17 Dec 2012
Former ITU policy chief Anthony Rutkowski says the WCIT-12 controversy reveals just how broken the ITU is as a regulatory organization apart from global spectrum coordination.
Other critics foresee the possibility of the internet splitting into factions – namely, those who signed the WCIT-12 treaty, and everyone else. The Economist describes it as a “digital cold war”, not least because, by perhaps no coincidence, the US and China are on opposite sides of the debate.
For all that, the short-term impact of WCIT-12 will be minimal. For a start, the treaty itself doesn’t take effect until the start of 2015. Meanwhile, signatories will have to ratify the treaty in their own domestic governments, which is going to take a couple of years.
Also, most naysayers seem to be dithering over the “possible” consequences of WCIT-12, yet some of them (including Ambassador Kramer) also admit there’s a pretty big gap between what’s “possible” and what’s “likely”.
Still, it’s fair to say that WCIT-12 has essentially created two international regulatory frameworks – the updated ITRs signed by 89 countries in Dubai last Friday, and the 1988 ITRs. How that will hold up both legally and practically is anyone’s guess at this stage.
But it could make things particularly confusing in APAC, where the Final Acts document received wide support.
APAC signatories include Bangladesh, Brunei Darussalam, China, Indonesia, Malaysia, Nepal, Papua New Guinea, Singapore, Sri Lanka, Thailand and Vietnam.
APAC countries that refused to sign it: Australia, India, Japan, New Zealand and the Philippines.