The Info List - International Telecommunication Union

The International Telecommunication
Union (ITU; French: Union Internationale des Télécommunications (UIT)), originally the International Telegraph Union (French: Union Télégraphique Internationale), is a specialized agency of the United Nations
United Nations
(UN) that is responsible for issues that concern information and communication technologies.[1] It is the oldest among all the 15 specialised agencies of UN. The ITU coordinates the shared global use of the radio spectrum, promotes international cooperation in assigning satellite orbits, works to improve telecommunication infrastructure in the developing world, and assists in the development and coordination of worldwide technical standards. The ITU is active in areas including broadband Internet, latest-generation wireless technologies, aeronautical and maritime navigation, radio astronomy, satellite-based meteorology, convergence in fixed-mobile phone, Internet
access, data, voice, TV broadcasting, and next-generation networks. The agency also organizes worldwide and regional exhibitions and forums, such as ITU Telecom World, bringing together representatives of government and the telecommunications and ICT industry to exchange ideas, knowledge and technology. ITU, based in Geneva, Switzerland, is a member of the United Nations Development Group,[2] and has 12 regional and area offices in the world. ITU has been an intergovernmental public–private partnership organization since its inception. Its membership includes 193 Member States and around 800 public and private sector companies, and academic institutions as well as international and regional telecommunication entities, known as Sector Members and Associates, which undertake most of the work of each Sector.[3]


1 History 2 ITU sectors 3 Legal framework of ITU 4 Leadership 5 Directors and Secretaries-General of ITU 6 Membership

6.1 Regional groupings

7 World Summit on the Information Society 8 World Conference on International Telecommunications
2012 (WCIT-12)

8.1 Changes to international telecommunication regulations 8.2 Proposed changes to the treaty and concerns 8.3 WCIT-12 conference participation

9 See also 10 References

History[edit] ITU was formed on 17 May 1865, in Paris, at the International Telegraph Convention; this makes it one of the oldest intergovernmental organizations in the world.[4][5][6] The International Radiotelegraph Union was unofficially established at the first International Radiotelegraph Convention in 1906. Both were merged into the International Telecommunication
Union in 1932.[7] ITU became a United Nations
United Nations
specialized agency in 1947.[6]

ITU sectors[edit] The ITU comprises three sectors, each managing a different aspect of the matters handled by the Union, as well as ITU Telecom.[8] The sectors were created during the restructuring of ITU at its 1992 Plenipotentiary Conference.[9]

communication (ITU-R) Established in 1927 as the International Radio
Consultative Committee or CCIR (from its French name "Comité consultatif international pour la radio"), this sector manages the international radio-frequency spectrum and satellite orbit resources. In 1992, the CCIR became the ITU-R. Standardisation (ITU-T) Standardisation was the original purpose of ITU since its inception. Established in 1956 as the International Telephone and Telegraph Consultative Committee or CCITT (from its French name "Comité consultatif international téléphonique et télégraphique"), this sector standardizes global telecommunications (except for radio).[9] In 1993, the CCITT became the ITU-T. Development (ITU-D) Established in 1992, this sector helps spread equitable, sustainable and affordable access to information and communication technologies (ICT). ITU Telecom ITU Telecom organizes major events for the world's ICT community. A permanent General Secretariat, headed by the Secretary General, manages the day-to-day work of the Union and its sectors.

Legal framework of ITU[edit] International Telecommunication
Union – 100th anniversary. U.S. stamp, 1965. International Telecommunication
Union – anniversary 125 years. Post of USSR, 1990. International Telecommunications
Union, 1977 Postage Stamp from Libya International Telecommunication
Union – anniversary 150 years. Post of Azerbaijan, 2015. The basic texts of the ITU[10] are adopted by the ITU Plenipotentiary Conference.[11] The founding document of the ITU was the 1865 International Telegraph Convention, which has since been amended several times and is now entitled the "Constitution and Convention of the International Telecommunication
Union". In addition to the Constitution and Convention, the consolidated basic texts include the Optional Protocol on the settlement of disputes, the Decisions, Resolutions and Recommendations in force, as well as the General Rules of Conferences, Assemblies and Meetings of the Union.[citation needed]

