pages/WCIT-backgroundbriefs.aspx) • Site for anyone to post opinion or material on WCIT-12 (www.itu.int/en/wcit-12/Pages/public.aspx)
Proposals made during preparatory process Human right to communication Security in the use of ICTsincluding fair & equitable accessuse including privacy and preventing spam of networks & services Protection of critical national resources Including communication networks International Charging and accounting frameworks - including taxation (Market-based costing, Llberalization of international gateways, Transparency obligations on ROAs) Interconnection and interoperability Quality of Service Convergence Enforcement measures (including possible binding effect of certain ITU Recommendations)
Key Issues What core principles should guide discussions? Do some provisions belong elsewhere? (e.g. ITU Constitution/Convention, ITU-T Recommendations) What provisions should be added to cover new issues?
Some key proposals Mobile roaming Misuse and fraud Taxation Transparency of routing New general principles on economic issues Allowing differentiated traffic management Cooperation on cybersecurity Cooperation to combat spam Energy efficiency Accessibility All to be implemented by national authorities
Proposals: Mobile Roaming Helping to prevent “bill shock” Transparency of prices for users Price levels could be capped Draft ITU-T Recommendation D.98 OECD Recommendations
Proposals: Misuse and Fraud Preventing misuse/hijacking of numbering resources According to GSMA, such misuse is a major factor in fraud against mobile networks and their customers It is used for fraudulent and artificial inflation of traffic Combating fraud Identifying the origin of communications and sending this information to the receiver
Proposals: Taxation Clarify existing provision to prevent international double taxation (carriers being taxed twice for the same asset or service because it operates in two jurisdictions) Prevent or discourage taxation of incoming international calls (A delicate issue because there is a trade-off between raising revenue and encouraging the use of telecommunications)
Proposals: new general principles Price transparency Cost orientation, presumably cost intended to include: • Return on investment (including dividends to stock owners) • Taxes • Creation of reserves for future investments • Risk premiums • Etc.
Proposals: new general principles • Foster investment in high-bandwidth infrastructure Adequate return on investment in infrastructure Compensation for traffic carried Compensation for traffic terminated • No proposals to create new international regulatory agencies or mechanisms • Proposals that national authorities should implement the ITRs First, ratification of new ITRs in accordance with national procedures, then, transposition into national laws and regulations • Possibly, new or revised ITU-T Recommendations
1/13Myth: The mandate of ITU is restricted to telephony FACTS: • Many ITU standards (including ones under development) relate to data networks • The first standardized data network was ITU’s X.25, developed in 1976, widely used until the 1990s and still used for specialized networks • X.25 is a packet-switched, connection-oriented architecture • End-user data network access devices (modems, xDSL) have long been based on ITU standards • The ITU development sector activities cover all aspects of telecommunications, including in particular data networks • The ITU radio sector activities cover all aspects of radio communications, including satellites
2/13Myth: ITU’s scope does not include the Internet FACT: The ITU Constitution defines telecommunications as: “Any transmission, emission or reception of signs, signals, writing, images and sounds or intelligence of any nature by wire, radio, optical or other electromagnetic systems.” Many consider that this includes communications via the Internet, which runs on telecom infrastructure
3/13 Myth: WCIT is about ITU or the UN extending their mandate so as to control the InternetFACTS: • Numerous ITU Resolutions, (e.g. 101, 102, and 133) specify ITU’s mandate with respect to the Internet • Numerous ITU-T Recommendations relate to the Internet, including on combating spam • WCIT’s main preparatory document includes NO proposals related to ITU control of Internet domain names or IP addresses • Some older proposals referred to IP addresses • Some current proposals relate to routing (including of IP traffic) and to billing (including of IP traffic)
4/13Myth: WCIT may extend the scope of ITU to include charging and accounting for Internet traffic FACTS: • All Internet traffic moves under Art. 9 of the ITRs • An existing ITU-T Recommendation, and its Supplement, concern charging and accounting for the Internet • Some proposals could affect the way costs are shared between users and suppliers
