Recognizing WSIS Impacts

Unless it acknowledges key characteristics of the Internet, the World Summit on the Information Society will easily undermine it

To State Dept: Conformance and Interoperability

(Click here for blog post version of this commentary)

———- Forwarded message ———-
From: Seth Johnson
Date: Mon, Apr 29, 2013 at 3:04 PM
Subject: WTDC/Plenipot: 1) Conformance and Interoperability: Understanding Impacts on the Internet (was: Re: Critical Notes for WTDC Prep)
To: “ITAC@LMLIST.STATE.GOV”
Cc: “ITAC-D@LMLIST.STATE.GOV”

Below this note is an analysis showing where the Conformance and
Interoperability resolutions introduce the risk of the Information
Society undermining the Internet.

It is designed to contribute to upcoming proceedings such as the WTPF,
WTDC and High Level WSIS Review in April 2014, preparing the way to
the Plenipotentiary Meeting in October/November 2014, where the
necessary actions can be taken.

You can read this as a blog post with internal links here:
> http://internetdistinction.com/wsisimpacts/2013/04/28/wsis-impacts-conformance-interoperability/

Please take it into account on the next WTDC Prep, general ITAC, and
Council calls.

You can see two general concerns and a set of key points here:
> http://internetdistinction.com/wsisimpacts/2013/04/28/wsis-impacts-conformance-interoperability/#TwoConcerns
> http://internetdistinction.com/wsisimpacts/2013/04/28/wsis-impacts-conformance-interoperability/#KeyPoints

See below for raw text version.

I will move on to the other development-related topic areas I
described in the last ITAC call next: the enabling
environment/inclusivity; cybersecurity, ICTs and the Internet; and
measures/results analysis.

There are a number of reports being prepared to be presented at
upcoming proceedings that also need to incorporate this concern: ITU
Council Reports to the Plenipotentiary Conference on Conformance and
Interoperability/Guadalajara Resolution 177, on Bridging the Digital
Divide/Guadalajara Resolution 139, and on Bridging the Standardization
Gap/WTSA Resolution 44; the BDT Report with lessons learned to WTDC re
Conformance and Interoperability/WTDC Resolution 47; and the TSB
Report to the Plenipotentiary Conference (and future WTSAs) on
Bridging the Standardization Gap/WTSA Resolution 44. Additional
reports like these will become relevant as I address the other topics.

The commentary gives a picture of how the fact that the Information
Society leaves out a proper treatment of the nature of the Internet
plays out, by analyzing the subset of resolutions that relate to the
topic of Conformance and Interoperability. While the implications are
diverse, the actual revisions called for would be straightforward.
They mostly entail adding onto some references to general terms like
ICTs or telecommunications/ICTs, additional phrases like “including
the Internet” or “including both general purpose internetworking and
networks supporting various specialized functions,” etc. Then one
general resolution might be issued to which others could refer,
“Resolution XX on Internet Key Characteristics and Properties.”

I will need to look at the US position on conformance and
interoperability, the action plan, and more of the plenipotentiary
resolutions. I also need to know how the conformance and
interoperability regime relates to the “interoperability rules” that
the FirstNet Board is apparently going to be issuing. Other items
that will need to be reviewed are listed in my blog analysis here:
> http://internetdistinction.com/wsisimpacts/2013/04/28/wsis-impacts-conformance-interoperability/#ReviewCI
> http://internetdistinction.com/wsisimpacts/2013/04/28/wsis-impacts-conformance-interoperability/#ReviewDD
> http://internetdistinction.com/wsisimpacts/2013/04/28/wsis-impacts-conformance-interoperability/#ReviewSG

See full text below or at the blog link.

Seth

Conformance and Interoperability: Understanding Impacts on the Internet

> http://internetdistinction.com/wsisimpacts/2013/04/28/wsis-impacts-conformance-interoperability/

Contents:

Introduction: Background, General Concerns, Key Points, Relevant Resolutions

Conformance and Interoperability
WTDC Resolution 47, Guadalajara Resolution 177, and WTSA Resolution 76
On Conformance Assessment and Quality of Service
On Conformance Assessment, Confidence and the Likelihood of Interoperability

Bridging the Digital Divide
Lack of References to the Internet in Relation to the Digital Divide
No Mention of Internet Empowerment of End Users and Providers
On Interoperability, Interconnection and Global Connectivity
On Pro-Competitive Policies and Regulatory Contexts for Expanding Access

Bridging the Standardization Gap
Lack of References to the Internet in Relation to Bridging the
Standardization Gap
Strategic and High Priority Issues in Standardization
Regional Group Terms of Reference and Mobilization Programs

Introduction

Background

The World Summit for the Information Society (WSIS) harbors a
potential of undermining the Internet platform. Its framing documents
and resolutions use general terms such as “telecommunications/ICTs”
and make very little reference to the Internet or its special
characteristics, thus providing no basis for recognizing when the
Internet may be affected by its initiatives.

