The UN International Telecommunication Union (ITU) Plenipotentiary (PP-22) wrapped up on October 14 with several Resolutions, “Final Acts,” many of which are both supported by and important to business. These Resolutions determine the direction of the Union, its finances and its activities for the next four years. Some of the Resolutions that were of keen interest to USCIB members were centered around Internet Protocol (IP)-based networks, the role of multistakeholder engagement and Artificial Intelligence (AI) technologies.
Of major relevance to the U.S. business community was the election of new leadership posts – mostly notably the new ITU Secretary General Doreen Bogdan-Martin, who USCIB actively supported. The other elected positions included Deputy Secretary General and the new Directors of the Standardization, Development, and Radiocommunication Bureaus.
Resolution 101 on Internet Protocol (IP)-based networks ultimately recognized the importance of ITU cooperation with the Internet Society, the Internet Engineering Task Force, UNESCO and other UN entities to ensure appropriate coordination on IP network issues. USCIB did not support any modifications to previous text, believing that this Resolution was sufficiently broad and flexible to address a range of issues. According to USCIB VP for ICT Policy Barbara Wanner, who attended the Plenipotentiary in Bucharest, U.S. negotiators were able to hold the line on more ambitious proposed changes to this resolution.
The ITU’s role with respect to international public policy issues pertaining to the Internet and the management of Internet resources, including domain names and addresses was addressed in Resolution 102.
“USCIB supported greater emphasis on the importance of multistakeholder engagement, including opening the Council Working Group on International Internet Public Policy to Sector Members, and elevating the reference to organizations involved in the technical aspects of the Internet (e.g., ICANN, IETF, RIRs) into the body of the Resolution.”
The Union recognized the importance of the private sector role in expanding development of the Internet and the need for greater reciprocal collaboration and coordination between the ITU and the aforementioned organizations. Throughout the resolution, the Union also acknowledged the need for stakeholder input concerning the management of Internet resources. Ultimately, however, ITU members stopped short of opening the CWG-Internet to Sector Members.
According to Wanner, there is also a new resolution on AI technologies and telecommunications/information and communication technologies.
“USCIB has been wary of efforts to expand the ITU work program to include AI and other emerging technologies on grounds that, if not appropriately scoped, the policy outcomes could stifle innovation and not be technology-neutral,” said Wanner.
“Recognizing the keen interest of many ITU members in AI, however, we supported an approach that would examine how the application of AI to telecommunications/ICTs has the potential to make telecommunications/ICTs more efficient and to facilitate universal access to telecommunications/ ICT,” added Wanner. “We felt this was within the mandate and core competencies of the Union related to telecommunications/ICTs. We are especially grateful for the effective advocacy of the U.S. Government on this topic.”