Ambassador Terry Kramer, head of the U.S. delegation to the
ITU WCIT-12 telecom treaty conference in Dubai, said in a statement that
reports the U.S. may pull out of the conference were not true, but according to
a press conference with ITU representatives, there has been little consensus on
the issues that the U.S. has suggested were nonnegotiable from its side, which
are primarily ones that would introduce Internet governance and security and
sender-pays models to the treaties being discussed.
"In the past few days, a small number of media reports
have characterized the United States as 'threatening' to withdraw from the WCIT
negotiations," he said in a statement. "These speculative reports are
inaccurate and unhelpful to the Conference," Kramer said. "The United
States has made no such threat, and it remains fully committed to achieving a
successful conclusion to the WCIT. The U.S. Delegation will continue to provide
information to the media as negotiations continue throughout this week."
ButKramer has said in the run-up to the conference that proposals by countries
like China, Russia and some Arab states to incorporate new Internet-related regs
into the treaties were a nonstarter and could be a conference-ender, at least
as far as it was concerned.
Lack of consensus is not the nonstarter for the U.S., so
long as that lack of agreement means that the current language of the ITRs -- which
means the continued absence of Internet regulation -- remains the default
to WCITLeaks, a site hosting leaked WCIT proposals, a proposal backed by
those countries would establish that "Internet governance shall be
effected through the development and application by governments, the private
sector and civil society of shared principles, norms, rules, decision -Â
â€making procedures and programs that shape the evolution and use of the
The U.S. is afraid that opening the ITRs to government
Internet oversight is an invitation to censorship and economic models -- like
new taxes -- that could threaten the health of the Internet.
At a press conference Monday, an ITU representative provided
a wrap-up of the final meeting of the committee dealing with key Internet
access and payment issues and suggested many of the most contentious issues
including a sender-pays model for Internet traffic, Internet security, spam,
routing and nondiscriminatory access to information had yet to be resolved.
"There are quite a few square brackets remaining, so a lot of text still
in dispute," they said, which will now go to plenary sessions.
ITU said there had been good progress on issues including
quality of service and provision of facilities and a new agreement on a global
emergency number. "We do not have good consensus on security, spam,
routing and questions on whether the topics should even be included in the
International Telecommunications Regulations [ITRs]," ITU said. The U.S.
is firmly in that camp.
Cuba was said to have offered a proposal related to nondiscriminatory
access to the Internet that generated "quite a lot of discussion in the
committee." The U.S. said the conference was not the place to discuss
access regulations, joined by Sweden, Canada, Costa Rica and Britain. Supporting
the proposal were Iran, Algeria, Saudi Arabia, Sudan, Russia, Palestine and
That issue has been spun out into an ad hoc group for more discussion
before reporting to the plenary session.
Contributing editor John Eggerton has been an editor and/or writer on media regulation, legislation and policy for over four decades, including covering the FCC, FTC, Congress, the major media trade associations, and the federal courts. In addition to Multichannel News and Broadcasting + Cable, his work has appeared in Radio World, TV Technology, TV Fax, This Week in Consumer Electronics, Variety and the Encyclopedia Britannica.
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