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WCIT Ambassador Kramer: Reports of Failure are Highly Overrated

Sees Progress in Preserving Existing Telecom Definitions 12/05/2012 10:44 AM Eastern
Ambassador Terry Kramer, who is heading the U.S. Delegation to the World Conference on International Telecommunications (WCIT 12) in Dubai, says there have been inaccurate reports that the U.S. and Canada had failed in their proposal to hold early discussion on the scope of the International Telecom Regulations (ITRs).

The U.S. does not want the conference to expand its regs into Internet governance and oversight issues if it means granting governments more control over broadband content or transmissions.

In a statement emailed from Dubai Wednesday, Kramer said that progress had been made. He said that there had been "high-level discussions" on the proposal within the first two days of the conference, which started Dec. 3; that as a result of those discussions, the preamble to the ITR's had been retained with only "minor" changes; and that the definition of telecommunications in Article on of the regs had been retained unchanged.

He also said talks were continuing over which entities the treaty would apply to -- confining it to telecom companies or potentially expanding it to Web content/search providers. That included discussions by a working group reporting to the conference chairman, he said.

The U.S. continues to push for not expanding that definition.

"There has been no 'failure' to achieve U.S. objectives," he said. "[T]o the contrary, the WCIT has made progress on these issues, validating the proposal by the U.S. and Canada to address them early in the proceedings."

In an interview with WCIT organizers Tuesday, delegation member Ambassador Philip Verveer, U.S Coordinator for International Communications and Information Policy, said that he had reason to be confident there would be "no direct effort at affecting internet governance."

In a show of support for that U.S. effort, the House Wednesday unanimously approved a joint resolution supporting a multistakeholder model of Internet governance. The Senate passed it back in September.

September