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ITU strengthens ties between technology, business and policy

by david.nunes

ITU strengthens ties between technology, business and policy

Economic and policy requirements to play a greater role in informing ITU standardization

Geneva, 9 March 2016 – The international community is looking to ITU’s unique public-private partnership of members for a neutral platform to strengthen the ties between technical innovation, business needs and economic and policy requirements.

ITU has intensified its efforts to ensure congruent technical innovation and policy development, addressing concerns that technology too often races ahead of policy, with the result that governance frameworks fall out of step with market realities. Challenges to fair market competition may arise as a result, and legislation may no longer afford adequate protection to consumers.

Growing interest among ITU members in building greater cohesion in the progression of technology and policy is very evident in the work of ITU-T Study Group 3, ITU’s standardization expert group responsible for economic and policy issues relevant to international telecommunications.

“It is encouraging to see developing countries playing a central role in the work of ITU-T Study Group 3,” said ITU Secretary-General Houlin Zhao. “The group is demonstrating great leadership in narrowing the historical divide between developed and developing countries’ participation in international standardization and related debates around policy, economics and tariffs.”

“ITU-T Study Group 3 is strengthening the ties between ITU’s economic and policy deliberations and its technical standardization activity,” said Seiichi Tsugawa, Chairman of ITU-T Study Group 3. “We are innovating to provide ITU’s standardization expert groups with economic and policy baselines to be considered in the development of new technical standards.”

“ITU’s technical standardization work is predominantly industry-driven, with business requirements forming the main fuel to standardization,” said Chaesub Lee, Director of the ITU Telecommunication Standardization Bureau. “ITU-T Study Group 3 is taking action in response to the perception among ITU members that the alignment of technology, business and policy will see significant improvement if technical standardization grants equal weight to technical innovation, business needs and policy requirements.”

The recent meeting of ITU-T Study Group 3 held in Geneva, 22 February to 1 March, hosted a diverse selection of participants, representing governments and their regulators, private-sector players, user groups and academic and research institutes. Contributions to the meeting were received from over 60 countries.

ITU Study Group 3 is broadening its debate around over-the-top (OTT) communications with a view to developing international standards on OTT messaging, telephony and streaming services. Discussions on the topic explored the promotion of OTT innovation, possible regulatory approaches to OTT, the value of partnerships between OTT players and mobile network operators, as well as incentives for infrastructure investment and the protection of privacy and personal data.

The group has also accelerated its study of mobile financial services (MFS), the ‘mobile money’ innovations capitalizing on the ubiquity of mobile phones to deliver formal financial services to the world’s poorest people. International standards are beginning to appear on the horizon as ITU-T Study Group 3 works to empower consumers and encourage a level playing field for MFS competition and market entry in close collaboration with the ITU-T

Focus Group on Digital Financial Services.

The recent meeting of ITU-T Study Group 3 achieved first-stage approval of five international standards:

  1. ITU-T D.52 “Establishing and connecting regional Internet Exchange Points (IXPs) to reduce costs of international Internet connectivity” will guide regional collaboration to establish central hubs (IXPs) that enable local Internet traffic to be routed locally, saving international bandwidth and reducing the costs of international Internet connectivity.
  2. ITU-T D.53 “International aspects of Universal Service” offers guidelines to increase compliance with Universal Service policies as well as the extent to which they achieve their goal of delivering a minimum level of ICT services to every inhabitant of a country.
  3. The revised ITU-T D.271 “Charging and accounting principles for Next-Generation Network (NGN)” sets out the general principles and conditions applicable to the use of packet-based networks to transport packets between standards-based interfaces and the services that they support.
  4. ITU-T D.97 “Methodological principles for determining international mobile roaming rates” proposes a possible approach to the reduction of excessive roaming rates, highlighting the need to encourage competition in the roaming market, educate consumers and consider appropriate regulatory actions such as the introduction of caps on roaming rates.
  5. ITU-T D.261 “Principles for market definition and identification of operators with significant market power” proposes principles and guidelines to assist countries in defining and identifying significant market power and assess whether or not, and the degree to which, this power has been abused by international telecommunications companies.

The meeting also reached agreement on the launch of large volume of new work, including:

  • Quantifying cross-border market power in telecommunications
  • Impact of dynamic tariffing on market competitiveness
  • Partnerships between OTT players and mobile network operators
  • Guidelines for digital identity
  • Guidelines for MFS Agents
  • Guidelines for e-money issuers
  • Infrastructure sharing
  • Roaming for the Internet of Things and M2M (Machine-to-Machine) communications

About ITU

ITU is the leading United Nations agency for information and communication technologies, driving innovation in ICTs together with 193 Member States and a membership of over 700 private sector entities and academic institutions. Established over 150 years ago in 1865, ITU is the intergovernmental body responsible for coordinating the shared global use of the radio spectrum, promoting international cooperation in assigning satellite orbits, improving communication infrastructure in the developing world, and establishing the worldwide standards that foster seamless interconnection of a vast range of communications systems. From broadband networks to cutting-edge wireless technologies, aeronautical and maritime navigation, radio astronomy, oceanographic and satellite-based earth monitoring as well as converging fixed-mobile phone, Internet and broadcasting technologies, ITU is committed to connecting the world. www.itu.int

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