Close of WTSA-12 marks the start of a new era for ITU-T

WTSA-12 Closing Ceremony

WTSA-12 Closing Ceremony: Mr Brahima Sanou, Director of the Telecommunication Development Bureau; Mr Mohamed Al Ghanim, Director General, TRA, UAE; Mr Malcolm Johnson, Director of the Telecommunication Standardization Bureau; Mr Mohammed Gheyath, TRA, UAE, Chairman WTSA-12; Mr Gheyath’s father; Dr Hamadoun Touré, Secretary General, ITU; Mr Houlin Zhao, Deputy Secretary General, ITU; and Mr Francois Rancy, Director of the Radiocommunication Bureau

Adopting six new Resolutions, ITU’s membership has called on ITU-T to expand its work on e-health, software-defined networking (SDN) and e-waste. In addition, members have called for the establishment of a Review Committee to ensure that ITU-T’s structure continues to meet the needs of the continually evolving and convergent ICT landscape, particularly as collaboration with vertical markets increases. This will help to enable such innovations as e-health, intelligent transport systems, smart grid, mobile money and e-learning.

WTSA-12 was the best-attended Assembly yet, attracting over 1000 participants from 101 countries. The Assembly appointed four new Chairs and more than fifty new Vice-chairs to ITU-T’s expert groups, and deliberations over the last ten days have taken into account over 240 documents in over 30 different working groups.

WTSA-12 also called on ITU-T to ensure that new ITU standards (ITU-T Recommendations) are accompanied by implementation guidelines, and another Resolution invites ITU Member States to refrain from taking any unilateral and/or discriminatory actions that could impede access to Internet sites or resources.

Read the full press release here.

ITU members resolve to end discriminatory access to the Internet

WTSA-12 has adopted a Resolution inviting ITU Member States to refrain from taking any unilateral and/or discriminatory actions that could impede another Member State from accessing public Internet sites and using resources, within the spirit of Article 1 of the Constitution and the WSIS principles.

Noting the global and open nature of the Internet as a driving force in accelerating progress towards development in its various forms and that discrimination regarding access to the Internet could greatly affect developing countries; Resolution 69, “Non-discriminatory access and use of Internet resources,” invites affected ITU Member States to report to ITU on any unilateral and/or discriminatory actions that could impede another Member State from accessing public Internet sites and using resources, within the spirit of Article 1 of the Constitution and the WSIS principles.

The adoption of Resolution 69 underlines ITU’s commitment to a free and inclusive information society and sends a strong message to the international community in response to accusation that ITU’s membership wishes to restrict the freedom of speech.

ITU’s work, along with many others, has played a key role in enabling the Internet. Without ITU standards providing the access technologies to homes and businesses and the transport mechanisms to carry information from one side of the world to another, the broadband services that we have come to rely on would simply not work.

Also see ITU Press Release.

Plenipot goes “Busan style” in 2014

Introducing Busan, host city of ITU Plenipotentiary Conference 2014

These representatives of Korea Communications Commission used the buzz of WTSA-12 to introduce delegates to Busan, host city of ITU Plenipotentiary Conference 2014.

Busan is located on the south-eastern tip of the Korean Peninsula. The country’s second largest city is known for its seafood, beautiful beaches, hot springs and scenic mountains.

The Plenipotentiary Conference is where ITU Member States decide on the future role of the organization. Plenipot is the top policy-making body of the ITU. Held every four years, it:

PP-14 will take place from 20 October to 7 November 2014 at BEXCO (Busan Exhibition and Convention Center).

SDN Resolution to boost Internet’s agility

A weekend full of concentrated work in ad-hoc and drafting groups has resulted in the adoption of new Resolutions, the latest targeting Software-defined Networking (see earlier article on an e-waste Resolution).

Pending WTSA-12 Plenary approval, the new Resolution on Software-defined Networking (SDN) instructs ITU-T Study Group 13 (Future Networks including mobile and NGN) to expand and accelerate its work in the SDN domain.

In the world of computer networking, 2012 saw few terms gain as much traction as SDN. As new devices and users have connected and traffic figures continue to rise, networks have become increasingly complex, error-prone and difficult to manage. Thus, in the interests of greater speed and flexibility in routing instructions, security and energy management of network equipment such as routers and switches, SDN proposes to decouple the control and data planes and allow for programmable interfaces to these planes, i.e. letting software do the job traditionally performed by the control plane.

In some ways, SDN resembles the basic principles of cloud computing that have led to flexibility, cost efficiency and manageability of computation and storage resources through virtualization.

SDN emerged from Stanford University in 2009 and the standards formulated around it are maintained by the Open Networking Foundation (ONF).

During the last study period (2009-12) ITU-T Study Group 13 initiated two SDN work items (SDN framework for carrier networks; requirements of formal specification and verification methods for SDN) and more are soon expected to emerge, alongside corresponding work in other ITU-T study groups. SDN was a hot topic at last week’s CTO meeting, where high-level industry representatives recommended that ITU-T collaborate with academia and relevant forums such as ONF, and that it conduct studies into the impact of SDN for developing countries.

In the video below: Nick McKeown (Stanford University): How SDN will Shape Networking

New Resolution to clean up e-waste

Committee 4 has agreed a new Resolution on e-waste, charging ITU to strengthen its activities in this arena and to assist ITU Member States in instituting policy frameworks that limit e-waste’s negative environmental effects.

The Resolution arrives against a backdrop of a rapidly progressing ICT industry, increasing consumption of electrical and electronic equipment (EEE) and a marked increase in e-waste, which, as a result of global mismanagement, has led to negative environmental and health effects, particularly in developing countries.

