Confusion over WCIT resolution

The final draft resolutions approved by governments at the World Conference on International Telecommunications include ways of avoiding bill shock when roaming and making it easy for travelers to find emergency phone numbers.

But a resolution passed late Wednesday recognizing the Internet as a central element of the infrastructure of the information society that has generated confusion.

According to the conference Web site, the resolution also recognizes the importance of broadband capacity to facilitate the delivery of a broader range of services and applications, promote investment and provide Internet access at affordable prices to both existing and new users.

The conference in Dubai, organized by the International Telecommunications Union (ITU) and attended by countries from around the world, is attempting to update international telecom regulations (ITRs). The final treaty is scheduled to be approved Friday.

The concern from some groups comes from two directions: First, some countries – including Canada and the U.S. – didn’t want the word ‘Internet’ in the treaty, arguing the ITRs are technical only. The worry is if the Internet is mentioned in ITUs, eventually some governments may find a way to limit their citizens’ access to it.
Second, the Internet resolution apparently came in the form of a vote, and votes were supposed to be avoided in favour of consensus.

The Internet Society, which works on setting open standards on Internet infrastructure and is at the conference, issued a statement saying it is “concerned about the direction that the ITRs are taking with regards to the Internet.  

“The Internet Society came to this meeting in the hopes that revisions to the treaty would focus on competition, liberalization, free flow of information and independent regulation – things that have clearly worked in the field of telecommunications. Instead, these concepts seem to have been largely struck from the treaty text.  

“Additionally, and contrary to assurances that this treaty is not about the Internet, the conference appears to have adopted, by majority, a resolution on the Internet. Amendments were apparently made to the text but were not published prior to agreement.”

At the time of publication of this story (9 a.m. Toronto time Dec. 13) the Canadian government hadn’t issued a statement about the resolutions.

Another resolution says member countries should foster co-operation among carriers to order to avoid inadvertent roaming charges in border zones. That would be of interest to Canadians living near the U.S. border who have complained of sometimes getting dinged with roaming charges because their signals are being picked up by American cellular towers.

Canadian cellular users may also appreciate a resolution calling on countries to develop competitive roaming prices. Industry Canada is already looking at that.

Here are the latest articles on the conference from The Economist  and and a report on earlier goings-on from Slate.

Would you recommend this article?


Thanks for taking the time to let us know what you think of this article!
We'd love to hear your opinion about this or any other story you read in our publication.

Jim Love, Chief Content Officer, IT World Canada

Featured Download

Howard Solomon
Howard Solomon
Currently a freelance writer, I'm the former editor of and Computing Canada. An IT journalist since 1997, I've written for several of ITWC's sister publications including and Computer Dealer News. Before that I was a staff reporter at the Calgary Herald and the Brampton (Ont.) Daily Times. I can be reached at hsolomon [@]

Featured Articles

Empowering the hybrid workforce: how technology can build a better employee experience

Across the country, employees from organizations of all sizes expect flexibility...

What’s behind the best customer experience: How to make it real for your business

The best customer experience – the kind that builds businesses and...

Overcoming the obstacles to optimized operations

Network-driven optimization is a top priority for many Canadian business leaders...

Thriving amid Canada’s tech talent shortage

With today’s tight labour market, rising customer demands, fast-evolving cyber threats...

Staying protected and compliant in an evolving IT landscape

Canadian businesses have changed remarkably and quickly over the last few...

Related Tech News

Tech Jobs

Our experienced team of journalists and bloggers bring you engaging in-depth interviews, videos and content targeted to IT professionals and line-of-business executives.

Tech Companies Hiring Right Now