Leadership[edit] The ITU is headed by a Secretary-General, a Deputy Secretary General and the three directors of the Bureaux, who are elected to a four-year terms by the member states at the ITU Plenipotentiary Conference.[12] On 23 October 2014 Houlin Zhao
Houlin Zhao
was elected 19th Secretary-General of the ITU at the Plenipotentiary Conference in Busan, Republic of Korea. His four-year mandate started on 1 January 2015, and he was formally inaugurated on 15 January 2015.[13] Houlin Zhao
Houlin Zhao
was reelected at the 2018 Plenipotentiary Conference in Dubai.

Directors and Secretaries-General of ITU[edit]

Directors of ITU[14]


Beginning of term

End of term


Louis Curchod

1 January 1869

24 May 1872


Karl Lendi

24 May 1872

12 January 1873


Louis Curchod

23 February 1873

18 October 1889


August Frey

25 February 1890

28 June 1890


Timotheus Rothen

25 November 1890

11 February 1897


Emil Frey

11 March 1897

1 August 1921


Henri Étienne

2 August 1921

16 December 1927


Joseph Raber

1 February 1928

30 October 1934


Franz von Ernst

1 January 1935

31 December 1949


Secretaries general[14]

Léon Mulatier

1 January 1950

31 December 1953


Marco Aurelio Andrada

1 January 1954

18 June 1958


Gerald C. Gross

1 January 1960

29 October 1965

United States

Manohar Balaji Sarwate

30 October 1965

19 February 1967


Mohamed Ezzedine Mili

20 February 1967

31 December 1982


Richard E. Butler

1 January 1983

31 October 1989


Pekka Tarjanne

1 November 1989

31 January 1999


Yoshio Utsumi

1 February 1999

31 December 2006


Hamadoun Touré

1 January 2007

31 December 2014


Houlin Zhao

1 January 2015



Membership[edit] International Telecommunication
Union member states Membership of ITU is open to only Member States of the United Nations, which may join the Union as Member States, as well as to private organizations like carriers, equipment manufacturers, funding bodies, research and development organizations and international and regional telecommunication organizations, which may join ITU as non-voting Sector Members.[15] There are 193 Member States of the ITU, including all UN member states except the Republic of Palau, plus the Vatican City.[16] The most recent member state to join the ITU is South Sudan, which became a member on 14 July 2011.[17] The Republic of China (Taiwan) was blocked from membership[18] by the People's Republic of China, but nevertheless received a country code, being listed as "Taiwan, China".[19] Palestine was admitted as an observer in 2010.[20]

Regional groupings[edit] Six Regional Offices and seven Area Offices guarantee a regional presence of ITU: Regional Office for CSI (in Moscow) Africa Regional Office in Addis Ababa, with Area Offices in Dakar, Harare and Yaoundé Arab States Regional Office in Cairo Asia-Pacific Regional Office in Bangkok, with Area Office in Jakarta America Regional Office in Brasilia, with Area Offices in Bridgetown, Santiago and Tegucigalpa. The sixth is a Coordination office for Europe Region Europe at ITU Headquarters. Other Regional organizations, connected to ITU, are:

Asia-Pacific Telecommunity (APT) Arab Spectrum Management Group (ASMG) African Telecommunications Union (ATU) European Conference of Postal and Telecommunications
Administrations (CEPT) Inter-American Telecommunication Commission (CITEL) Regional Commonwealth in the Field of Communications (RCC – representing former Soviet republics) World Summit on the Information Society[edit] Main article: World Summit on the Information Society The ITU was one of the UN agencies responsible for convening the World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS), along with UNESCO, UNCTAD and UNDP.[21] The Summit was held as two conferences in 2003 and 2005 in Geneva
and Tunis, respectively, with the aim of bridging the digital divide.

