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[FYI] ITU addresses digital convergence

[Mir scheint, als ob die ITU sich eine Rolle als Dachverband aller 
Oberregulierer des Internet erkaempfen moechte.               --AHH]

CORDIS RTD-NEWS/© European Communities, 2000.  

Record Control Number: 14517  

Date: 2000-03-17  

Category: Miscellaneous  

General Information:  

A Reform Advisory Panel, set up by the International 
Telecommunications Union (ITU) Secretary-General, Yoshio Utsumi, to 
advise on the future of the ITU, has recommended that the 
international organisation should become a public/private partnership 
to preserve and strengthen its credibility.  

Meeting for the first time at ITU headquarters in Geneva, 
Switzerland, the 27-member panel, comprising high-level government 
and industry representatives, stated the new ITU should reflect 
today's competitive telecommunications marketplace where the private 
sector takes the lead while regulators act as arbitrators for the 
wider public interest. Set up in 1865, the ITU is an international 
organisation within which governments and the private sector 
coordinate global telecom networks and services.  

'Achieving the goal of transforming our organisation into one which 
we can serve the membership well in the changing telecommunications 
environment is our aim,' said Mr Utsumi.  

The international importance of the ITU was also emphasised by the 
Panel. Marc Furrer, director of Swiss company OFCOM, argued in favour 
of ITU providing a global forum for regulators to meet and discuss 
issues of mutual concerns. He said that he could easily meet his 
counterparts in the European Union, but doing so in Asia was more 

The Panel also recommended that the ITU act as a policy think-tank 
for collecting best-practice regulatory policies, and a centre for 
regulatory expertise. ITU's role in dispute settlement could also be 
expanded, as members considered the Union well placed to provide 
governments and the private sector with a neutral and effective 
mechanism to resolve international disputes.  

ITU's role in Internet governance was high on the reform agenda. The 
Internet is branching into telecommunications, and it was questioned 
whether the Internet should continue to evolve without formal 
structure or government regulation as it has in the past.  

In the Information Society, 'ITU is bound to have a role but it must 
dramatically change,' said Internet Society chief executive Donald 
Heath. However there was agreement that the ITU should not intervene 
on issues outside its core expertise such as content.  

The Panel felt the management of the ITU should be left to the 
Secretary-General, whose remit should be increased to include greater 
responsibility for the operation of the Union. It was felt that a new 
process for the nomination and approval of senior officials needs to 
be put in place.  

The Panel's recommendations will be submitted to the next meeting of 
the ITU working group on reform which meets in April. The EU is 
represented on the Panel by Director General of the Information 
Society DG Robert Verrue.  

Data Source Provider: ITU  

Document Reference: Based on ITU press release  

Subject Index Codes: Information Processing, Information Systems  

Contact Person:  

Further information on the ITU is available at: http://www.itu.int/