Ian Scales of Telecom TV has dubbed the WTO rules as the final nail in the coffin of ITU occupying Internet and ETNO’s demand of SPNP. Praising Rohan Samarajiva and Hosuk Lee-Makiyama for detonating “The well-timed blast” with their joint publication – Whither global rules for the Internet? The implications of the World Conference on International Telecommunication (WCIT) for international trade – Ian said:
It points out that as part of the WTO agreement 82 countries unilaterally agreed to “open up and refrain from discriminatory measures in a so-called reference paper on basic telecommunications.” Most countries also agreed not to restrict the most common forms of Internet services and signed up to a moratorium on tariffs and fees on data transmissions (known as the WTO e-commerce moratorium).
Those undertakings therefore run smack-bang into proposals such as ETNO’s, as well as Arab and African states’ proposals for re-establishing a version of the old accounting rate regime (designed for telephone call revenue sharing) for Internet applications.
How much weight these legal arguments might have on the deliberations undertaken next week in Dubai is uncertain. But what the run-up to WCIT has shown is the policy and intellectual power inherent in the Internet’s “multi-stakeholder” governance regime. Like the Internet itself it can look messy and disunited when represented on a powerpoint or diagram, but its advantage is not only in there being no single point of failure, but that all of those stakeholders can bring their own particular strengths and perspectives to the table to make a compelling argument when required.
Read full report of Ian Scales.