Among these framing resolutions are those that cover development
initiatives and provide the frame for the next World Telecommunication
Development Conference (WTDC) to be held in Sharm-el-Sheikh, Egypt
from March 31 to April 11, 2014. The WTDC and the High-Level WSIS
Review event taking place in April 2014, along with the
Plenipotentiary meeting in October-November 2014, represent the key
occasions to assure that the appropriate resolutions are issued or
revised to enable the impacts that WSIS development initiatives may
have on the Internet to be readily recognized.

The WTDC Resolutions related to the Conformance and Interoperability
initiative represent one thrust that indicates where revisions are
needed to enable us to recognize when the Information Society’s
development initiatives may affect the Internet. This commentary
identifies the resolutions related to Conformance and Interoperability
and analyzes them in light of this concern.

We begin with two general concerns, followed by a set of key points
covered with more specificity in the commentary.

Two General Concerns:

The first general concern here has to do with the prospect
that conformance and interoperability testing might become a basis for
enabling government or privileged providers to promote new types of
networks by appealing to intergovernmental standards, without
distinguishing them from the Internet or recognizing the tradeoffs
these types of networks bring as compared to the advantages of the
Internet. This could be a problem if these standards work against
connectivity in the form the Internet makes possible, or if their
promotion allows something different to be called Internet.

The other general concern here has to do with applying
conformance and interoperability certification in connection with a
range of public policy issues with which the Information Society is
concerned. If we set up a standardization process under the ITU, and
if it fails to recognize the key characteristics of the Internet while
it is connected to these public policy concerns, we could easily end
up normalizing, in the name of public policy concerns, forms of
telecommunications and related policies that are detrimental to the
advantages of the Internet, without recognizing that impact.

Some Key Points:

The conformance and interoperability framework should reflect
the distinction between the general purpose form of connectivity that
the Internet Protocol makes possible between independent networks, and
connectivity that supports specialized functions that are not as
readily supported by general purpose internetworking.

Capacity building in conformance and interoperability testing
should incorporate recognition of the empowerment of independent
operators and end users made possible by the general purpose internet
platform as well as recognizing other types of networks supporting
specialized functions.

Conformance and interoperability should address quality of
service not only as a specialized function in networks that treat IP
packets specially according to types or categories, but also based on
recognition of the role that the actual capacity of networks plays in
quality of service in general purpose internetworking.

The conformance and interoperability initiative should
recognize that confidence in end-to-end interoperability is already
enabled for the Internet based on general purpose packet
transmissions. While the likelihood of interoperability for other
kinds of networks or specialized services will increase on the basis
of confidence derived from conformance assessment, conformance
assessment can also support interoperability through the upholding of
policies backed by an intergovernmental authority, a prospect with
implications that should be understood and addressed.

The resolutions on bridging the digital divide make no mention
of the empowerment of end users and independent providers made
possible by the Internet, or of how those factors drive development

The references to interoperability, interconnection and global
connectivity in the resolutions do not necessarily mean connectivity
in terms of what we understand as the Internet platform, but are used
in ways that could easily support policies imposing connectivity in
other forms, without clearly recognizing their impact on the Internet

General references to pro-competitive policies and regulatory
contexts in relation to expanding access should be adapted to
recognize the general purpose Internet platform made possible by
interoperation among autonomous, competing providers at the physical
layer, and should not characterize the policy and regulatory context
solely in general terms that may support other types of networks
without specifically recognizing the Internet as well.

Recognition of impacts on the Internet should be identified as
a high-level objective and priority in standardization, and strategic
and high priority issues in standardization should distinctly
recognize end user and independent provider empowerment as a result of
the Internet as particularly important concerns for developing
countries, along with standardization initiatives that may be geared
toward other types of networks.

The advice of proponents of increased competition among
independent providers at the physical layer within the US should be
recognized and applied by TSAG as an explicit consideration within its
mandate to coordinate standardization topics.

