Administration to ITU: Multistakeholder Model Is Way to Go

Issue of international governance of Internet teed up for Dubai conference

The Obama Administration has submitted its initial input for
the upcoming ITU World Conference on International Telecommunications (WCIT) in
Dubai, and as expected it promotes the current multistakeholder model of
Internet governance, according to FCC chairman Julius Genachowski.

The U.S. is concerned about a push by China, Russia and some
Arab states for more UN involvement (ITU is a UN organization) in Internet
governance, and that some countries facing declining revenues from the exchange
of traditional phone traffic will want to charge for Internet connections to,
say, a Google or Facebook.

"Since the beginning of my Chairmanship, I have fought for
Internet freedom," said Genachowski in announcing the U.S. submission.
"Th  proposals by some countries to restrict the free flow of
information online would threaten one of the most powerful engines for global
economic growth and the spread of democracy in the  21st century. As
today's U.S. contribution makes clear, the WCIT must embrace the successes of
the last two decades of liberalization in telecommunications regulation and the
existing multi-stakeholder model of Internet governance to ensure continued
investment and growth of the Internet around the globe."

On Thursday, the Republican-controlled House passed a
resolution similarly championing the multistakeholder model, one of the few
issues that Republicans and Democrats are united on.

"The State Department, White House, Congress and the FCC have been working very well together to insure that the ITU powers are not expanded into the Internet sphere," said FCC Commissioner Robert McDowell, who has long been sounding the alarm about the threat to the multistakeholder model. "Today's submission is one part of a much larger effort to insure that we keep intergovernmental bodies out of the Internet'as wake. We should remain constantly vigilant to insure not even the slightest preemption of jurisdiction."