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ITRs lacks of global consensus

  • The International Telecommunication Regulations (ITRs) was signed in 2012 and did not obtain global consensus.
  • ITU established an Expert Group (EG-ITR) to analyze the status of the ITRs and organize the next plenipotentiary Conference of 2018.

Last week the International Telecommunications Union (ITU) began to review in Geneva (Switzerland) the status of the International Telecommunication Regulations (ITRs) global treaty, which was broadly discussed during its signature in 2012 until nowadays.

The conflict came up in 2012 World Telecommunication Conference (WCIT) in Dubai, due to the opposing views on the role that the ITU should have in this new digital ecosystem as Internet expands more and more.

The outcome was that 89 Member States out of 193 signed this global telecommunications treaty and agreed on focusing on facilitating global interconnection and interoperability of information and communication services. Today we are in a complex situation in which there are two treaties in force, the original one of 1988 and reviewed treaty of 2012.

During last week’s discussion in Geneva we saw the same opposing views as we lived in Dubai. This comes as the Council of the ITU established a few months ago an Expert Group (EG-ITR) to analyze the status of the ITRs and organize the next plenipotentiary Conference of 2018 in order to review again the ITR and reach a wider consensus.

Russia, argued last week its reasons why some countries did not agreed on including Internet issues under ITRs. Regarding Western countries, they do not want to repeat the situation occurred in Dubai that could lead to have a third treaty and consequently an even greater international division.

Several European countries like Czech Republic, United Kingdom, Denmark or Netherlands, amongst others highlighted the uncertainty that would create a new WCIT addressing again Internet issues and having a negative impact on investments.

What really matters is to bring connectivity to everyone. "Development goes with investments, not regulation", pointed out the German delegation. US was even more explicit stating that the ITR was neither necessary nor convenient.

The fact is that nowadays there is no conflicts in our markets resulting from the application or non-application of the ITRs. So, why organizing a new Conference in the absence of a broaden consensus?

 

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Lourdes Tejedor / @madrid2day

Telefónica Public Policy & Telefónica España Regulatory teams