For the purposes of commenting on the revisions needed in this area,
it’s most useful to group the relevant resolutions under three related
topic headers — Conformance and Interoperability, Bridging the Digital
Divide, and Bridging the Standardization Gap. Click below to see the
relationships among all the resolutions making up the overall
conformance and interoperability thrust.

Click here for Resolutions Related to Conformance and Interoperability:
> http://internetdistinction.com/wsisimpacts/2013/04/28/wsis-impacts-conformance-interoperability/#RelatedResolutions

Commentary:

Conformance and Interoperability

WTDC Resolution 47, Guadalajara Resolution 177, and WTSA
Resolution 76 fit under the general heading of conformance and
interoperability.

A conformance and interoperability framework that recognizes the
nature of the Internet needs to draw a clear distinction between
certification of conformance and interoperability in relation to the
general purpose form of connectivity that the Internet Protocol makes
possible between independent networks, and certification for
specialized functions that are not as readily supported by general
purpose internetworking across autonomous routers.

WTDC Resolution 47

WTDC Resolution 47 instructs the Director of the
Telecommunications Development Bureau to assist developing countries
in building their capacity to perform conformance testing of equipment
and systems and to follow up on implementation, including a periodic
report to the T-DAG and a report on lessons learned to the WTDC in
2014. It invites Member States and Sector Members to enhance knowledge
and effective application of ITU-R and ITU-T Recommendations in
developing countries, and to introduce best practices in applying
these recommendations. It says nothing about Internet, but does talk
about fiber optics, broadband networks, and next-generation networks,
inviting Member States to introduce best-practice application of ITU
Recommendations in those areas through training and workshops in
developing countries.

This resolution needs to reflect the above distinction in the
identification of best practices that it calls for: best practices in
applying recommendations for interoperability by general purpose IP
transmissions among autonomous networks, versus best practices in
applying recommendations related to networks that provide specialized
functions among routers implementing specialized treatment of packets.
The list list of example topics mentioned above should be extended to
include specific mention of Internet networks as well.

WTDC 47 also notes that the studies endorsed under WTSA
Resolution 76, on conformance and interoperability and the possibility
of establishing an ITU Mark regime, entail a need for understanding of
ITU Recommendations and related international standards in applying
new technology to networks appropriately and effectively. The
distinction between the general purpose Internet and other types of
networks should be encompassed in this understanding, and reflected in
these WTSA studies and conformance and interoperability guidelines.

WTDC 47 should also be revised to note that this distinction
is to be applied in the training courses and workshops that the
Director of the TDB, in collaboration with the TSB and RB, is
instructed to encourage developing countries to participate in, and in
the framing for capacity building in conformance testing, conformance
and interoperability testing events, and international and regional
conformance and interoperability test laboratories that they are also
instructed to support. WTDC 47 also needs to note that the field study
on the feasibility of and need for regional laboratories that it
instructs them to conduct should reflect the distinction, as well as
the report to the Council on that study, the periodic reports to the
TDAG, and the report to WTDC 2014 on implementation and lessons
learned, that the resolution also directs the TDB to present in
collaboration with the other Bureaus.

Guadalajara Resolution 177

Guadalajara Resolution 177 instructs the Director of the TSB
to consult with stakeholders in all regions on implementation of
Council Recommendations related to the conformance and
interoperability program, to conduct studies related to the
possibility of establishing an ITU Mark program, to improve
standards-setting processes and thereby improving interoperability
through conformance, to prepare a long-term business plan on
implementing conformance and interoperability, and to present progress
reports and study outcomes to the Council. Each of these activities
should incorporate recognition of the distinction between
certifications related to general purpose Internet connectivity among
autonomous, independent providers by means of the Internet Protocol,
versus certifications related to specialized functions not readily
supported by general purpose Internet connectivity.

Guadalajara 177 invites Sector Members and organizations
qualified under ITU-T Recommendation A.5 to populate a pilot
conformity database representing products tested to ITU-T
Recommendations, and to participate in interoperability events
facilitated by the ITU. This pilot database and the ITU
interoperability events need to be designed to reflect the same
distinction given above.

