ETNO battles ITU over internet proposals
MEMBERS of the European Telecommunications Network Operators Association (ETNO) have kicked against the current proposals on internet development being proposed by the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) on its 193 member states across the world.
The ETNO argued that the current proposals when implemented could slow economic progress and raise costs on internet users who can least afford them and limit internet access in developing countries, particularly in Ghana, and Nigeria.
Examining the proposals which were submitted by ITU member states in Africa and the ETNO, a former Sri Lankan Telecommunication regulator, Dr. Rohan Samarajiva, said the proposals could artificially raise the cost of network interconnection, content delivery, and quality of service, and that these costs would ultimately be passed along to those least able to afford them or would result in exclusion from the Internet economy.
Among others, Samarajiva said the move by ITU would also raise the cost of content delivery, quality of service arguing that the costs would ultimately be passed along to those least able to afford them or would result in exclusion from the Internet economy.
In a statement to ItNews Ghana, Dr Samarajiva said the development needed thorough scrutiny and proper implementation.
“A Giant Step Backward or the Way Forward? An Analysis of Some Proposals before the WCIT,” said Dr Samarajiva pointing out when approved the development would open a door for the creation of a top-down, inflexible international regulatory regime for the Internet, much in conflict with the current framework that has enabled growth in access, innovation, entrepreneurship and economic activity.
ItNewsGhana gathered that the proposals are to be discussed extensively and voted on at the upcoming World Congress on International Telecommunications (WCIT-12) in Dubai this December.
The ETNO proposal would give increased regulatory oversight to the ITU, a step that was unnecessary and counterproductive to Internet growth worldwide, he said.
For instance, the Sri Lankan former telecom regulator, hinted that the contribution suggests the “sending party network pays rule,” which would force content providers to pay local telecom operators for the delivery of user-requested data, be implemented by the ITU body as opposed to commercial agreements”.
This he said, suggested a government-sanctioned leveraging tool that operators could use to extract high sums from content providers with no room for negotiation, which could result in the “balkanization” of the Internet, where the majority of multimedia applications are available only to wealthy countries.
The proposals also examined the Africa region, which aimed to expand International Telecommunication Regulation (ITR) definitions beyond traditional telephone regulations to encompass the larger ecosystem of the digital economy.
Dr Samarajiva said internet growth in Ghana, for instance, follows the trajectory of many developing countries in Africa and Southeast Asia, noting that 2010 to 2011, the ITU reported that Internet penetration in Ghana nearly doubled, increasing from 5.2 percent to 10 percent.
“Policies that reformed government-owned operators, promoted market entry and competition, and established regulatory mechanisms have resulted in a huge increase in telecom access in the developing world, and a regulatory overhaul that reverses this trend is backward-looking,” Dr Samarajiva added.
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