World Conference on International Telecommunications
2012 (WCIT-12)[edit] In December 2012, the ITU facilitated The World Conference on International Telecommunications
2012 (WCIT-12) in Dubai. WCIT-12 was a treaty-level conference to address International Telecommunications Regulations, the international rules for telecommunications, including international tariffs.[22] The previous conference to update the Regulations (ITRs) was held in Melbourne
in 1988.[23] In August 2012, ITU called for a public consultation on a draft document ahead of the conference.[24] It is claimed the proposal would allow government restriction or blocking of information disseminated via the internet and create a global regime of monitoring internet communications, including the demand that those who send and receive information identify themselves. It would also allow governments to shut down the internet if there is the belief that it may interfere in the internal affairs of other states or that information of a sensitive nature might be shared.[25] Telecommunications
ministers from 193 countries attended the conference in Dubai.[25]

Changes to international telecommunication regulations[edit] The current regulatory structure was based on voice telecommunications, when the Internet
was still in its infancy.[26] In 1988, telecommunications operated under regulated monopolies in most countries. As the Internet
has grown, organizations such as ICANN
have come into existence to manage key resources such as Internet
addresses and Domain Names. Some outside the United States believe that the United States exerts too much influence over the governance of the Internet.[27]

Proposed changes to the treaty and concerns[edit] Current proposals look to take into account the prevalence of data communications. Proposals under consideration would establish regulatory oversight by the UN over security, fraud, traffic accounting as well as traffic flow, management of Internet
Domain Names and IP addresses, and other aspects of the Internet
that are currently governed either by community-based approaches such as Regional Internet
Registries, ICANN, or largely national regulatory frameworks.[28] The move by the ITU and some countries has alarmed many within the United States and within the Internet community.[29][30] Indeed, some European telecommunication services have proposed a so-called "sender pays" model that would require sources of Internet
traffic to pay destinations, similar to the way funds are transferred between countries using the telephone.[31][32] The WCIT-12 activity has been attacked by Google, which has characterized it as a threat to the "...free and open internet."[33] On 22 November 2012, the European Parliament
European Parliament
passed a resolution urging member states to prevent ITU WCIT-12 activity that would "negatively impact the internet, its architecture, operations, content and security, business relations, internet governance and the free flow of information online".[34] The resolution asserted that "the ITU [...] is not the appropriate body to assert regulatory authority over the internet".[35] On 5 December 2012, the lower chamber of the United States Congress passed a resolution opposing U.N. governance of the Internet
by a rare unanimous 397–0 vote. The resolution warned that "... proposals have been put forward for consideration at the [WCIT-12] that would fundamentally alter the governance and operation of the Internet
... [and] would attempt to justify increased government control over the Internet
...", and stated that the policy of the United States is "... to promote a global Internet
free from government control and preserve and advance the successful Multistakeholder Model that governs the Internet
today." The same resolution had previously been passed unanimously by the upper chamber of the Congress in September.[36] On 14 December 2012, an amended version of the Regulations was signed by 89 of the 152 countries. Countries that did not sign included the United States, Japan, Canada, Germany, New Zealand, India and the United Kingdom. The head of the U.S. delegation, Terry Kramer, said "We cannot support a treaty that is not supportive of the multistakeholder model of Internet governance".[37][38][39] The disagreement appeared to be over some language in the revised ITRs referring to ITU roles in addressing unsolicited bulk communications, network security, and a resolution on Internet
governance that called for government participation in Internet
topics at various ITU forums.[40] Despite the significant number countries not signing, the ITU organisation came out with a press release: "New global telecoms treaty agreed in Dubai".