Guadalajara 177 also invites Sector Members and ITU-T
A.5-qualified organizations to help build capacity for conformance and
interoperability testing in developing countries. Capacity building
for conformance and interoperability should be designed to distinctly
recognize general purpose interoperability as well as networks and
technologies supporting specialized functions. Information Society
initiatives should sponsor capacity building in conformance and
interoperability testing that not only certifies specialized
functions, but that fosters the empowerment of independent operators
and end users by distinctly certifying technologies that support a
general purpose platform through the use of IP to interoperate among
independent networks in a context of numerous competing providers.

On Conformance Assessment and Quality of Service

Guadalajara 177 includes a particular note that conformance
assessment regimes adopted by Member States will lead to better
quality of service/quality of experience. Quality of service is a
characteristic often sought to be implemented as a specialized
function in networks that treat IP packets specially according to
types or categories. Providing for quality of service in this way
generally can only be readily implemented across routers within a
network governed by a core authority and/or policy, rather than across
the routers of independent internetworking providers. A conformance
and interoperability regime that recognizes the nature of the Internet
should address quality of service not only in these terms, but also in
terms that recognize the role that the actual capacity of networks
plays in quality of service.

That is, conformance assessment should distinctly provide for
certifications that recognize that general purpose interoperability
supports quality of service on the basis of provision of capacity, and
is supported by an enabling environment that assures end users, and
providers on shared lines, will receive the actual capacity that they
purchase. In this type of context, end user demand and ready and
competitive access by independent providers at the physical layer
drive infrastructure development and therefore support quality of
service and quality of experience on that basis. To make a general
point not to be developed in detail here, Information Society
initiatives focused on establishing a conformance and interoperability
regime should distinguish this physical layer competition model for
building network capacity to support quality of service, from models
that seek to support quality of service through specialized networks
and services, and that tie return on investment in infrastructure to
the product and service offerings of particular providers with a
privileged relationship to the right of way.

WTSA Resolution 76

WTSA Resolution 76 refers to conformance assessment as the
accepted way to demonstrate products adhere to an international
standard, describing it as increasingly important in the context of
standardization commitments under the WTO’s Agreement on Technical
Barriers to Trade. It notes four pillars of the ITU conformance and
interoperability program as enumerated in the executive summary of the
ITU Conformance and Interoperability Business Plan report: conformance
assessment, interoperability events, capacity building, and
establishment of test centers in developing countries.

WTSA 76 resolves that ITU-T study groups should develop
conformance testing Recommendations as soon as possible, that Study
Group 11 be designated as coordinating activities on conformance and
interoperability across all ITU-T study groups, that ITU-T, in
collaboration with the other Sectors, should develop a program to
assist developing countries in identifying opportunities for capacity
building in conformance and interoperability testing, and in
establishing regional or subregional conformance and interoperability
testing centers in cooperation with accreditation and certification
bodies, and that conformance and interoperability testing requirements
should verify parameters defined in current and future ITU-T
Recommendations.

All of these elements should incorporate recognition of the
distinction between general purpose internetworking and other types of
networks, including the pillars of conformance assessment,
interoperability events, capacity building, and test centers, as well
as the content and scope of the new conformance testing
Recommendations, the coordinating function of Study Group 11, and
testing requirements reflecting ITU-T Recommendations.

WTSA 76 instructs the Director of the TSB to conduct
exploratory activities in each region to identify and prioritize
problems in developing countries related to interoperability of
telecommunications/ICT equipment and services, to implement the action
plan agreed to by the Council in its 2012 session, and to implement a
conformance and interoperability program that may connect with the
introduction of an ITU Mark in alignment with the Council’s 2012
decision in C12/91. It instructs the study groups to identify ITU-T
Recommendations that may be candidates for interoperability testing,
to prepare these Recommendations for testing as appropriate, and to
cooperate with stakeholders in optimizing studies for the preparation
of test specifications

These elements of WTSA 76 should also be related to the same
distinction given above. Exploration of problems in the regions should
allow for various regions and countries to support either Internet or
other types of connectivity under the general term
“telecommunication/ICT equipment and services.” The overall framing of
the ITU Mark program should also incorporate the distinction.

On Conformance Assessment, Confidence and the Likelihood of
Interoperability

WTSA 76 asserts that an increase in confidence in ICT
equipment conformance with ITU-T Recommendations will increase the
probability that equipment from different manufacturers will
interoperate across networks from end to end. This is reflected in an
observation in Guadalajara 177 that the conformance assessment regimes
that it invites Member States to adopt can lead to a higher
probability that equipment, services and systems will interoperate.

