[council] ITU debate
Forwarded to Council on request of Richard Hill, ITU
----- Original Message -----
From: Hill, Richard
Sent: 29 April 2002 09:51
I would appreciate it if this message could be posted.
Grant Forsyth has stated at: http://www.dnso.org/clubpublic/council/Arc10/msg00152.html
"There are some fundamental differences about the ITU and the environment/market that existed at the time the ITU was set up and that which the Internet exists and operates in now. When the ITU was set up, most telephone companies were either state owned, mostly as part of the government post office, or were closely government regulated legislated monopolies."
Actually, the ITU-T was set up in 1865, by what we would now call the OECD countries, to deal with telegraphy. See:
As stated there, "Today, some 135 years later, the reasons which led to the establishment of ITU still apply, and the fundamental objectives of the organization remain basically unchanged."
Grant confuses the long-term history of ITU with the immediate post-war situation. It is true that in the 1950's, and 60's, the predecessor of ITU-T (then called CCITT) was heavily influenced by state-owned monopolies. Since then, most countries have liberalized and privatized telecommunications and new players have become active in ITU-T. There have been very significant changes in ITU's operating methods during the past 20 years, precisely because of the big changes in the industry.
"While governments continue to hold voting member status in the ITU, most of the telecommunications industry and certainly the users of telecommunications - from the largest multinationals to the individual residential consumer - have no involvement, representation on or receive direct benefits from, the ITU. "
There are 650 Sector Members (non-government members) of ITU. The full list can be found at:
It includes most of the major players in information technology and telecommunications, including companies such as AOL Time-Warner, Cisco, Compaq, Intel, and Sun, as well as user associations and non-profit organizations such as the Red Cross. While I cannot speak on their behalf, I presume that they pay membership fees and participate in the ITU's work because they believe that they receive a benefit from it.
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