At the close of day three of the conference, the negotiations are in full swing as all the issues are introduced and discussed both in formal meetings and a host of bilateral and regional meetings. Thus far, the meeting and discussion is going as expected and there continues to be a considerable divergence of views among countries. Below is a quick update and analysis from the ISOC team attending the WCIT.
On Tuesday and Wednesday (4th-5th), countries and regions were given the opportunity to introduce their proposals on the various issues. This is likely to go on for a few more days until everyone has a chance to be heard and can, to the extent possible, begin to move toward consensus. As expected, there is considerable debate over some key issues including:
- Recognized Operating Agency vs. Operating Agency (ROA/OA) – do the ITRs apply to ROAs or OAs?
- ICTs – do the ITRs apply to ICTs and what is ICT?
- Voluntary nature of ITU-T Recommendations
- Accounting and Charging Rates
- International Connectivity costs
- Quality of Service
- Explicit inclusion of Internet
- Numbering, naming and addressing
- Fraud and misuse
Of note is an early agreement that is emerging on inclusion of a provision in the ITRs related to accessibility to international telecommunications. This is an important step forward to improve connectivity to a greater portion of the population.
In summary, it’s early and there will be a lot of turns before we reach final treaty text, so please keep that in mind as you read reports or press about the conference. For more information about the WCIT, the ITU site has considerable information about the daily discussions here. The Plenary sessions and Committee 5 sessions are being webcast as well.
ISOC has had a chance to meet with delegations from all over the world in what is proving to be an excellent opportunity to engage with countries, understand what their objectives are, and identify ways to help inform the discussion.
Daily press coverage can be found here.