Information Society initiatives for conformance and
interoperability should recognize that confidence in end-to-end
interoperability is already enabled for the Internet based on general
purpose packet transmissions. However, for specialized functions that
are not as readily supported across the autonomous networks that make
up the Internet, these Resolutions appear to be designed to enable
providers and manufacturers to certify their compatibility with
particular specialized functions that may be supported by particular
types of networks. These specialized functions, and the types of
networks that support them, should be distinguished from the Internet.
While conformance testing would help increase the likelihood of
interoperability for networks supporting specialized functions on the
basis of increased confidence, it also can support interoperability on
the basis of fulfilling policies backed by an intergovernmental
authority. As the Information Society contemplates the establishing of
an intergovernmental framework for policymaking that may touch on the
Internet, it is critical that a basis is established for identifying
when policies would impact the Internet deleteriously, by
distinguishing networks supporting more specialized functions from the
Internet.

?Other Conformance and Interoperability Items to Review

?Under the Conformance and Interoperability heading we find
two items to be prepared for presenting at upcoming occasions, which
should address the need to identify impacts on the Internet: the ITU
Council Report to the next plenipotentiary conference on progress
related to Guadalajara Resolution 177, and the Report by BDT and the
other Bureaus to the 2014 WTDC with lessons learned related to WTDC
Resolution 47.

Further items to be reviewed with an eye for understanding how
well the existing proceedings address this concern include:

The ITU Conformance and Interoperability Business Plan,
the Action Plan agreed to by the ITU Council in 2012, and the
Secretary-General’s Conformance and Interoperability Status Report and
Action Plan (C12/48), all referred to in WTSA Resolution 76, and the
ITU Council Document C09/28 approving TSB Recommendations, mentioned
in Guadalajara 177

The TSB Business Plan, Progress Reports to the Council in
2009, 10, 11, 12 and to the 2010 Plenipotentiary conference, TSB
studies and reports on implementation of Guadalajara 177 and WTSA 76,
including studies on the potential of establishing an ITU Mark, and
consultations with regional stakeholders on human capacity building
and establishing of test facilities

The Report by BDT and the other Bureaus to the Council on
implementation of Guadalajara Resolution 47, mentioned in Guadalajara
177, and periodic reports to the TDAG by BDT and the other Bureaus
mentioned in WTDC 47

The pilot conformity database mentioned in Guadalajara 177

The ITU-T A-series Recommendations, including
Recommendation A.5 regarding qualification of participating
organizations, mentioned in Guadalajara 177, and Supplement 2,
mentioned in WTSA 76

ITU-T Recommendations X.290 to ITU-T X.296, mentioned in WTSA 76

The WTO Agreement on Technical Barriers to Trade, mentioned in
WTSA 76, should also be reviewed for how both general purpose
interoperability and interoperability for specialized functions and
networks might relate to the Agreement, including how conformance
assessment might relate to both general purpose interoperability and
interoperability for specialized functions and networks through
inter-governmental policies and standards

Bridging the Digital Divide

WTDC Resolution 37, Guadalajara Resolution 139, and WTSA
Resolution 17 address the topic of bridging the digital divide.

Lack of References to the Internet in Relation to the Digital Divide

Guadalajara Resolution 139 relates bridging the digital divide
and inclusivity to the general term telecommunications/ICTs with no
recognition of how the characteristics of the Internet relate to those
concerns. It notes the lack of basic infrastructure, plans, laws and
regulations to support development of ICT and ICT applications in many
countries, and concludes that the ITU should continue to support
studies on the contribution of ICTs and ICT applications to
development, to act as a clearing-house for the exchange of
information and expertise in this area, and to pursue initiatives to
promote access to telecommunications/ICTs and ICT applications.
However, it makes no reference to how the unique characteristics of
the Internet relate to or contribute to these concerns.

WTDC Resolution 37 also notes the lack of basic
infrastructure, plans, laws and regulations to support ICT development
in many developing countries, again using the general term ICTs. It
makes no mention of the Internet’s characteristics in particular as
part of the revolution available to create digital opportunities in
developing countries, and refers to networks supporting the Internet
and Internet applications as “legacy networks,” without addressing
tradeoffs of other types of networks. It requests the Director of the
TDB to create social connectivity indicators for the digital divide,
support various special initiatives including developing a
user-awareness campaign to build trust and confidence in ICT
applications, and help reduce access costs by encouraging
manufacturers to develop appropriate technology scalable to broadband
applications.