WCIT-12 conference participation[edit] The conference itself was managed by the International Telecommunication
Union (ITU). While certain parts of civil society and industry were able to advise and observe, active participation was restricted to member states.[41] The Electronic Frontier Foundation expressed concern at this, calling for a more transparent multi-stakeholder process.[42] Some leaked contributions can be found on the wcitleaks.org web site. Google-affiliated researchers have suggested that the ITU should completely reform its processes to align itself with the openness and participation of other multistakeholder organizations concerned with the Internet.[43]

See also[edit] AfriNIC American Registry for Internet Numbers
American Registry for Internet Numbers
(ARIN) Child Online Protection (COP) Federal Communications Commission (FCC) H.331 ICANN International Amateur Radio
Union Internet
Engineering Task Force Internet
Governance Forum Internet
Society ITU Radiocommunication Sector (ITU-R) ITU Telecommunication
Development Sector (ITU-D) ITU Telecommunication
Standardization Sector (ITU-T) ITU-R Recommendations ITU-T Recommendations Latin America and Caribbean Network Information Centre
Latin America and Caribbean Network Information Centre
(LACNIC) RIPE Working Group on Internet Governance (WGIG) World Information Society Day X.509 References[edit]

^ International Telecommunication

^ "UNDG Members". Undg.org. Archived from the original on 11 May 2011. Retrieved 15 May 2012..mw-parser-output cite.citation font-style:inherit .mw-parser-output .citation q quotes:"""""""'""'" .mw-parser-output .citation .cs1-lock-free a background:url("//upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/6/65/Lock-green.svg/9px-Lock-green.svg.png")no-repeat;background-position:right .1em center .mw-parser-output .citation .cs1-lock-limited a,.mw-parser-output .citation .cs1-lock-registration a background:url("//upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/d/d6/Lock-gray-alt-2.svg/9px-Lock-gray-alt-2.svg.png")no-repeat;background-position:right .1em center .mw-parser-output .citation .cs1-lock-subscription a background:url("//upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/a/aa/Lock-red-alt-2.svg/9px-Lock-red-alt-2.svg.png")no-repeat;background-position:right .1em center .mw-parser-output .cs1-subscription,.mw-parser-output .cs1-registration color:#555 .mw-parser-output .cs1-subscription span,.mw-parser-output .cs1-registration span border-bottom:1px dotted;cursor:help .mw-parser-output .cs1-ws-icon a background:url("//upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/4/4c/Wikisource-logo.svg/12px-Wikisource-logo.svg.png")no-repeat;background-position:right .1em center .mw-parser-output code.cs1-code color:inherit;background:inherit;border:inherit;padding:inherit .mw-parser-output .cs1-hidden-error display:none;font-size:100% .mw-parser-output .cs1-visible-error font-size:100% .mw-parser-output .cs1-maint display:none;color:#33aa33;margin-left:0.3em .mw-parser-output .cs1-subscription,.mw-parser-output .cs1-registration,.mw-parser-output .cs1-format font-size:95% .mw-parser-output .cs1-kern-left,.mw-parser-output .cs1-kern-wl-left padding-left:0.2em .mw-parser-output .cs1-kern-right,.mw-parser-output .cs1-kern-wl-right padding-right:0.2em

^ "About ITU". International Telecommunication
Union. Retrieved 30 January 2018.

^ "50th anniversary of World Telecommunication
& Information Society Day, 17 May 2019". International Telecommunication
Union. Retrieved 16 May 2019. The Day marks the founding of ITU on 17 May 1865 when the first International Telegraph Convention was signed in Paris.

^ Norman A. Graham; Robert S. Jordan (22 October 2013). The International Civil Service: Changing Role and Concepts. Elsevier. p. 105. ISBN 978-1-4831-4799-4.

^ a b Carl Malamud (1992). Exploring the Internet: A Technical Travelogue. Carl Malamud. p. 384. ISBN 978-0-13-296898-0.

^ ICAO and the International Telecommunication
Union – ICAO official website

^ "Sector Members, Associates and Academia". ITU. Retrieved 15 May 2014.

^ a b Deutsches Institut für Normung (1998). An Introduction to Standards and Standardisation. Beuth Verlag. p. 266. ISBN 9783410141495. Retrieved 15 May 2014.

^ "Basic texts of the International Telecommunication
Union". Itu.int. Retrieved 15 May 2012.

^ PP10contributions. "2010 Plenipotentiary Conference". Itu.int. Retrieved 15 May 2012.

