WCIT Archives — Page 3 of 3


Mr Luigi Gambardella of ETNO responded to one of my tweets and asked me to relook at their proposal. I did (CWG-WCIT12/C-109 of 6 June 2012). On the face, it appears that they are concerned about broadband quality of service, a real problem that we have been working on since 2007. But then they go off the rails. The solution to QoS is supposedly treaty-level language mandating that “Member States shall facilitate the development of international IP interconnections providing both best effort delivery and end to end quality of service delivery,” and that “Operating Agencies shall endeavour to provide sufficient telecommunications facilities to meet requirements of and demand for international telecommunication services.
There are many arguments that can be made against the ETNO proposal to import the international accounting-rate regime from voice telephony to the Internet. Here as a PDF is an argument about its impracticality from ISOC. ISOC also agrees with my main point that the ETNO proposals will result in the marginalization and exclusion of the developing countries, especially their poor who are just beginning to join the Internet economy: Because the bilateral model of sending-party-network-pays or “sender pays” that is common in traditional telephony or mobile-settlement systems does not readily accommodate the Internet’s multi-party transit network system, it cannot be mapped to the Internet as we know it. Simply said, retro-fitting a “sender pays” settlement regime to the Internet is not possible without extensive changes to the infrastructure of the global Internet. In addition, the “sender pays” model could adversely impact the technical and commercial environment in developing economies that need to grow their networks.
I’ve been becoming increasingly concerned about the need to improve the international backhaul segment of Internet connectivity. There is plenty of good news like the cables landing along the east coast of Africa. But now there is bad news too. The European telcos have ganged up with ITU, trying to reimpose the discredited settlements regime on the Internet. So it looks like we’ll have to shift the focus from promoting good things to preventing bad things I was asked to talk about high-priority areas for ICT policy research at the recently concluded CPRafrica 2012/CPRsouth7 conference in Mauritius.
The ITU homepage announces the death of former Secretary General (1983-89) Richard Butler. Dick Butler had many achievements to his credit, the most well known being the successful outcome of the crucial and difficult World Administrative Telephone and Telegraph Conference (WATTC) held in Melbourne in 1988 at which new rules governing the conduct of international telecommunications services were approved in a fraught environment. There is value in looking at that achievement today, especially in light of the upcoming WCIT in Dubai, that will seek to revisit the International Telecommunication Regulations adopted in Melbourne during Dick Butler’s watch. What we’d like to emphasize is that Dick Butler was a forward looking man. Having been in the ITU for over two decades prior to becoming Secretary General, he could have acted to reinforce the existing dysfunctional status quo.
Research on explosive developments in the ICT field in recent times shows that the ITU was a marginal actor. They had to be dragged kicking and screaming to support the market liberalization processes that yielded innovation and growth. Even in the area of standardization, they could not lead from the front. Entities such as the IEEE were responsible for most of the critical innovations. Now it appears that the ITU Secretary General, in alliance with Vladimir Putin, is trying to take over the Internet: The problem, Gross said, is that participation will be limited to representatives of national governments, not telecoms players, and a number of proposals have been put forth that will put the internet under much more restrictive regulation than it is now.