WTSA Resolution 17 does not address the Internet distinctly as
it notes the purpose of the ITU to promote development of the
worldwide telecommunication network. It refers to NGN deployment
studies and migration to NGNs with no distinct references to the
Internet, as it instructs the Director of the TSB to assist developing
countries in studies on priority questions, to support flagship groups
on those questions, and to continue supporting NGN deployment studies
and standards development activities as related to rural development
and bridging the digital and development divides.

No Mention of Internet Empowerment of End Users and Providers

Notably for a resolution on bridging the digital divide and
inclusivity, Guadalajara 139 makes no mention of the empowerment of
end users and independent providers made possible by the Internet. It
observes the integral role played by telecommunications/ICTs and ICT
applications — but not the Internet as such — as part of the national,
regional and international development process, and as not only the
consequence of economic growth, but a prerequisite for overall
development, including economic growth. It states that ICTs and ICT
applications must be placed at the service of development, and that
telecommunication/ICT infrastructure and applications are central to
the goal of digital inclusion, while making no mention of the unique
empowerment and innovation by end users and independent providers that
the Internet makes possible or how those factors drive development.

Guadalajara 139 recommends national e-strategies be linked to
development goals with no mention of how characteristics of the
Internet contribute to these strategies. It calls ICTs and ICT
applications essential to political, economic, social and cultural
development and notes the important role they play in e-government,
labor, job creation, agriculture, health, education, transport,
industry, human rights, poverty alleviation, environmental protection,
prevention/mitigation of natural and other disasters, trade and
transfer of information for social welfare in economic and social
progress. But again, it does not provide any indication of how the
characteristics of the Internet contribute to these purposes.

Guadalajara 139 notes that the Strategic Plan for the Union
for 2012-2015 has the aim of “enabling and fostering the growth and
sustained development of telecommunication networks and services,”
while it makes no mention of the Internet, of end user and independent
provider innovation driving development, or of this innovation being
made possible by the general purpose platform created by the Internet
among competing providers. It also notes the goals of assisting
developing countries in bridging the digital divide through
socio-economic development enabled by telecommunications/ICTs, and of
facilitating universal access, with no mention of how development is
enabled by the Internet as such, or for that matter specifying that
this universal access is to the Internet as well as other types of
networks.

On Interoperability, Interconnection and Global Connectivity

Guadalajara 139 references Goal 2 of the Strategic Plan for
the Union for 2008-2011 and the fundamental goal of the Strategic Plan
for 2012-2015, which call for the ITU to assist in bridging the
national, regional and international digital divide in ICTs and ICT
applications by facilitating interoperability, interconnection and
global connectivity of telecommunication networks and services. But it
does not relate bridging the divide to access to the Internet as such.
Interoperability, interconnection and global connectivity do not
necessarily mean connectivity by what we understand as the Internet
platform, but could mean establishing policies imposing connectivity
in other forms, which might occur without recognizing that the
characteristics of the Internet were affected.

On Pro-Competitive Policies and Regulatory Contexts for Expanding Access

Guadalajara 139 and WTDC 37 both endorse pro-competitive
policies and regulatory contexts in general terms in relation to
expanding access to telecommunications/ICTs.

Guadalajara 139 cites comments from the Hyderabad and Geneva
Declarations on the role of governments, policy-makers and regulators
and the legal and regulatory environments in promoting widespread
affordable access to telecommunications/ICTs. It also instructs the
Director of the TDB, in coordination with the other Bureaus, to assist
the Member States and Sector Members in developing a pro-competitive
policy and regulatory framework for ICTs and ICT applications, and in
strategies that expand access to telecommunication infrastructure,
particularly for rural areas, to evaluate models for affordable and
sustainable systems for rural access to information, communications
and ICT applications on the global network, based on studies of these
models, and to conduct case studies concerning telecommunications/ICTs
in rural areas, and potentially to deploy a pilot model using IP-based
technology, or equivalent thereof in the future, to extend rural
access.

WTDC 37 requests the Director of the TDB to assist Member
States and Sector Members in developing a pro-competition policy and
regulatory framework for ICTs, including online services and
electronic commerce, as well as capacity building in connectivity and
accessibility.

These references should acknowledge the general purpose
Internet platform made possible by interoperation among autonomous,
competing providers at the physical layer, and should not characterize
the policy and regulatory context solely in general terms referencing
competition, innovation and investment incentives in ways that may
support other types of networks while not recognizing the Internet as
well.