5/13 Myth: WCIT is about imposing censorshipFACTS: • The ITU Constitution (Art. 34) gives Member States the right to cut off, in accordance with national laws, any private telecommunications which may appear dangerous to the security of the State or contrary to its laws, to public order or to decency • The ITRs cannot override or conflict with the Constitution • There is a proposal to ensure that interception and monitoring of international telecommunications be subject to due process authorized in accordance with national laws • Provisions on transparency of routing and call identification might facilitate some types of oversight by governments
6/13Myth: Proposals related to security could hinder the free flow of information FACTS: • There are proposals to: - encourage cooperation to combat spam - improve network security and the protection of privacy • In Article 33 of ITU’s Constitution, Member States recognize the right of the public to correspond through international telecommunications • Most countries already have measures to e.g. protect copyright owners, prevent defamation, etc. Such measures are permitted by Article 34 of the ITU’s Constitution • The ITRs cannot contradict the Constitution
7/13Myth: Consumer interests could be harmed by WCIT FACTS: There are proposals to: • limit roaming prices - based on costs, prices in the visited country, or prices in the home country • ensure transparency of prices, wholesale and retail, in general and for roaming • encourage cost-based pricing • ensure transmission of calling party identifiers • combat fraud, especially from misuse of telephone numbers • improve access for people with disabilities
8/13Myth: Proposals to give binding force to certain ITU-T Recommendations are unprecedentedFACTS: • Many Recommendations (standards) were widely considered to be binding prior to 1988 • In other fields, it is common for laws or regulations to give binding force to standards developed by private organizations: electricity, plumbing, accounting, etc. • Recommendations can only be made mandatory if a national authority makes them so
9/13 Myth: WCIT is a top-down processFACTS: • The ITU Secretariat serves the wishes of the membership. All discussions are based on proposals from ITU Member States • There have been wide consultations, including beyond the ITU membership • 124 input documents were submitted to the WCIT preparatory process. After discussion, over 450 individual proposals were retained for Member States to use when preparing their proposals • Countries can compose their delegations at WCIT-12 as they wish. They usually include ITU Sector Members, and may include any other organization, whether an ITU member or not
10/13Myth: The WCIT process is not open or transparentFACTS: • All ITU members have full access to all WCIT documents and audiocasts of discussions • Member States are expected and encouraged to consult their citizens and give them access to WCIT documents, preferably in the national language • ITU offers information on its website, and a space for any stakeholder to add comments • The conference plenary sessions and some committee meetings will be open to the public (to be formally decided on the opening day)
11/13Myth: WCIT could be dominated by authoritarian countries FACTS: • All of the ITU’s 193 Member States have equal rights: the principle is one nation, one vote • No proposal will be accepted unless it has wide support • Decisions can be made by majority vote, but this is very unusual: decisions are usually made by consensus • Each country is free to refuse to sign or to ratify the finally agreed text from WCIT-12
12/13 Myth: WCIT could result in decisions that are bad for developing countriesFACTS: • Many ITU Member States are developing countries, and their representatives are well informed and well prepared to represent the interests of their citizens • One of ITU’s top priorities is to spread connectivity to every community – especially broadband. WCIT-12 is an opportunity to establish a framework to support this into the future
13/13 Myth: There has been a spontaneous wave of protest against WCITFACTS: • Organized lobbying groups have been active • Many articles concerning WCIT repeat the same misinformation, at times in the same words • Documents have been leaked selectively • Documents are described as concerning WCIT, when in fact they have no formal relation to WCIT • There are many articles and other comments giving a balanced and positive view
Expectations for WCIT-12 WCIT-12 is a key opportunity to increase positive collaboration among countries It can help countries reach new levels of economic and social development through better ICT services The aim is to make the ITRs relevant and valuable to all stakeholders, so that they address and alleviate many current concerns It is an opportunity – not to be missed - to create a pathway to a sustainable and inclusive global communication system of the future
Useful links WCIT-12 website: http://www.itu.int/en/wcit-12/Pages/default.aspx WCIT Background Briefs and FAQs: http://www.itu.int/en/wcit-12/Pages/WCIT-backgroundbriefs.aspx ITU Council working group CWG-WCIT12: http://www.itu.int/council/groups/cwg-wcit12/index.html Draft of the future ITRs, and site for public comments: http://www.itu.int/en/wcit-12/Pages/public.aspx