ITU Chief: Governments Need to Make It Easier to Deploy Next-Gen Mobile Broadband

The head of the International Telecommunications Union has called on mobile broadband operators around the world to deploy next-generation LTE wireless service, and advised governments to do what they can to ease that process, including cutting or abolishing taxes on equipment and service.

ITU secretary general Dr. Hamadoun Touré said that it is in everyone's interest that mobile broadband be able to deliver the high speeds necessary for video streaming and aps yet undreamed of, the same argument the FCC has been making for freeing up more spectrum for broadband.

Touré will be making the case for rapid broadband buildout at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona Saturday.

At that conference he will also talk about the priorities of the upcoming World Conference on International Telecommunications (WCIT 12) in Dubai Dec. 3-14, among those is renegotiating a 1988 treaty on exchanging telecom traffic. "We need to be sure we have the right frameworks in place to nurture the broadband revolution that will define the coming decade," said Touré.

FCC commissioner Robert McDowell, who will also be in Barcelona for the conference, is concerned that the wrong framework could result in "an international regulatory layer over such things as domain name administration, cybersecurity, setting engineering standards and the economics of Internet traffic in the last mile, middle mile and the backbone." He calls the move from a multistakeholder model to a more ITU-centric one the potential next big threat to the Internet." His concern is shared by many in the Obama Administration.

John Eggerton

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.