Strategies to expand access to telecommunications
infrastructure (particularly in rural areas) should be addressed in
terms that specifically acknowledge the advantages built into the
Internet as such. Given that under Guadalajara 139 the TDB may pursue
the deployment of a pilot model for rural access using IP-based
technology (or equivalent), it is important that the nature and
advantages of the Internet are delineated now so that tradeoffs in
using other, future protocols are recognized.?

Other Digital Divide Items to Review

?We find two items under the Digital Divide heading to be
prepared for presenting at upcoming occasions, which should address
the need to identify impacts on the Internet: the ITU Council Progress
Report to the next Plenipotentiary Conference, and the Annual Reports
by the Secretary-General to the ITU Council, both on Guadalajara
Resolution 139.

Further items to be reviewed with an eye for understanding how
well the existing proceedings address this concern include:

?The social connectivity indicators mentioned in WTDC Resolution 37

The work of the flagship groups mentioned in WTSA Resolution 17

The Digital Solidarity Agenda, including the Geneva Plan
of Action, the outcomes of the Connect Africa summit and the Connect
CIS summit, the Tunis Agenda and the Strategic Plan for the Union for
2012-2015, as alluded to in WTDC 37 and Guadalajara 139

Various Antalya Plenipotentiary Resolutions cited by WTSA
17, including Resolutions 22, 25, 71, 123, 136 and 137

Other Plenipotentiary Resolutions cited by Guadalajara
139, including Kyoto Resolution 24, on the role of ITU in the
development of world telecommunications, Marrakesh Resolutions 31 and
129, on telecommunication infrastructure and ICTs for socio-economic
and cultural development, and bridging the digital divide, Antalya
Resolution 139, Doha Resolution 37, and Guadalajara Resolutions 30 and
143

Bridging the Standardization Gap

Guadalajara Resolution 123 and WTSA Resolutions 44, 45 and 54 fit
under the heading of bridging the standardization gap between
developed and developing nations

Lack of References to the Internet in Relation to Bridging the
Standardization Gap

Both Guadalajara Resolution 123 and WTSA Resolution 44 present
the role of ITU-T in bridging the standardization gap between
developed and developing countries in relation to the general term
“information and communication network infrastructure and
applications,” citing the Strategic Plan for the Union for 2012-2015.
Neither the Strategic Plan nor these two resolutions incorporate
recognition of the unique character of the Internet in their
presentation of the mission of narrowing the standardization gap in
service of the ITU’s goal of facilitating worldwide standardization of
telecommunications.

Guadalajara 123 cites the strategic goal of ITU-D under the
Strategic Plan of bridging the digital divide by enabling
socio-economic development through telecommunications/ICTs. And WTSA
44 cites ITU Council Resolution 1353 as identifying telecommunications
and ICTs as essential components for sustainable development in
developed and developing countries, and as instructing the
Secretary-General and the Directors of the Bureaus to identify ways to
support developing countries in achieving sustainable development
through telecommunications and ICTs. Again, both resolutions use
general terms without referencing the unique character and
contributions of the Internet in relation to development.

These two resolutions, and the Strategic Plan and Council
Resolution 1353, should be revised to describe standardization
initiatives and their relationship to the development initiatives of
the Information Society with specific reference to the unique
characteristics of the Internet as well as other types of networks
under the general term “telecommunications/ICTs.”

WTSA 44 should specifically reference the distinction between
the Internet and other types of networks designed to support various
specialized functions as of particular import to the activities of the
Directors of the Bureaus and the implementation group established
within the TSB to implement WTSA 44 and its Action Plan. This includes
assisting developing countries with studies on priority questions,
developing implementation guidelines for relevant ITU-T
Recommendations, drafting guidelines for national application of ITU
Recommendations, supporting regional mobilization of standardization,
conducting studies on innovation as related to bridging the
standardization gap, institutionalizing terms of reference for TSAG
and ITU-T study groups, providing education and training on
implementation of ITU-T Recommendations, conducting workshops and
seminars on new Recommendations, and in reporting on effectiveness of
regional groups to the ITU Council, as well as on the implementation
of the WTSA 44 Action Plan to future WTSAs and Plenipotentiary
Conferences.

The reporting mechanisms on the implementation of WTSA 44 that
Guadalajara 123 instructs the Secretary-General and the Directors of
the Bureaus to improve should incorporate recognition of the distinct
characteristics of the Internet. The report and advice that WTSA 44
invites the ITU Council to provide to the 2014 Plenipotentiary
Conference should reflect this recognition as well.

