WCIT Ambassador Kramer: Reports of Failure Are Highly Overrated

Says progress has been made in preserving existing telecom definitions and determining who treaties apply to
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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 L. 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.

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