^ Darpan, Pratiyogita (27 January 2017). Pratiyogita Darpan. Pratiyogita Darpan.

^ "ITU Management team inauguration on 15 January 2015". Retrieved 25 March 2015.

^ a b "Past and Present Senior Officials". ITU. Retrieved 5 November 2018.

^ "Constitution of ITU: Chapter I – Basic Provisions". Retrieved 14 April 2013.

^ "International Telecommunication
Union Member States". International Telecommunication
Union. Retrieved 18 July 2013.

^ New Country, New Number – Country code 211 officially assigned to South Sudan ITU Pressroom, 14 July 2011

^ Lin, Chun Hung (2004). "ITU and the Republic of China". digitalcommons. Academic Journals of GGU Law. Retrieved 2 January 2017.

^ "ITU-T : International Numbering Resources : National Numbering Plans : China, Taiwan". Itu.int. 26 January 2007. Retrieved 15 May 2012.

^ "Palestine ITU status". Itu.int. 20 October 2010. Archived from the original on 7 June 2011. Retrieved 15 May 2012.

^ "World Summit on the Information Society". itu.int. Retrieved 11 October 2012.

^ "World Conference on International Telecommunications
2012". Itu.int. Retrieved 12 October 2012.

^ "International Telecommunication
Regulations" (PDF). Retrieved 12 October 2012.

^ "ITU opens public consultation on internet regulation treaty". 16 August 2012. Retrieved 30 November 2012.

^ a b " United Nations
United Nations
wants control of web kill switch". news.com.au. 12 November 2012. Retrieved 30 November 2012.

^ Global Internet

^ "Russia calls for internet revolution". Indrus.in. 29 May 2012. Retrieved 12 October 2012.

^ Internet
Society. International Telecommunication

^ Mcdowell, Robert M. (21 February 2012). "Robert McDowell:The U.N. Threat to Internet
Freedom". The Wall Street Journal. Retrieved 12 October 2012.

^ L. Gordon Crovitz (17 June 2012). "Crovitz: The U.N.'s Internet Power Grab". The Wall Street Journal. Retrieved 12 October 2012.

^ McCullagh, Declan (7 June 2012). "CNET:U.N. could tax U.S.-based Web sites, leaked docs show". CNET. Retrieved 12 October 2012.

^ Trivedi, Shamik (28 June 2012). "For Apple and Google, is an Unavoidable U.N. 'Tax' Coming?". Tax Notes Today – 2012 TNT 126-5.

^ " Google
attacks UN net conference". BBC News. 21 November 2012. Retrieved 21 November 2012.

^ " European Parliament
European Parliament
warns against UN internet control". BBC News. 22 November 2012. Retrieved 23 November 2012.

^ " European Parliament
European Parliament
resolution on the forthcoming World Conference on International Telecommunications
(WCIT-12) of the International Telecommunication
Union, and the possible expansion of the scope of international telecommunication regulations". 22 November 2012. Retrieved 23 November 2012.

^ "House approves resolution to keep Internet
control out of UN hands". The Hill. 5 December 2012.

^ Pfanner, Eric (14 December 2012). "U.S. Rejects Telecommunications Treaty". The New York Times. p. B1.

^ "Japan, West snub rules for Net curbs". The Japan Times. Jiji Press, Associated Press. 16 December 2012. Archived from the original on 21 December 2019.

^ "WCIT-12 Final Acts Signatories". International Telecommunication Union. Retrieved 16 December 2012.

^ Siy, Sherwin (14 December 2012). "On the Results at the WCIT". Public Knowledge. Retrieved on 28 April 2014.

^ "Convention of the ITU". Itu.int. Retrieved 12 October 2012.

^ "EFF Joins Coalition Denouncing Secretive WCIT Planning Process". Eff.org. 17 May 2012. Retrieved 12 October 2012.

^ "Ryan/Glick: The ITU Treaty
Negotiations: A Call for Openness and Participation". Ssrn.com. SSRN 2077095. Missing or empty |url= (help); |access-date= requires |url= (help)

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