WTSA 44 also invites the Council to establish a panel on
stimulating ICT innovations. This provision should be revised to
invite the Council “to encourage the establishment of a specialised
panel, under ITU-T, on stimulating ICT innovations in both the
contexts of general purpose internetworking among autonomous providers
and of networks that support more specialized functions, with the
objective of enhancing global collaborative innovation to bridge the
standardization gap between developed and developing countries and to
identify and support innovations from developing countries”

Strategic and High Priority Issues in Standardization

WTSA 44 instructs the Director of the TSB, in collaboration
with the other Bureaus, to assist developing countries in studies on
their priority questions, with an eye to developing and implementing
ITU-T Recommendations.

WTSA Resolutions 45 and 54 list a number of high priority
standardization issues, both starting with NGNs or future networks.
These priorities could lead to misunderstanding unless we clearly
articulate key characteristics of the Internet. Priority questions and
studies on them should distinguish between concerns that pertain to
the Internet, which supports general purpose interoperation among
autonomous networks, and those that pertain to networks that support
specialized functions not readily supported by general purpose
interoperation among autonomous networks.

WTSA 45 notes the call in Guadalajara Resolution 122, for the
WTSA to address strategic issues in standardization, concludes that
ITU-T activities on high priority standardization issues should
identify high level objectives and priorities for ITU-T studies from a
global standpoint, based on taking into account the interests of
developing countries and encouraging their involvement, and instructs
the Telecommunications Standardization Advisory Group (TSAG) to ensure
coordination between study groups on high priority standardization
issues, taking into account advice from groups established to
coordinate high priority and joint standardization topics.

Recognition of impacts on the Internet should be identified as
a high-level objective and priority for ITU-T standardization studies,
and coordination of standardization initiatives should concentrate on
assuring that a basis is established to allow identification of the
impact that standards may have on the Internet. ITU-T should recognize
that the interests of developing countries can be understood in terms
of end user and independent provider empowerment as a result of the
general purpose platform made possible by IP. Strategic and high
priority issues in standardization should distinctly emphasize
empowerment of end users, independent providers, and a communications
platform that is general purpose and supports diversity of
applications while also enabling competition among providers while
supporting one platform.

The standardization and development initiatives of the
Information Society must recognize these characteristics of the
Internet as particularly important concerns for developing countries,
along with initiatives that may be geared toward other types of
networks.

There are very active constituencies in the US seeking the
establishment of a telecommunications policy framework in the US that
supports the Internet by enabling competition among independent
providers at the physical layer, and the advice of these proponents
should be recognized as a priority and applied by TSAG as an explicit
consideration within its mandate to coordinate standardization topics.

Regional Group Terms of Reference and Mobilization Programs

WTSA 44and 54 both invite regions and their Member States to
develop draft terms of reference and working methods for regional
groups, and WTSA 44 resolves that vice-chairs and chairs from
developing countries in TSAG and ITU-T study groups should develop
mobilization programs for their regions and make mobilization and
participation reports to the ITU.

These regional group terms of reference should reflect the
distinction between the Internet, which supports interoperation among
autonomous networks, and networks that support specialized functions
not readily supported by general purpose interoperation among
autonomous networks, and should reference the nature of the
communications environment in terms of whether it supports
interoperation among competing providers at the physical layer, or is
characterized by few providers only supporting an intranet

These regional mobilization programs and reports should be
articulated with reference to the type of networks their countries and
regions support, specifically whether they support interoperation
among autonomous providers readily entering and competing at the
physical layer throughout their countries or regions, or whether they
have few providers at the physical layer in any given area, with
telecommunications initiatives chiefly arranged through those
providers.

Other Standardization Gap Items to Review

??The Standardization Gap resolutions reference two items to
be prepared for presenting at upcoming occasions, which should address
the need to identify impacts on the Internet: the ITU Council Report,
with Advice, to the next Plenipotentiary Conference, and the Reports
by the TSB and other Bureaus to future WTSAs and Plenipotentiary
Conferences, both on WTSA Resolution 44

?Further items to be reviewed with an eye for understanding
how well the existing proceedings address this concern, all referred
to by WTSA 44, include:

ITU Council Resolution 1353

Annual reviews of WTSA 44

Conclusions of the Global Standardization Symposium

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