Pending final WTSA-12 Plenary approval, “The role of telecommunications/ICT in handling and controlling e-waste from telecommunications/ICT equipment and methods of treating it” instructs the Director of TSB, Malcolm Johnson, to collaborate with Brahima Sanou, Director of ITU’s Telecommunication Development Bureau, to advance ITU’s on-going activities in this regard, to assist developing countries in their assessment of e-waste challenges, and to lead global efforts combatting and raising awareness around e-waste’s adverse effects.

The Resolution calls on ITU-T Study Group 5 (Environment and Climate Change) to document and develop best-practice models of handling, controlling, treating and recycling e-waste, and to reflect the resulting findings in international standards (ITU-T Recommendations). SG 5 is in addition instructed to study the e-waste impacts resulting from developed countries’ exports of used telecommunications/ICT equipment to developing nations.

More on ITU-T and climate change here…

Compromise found, ITU standard for remote management of network access devices approved

Mr Yoichi Maeda, Chairman, ITU-T Study Group 15, addressing the WTSA-12 Plenary

Mr Yoichi Maeda, Chairman, ITU-T Study Group 15, addressing the WTSA-12 Plenary

ITU-T Study Group 15 Chairman, Yoichi Maeda, today presented a compromise proposal developed by several delegations which cleared the way for approval of Recommendation ITU-T G.9980. The standard defines requirements for service providers’ remote management of networked devices in customers’ homes.

The compromise was achieved after including a statement in the scope of the Recommendation which reminds implementers and users to comply with all applicable national and regional laws, regulations and policies.

Recommendation ITU-T G.9980 Remote management of CPE over broadband networks – CPE WAN Management Protocol (CWMP) is based on a Broadband Forum protocol commonly referred to as TR-069. The protocol may be used to manage various types of customer premises equipment (CPE), including stand-alone routers and LAN-side client devices. Functionalities include:

  • auto-configuration and dynamic service provisioning;
  • software/firmware image management;
  • status and performance monitoring;
  • diagnostics.

Though it depends on IP-layer connectivity, CWMP is agnostic to the specific access medium utilized by the service provider.

Recommendation ITU-T G.9980 will be made available free of charge at

e-health: Committee 4 approves new Resolution

e-health, the use of ICTs in healthcare, has been a strong feature of this Assembly. The extensive discussion in GSS and a dedicated side event complement the Committee 4 agreement on a new Resolution on e-health.

Pending final WTSA-12 Plenary approval, Information and communication technology applications and standards for improved access to e-health services instructs the Director of TSB, Malcolm Johnson, to collaborate with Brahima Sanou, Director of ITU’s Telecommunication Development Bureau, to prioritize and coordinate work on e-health in the years to come.

The Resolution will act as the catalyst for the initiation of new work in various ITU-T Study Groups, in particular SG16 (multimedia), SG11 (protocols) and SG17 (security), as well as increased interaction with WHO and other organizations addressing ICT healthcare standards. ITU-T’s Focus Group on the machine-to-machine service layer (FG M2M) was established in January 2012 and initially addresses healthcare services enabled by M2M, e.g., remote patient monitoring and ambient assisted living.

Security standards for e-health communications, services, databases, records handling, identification and authentication were among the priorities identified at Tuesday’s e-health side event and are reflected in the proposed Resolution.

ITU’s Technology Watch report on e-health standards and interoperability by Dr Laura DeNardis (American University, Washington, DC) gives an insight into some of the latest trends in e-health and explains how standards facilitate the adoption of related services.

Telecommunications crucial when disaster strikes

Debris Field

Hurricane Sandy aftermath, November 2012, Union Beach, New Jersey, United States of America. Photo by Liz Roll/FEMA

Recent events have clearly demonstrated the need for telecommunications networks to be resilient to natural and human-induced disasters, as they are critical to rescue efforts and restoring normality in the wake of disasters.

The third and last side event – 23 November, 18h00, Room E – will review aspects of network resilience and telecoms infrastructure recovery following disasters and how these requirements can be reflected in ICT standardization. In addition, the panel will showcase ICTs supporting disaster relief for individuals (e.g., to enable victims to notify next of kin) and disaster relief guidance (e.g., to guide those affected to evacuation shelters or hospitals).

Opening remarks will be delivered by Mr Hideo Fuseda, Director, Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications, Japan. Mr Noriyuki Araki, Chairman of ITU-T Focus Group on disaster relief systems, network resiliency and recovery, will share experiences from the Great East Japan Earthquake and introduce recent R&D activities on technologies for network resilience and recovery. Mr Leo Lehmann, a Focus Group Vice-chairman, will give an overview of related work in ITU and other organizations.

The next official meeting of the Focus Group on disaster relief systems, network resiliency and recovery will take place 11-13 December 2012 in Istanbul, Turkey, kindly co-hosted by the Information and Communication Technologies Authority, Turkey, and Istanbul Technical University. A workshop on disaster relief will take place on the first day (11 December), and both the workshop and the Focus Group meeting will be free of charge and open to non-members of ITU.

Details are available on the Focus Group website.

USD 5,000 for your innovative app

ICT Innovation App ChallengeA cash prize of USD 5,000 is offered to the winner of a new ITU Application Challenge seeking to uncover apps extending the reach of mobile health, mobile money, e-learning, e-government and intelligent transport systems.

The ICT Innovation Application Challenge was launched tonight at the ICT Innovations side event. The challenge aims to promote sustainable, equitable economic growth in emerging economies by unearthing apps targeting the social and economic inclusion of traditionally underserved communities.

More at