Today is a a big day for WCIT: Ambassador Kramer gave a major address on the US position and the Bono Mack resolution is up for a vote in the House. But don’t overlook this Portuguese language interview with ITU Secretary-General Hamadoun Touré.
In the interview, Secretary-General Touré says that we need $800 billion of telecom infrastructure investment over the next five years. He adds that this money is going to have to come from the private sector, and that the role of government is to adopt dynamic regulatory policies so that the investment will be forthcoming. It seems to me that if we want dynamism in our telecom sector, then we should have a free market in telecom services, unencumbered by…outdated international regulatory agencies such as the ITU.
The ITU has often insisted that it has no policy agenda of its own, that it is merely a neutral arbiter between member states. But in the interview, Secretary-General Touré calls the ETNO proposal “welcome,” categorically rejects Internet access at different speeds, and spoke in favor of global cooperation to prevent cyberwar. These are policy statements, so it seems clear that the ITU is indeed pursuing an agenda. And when the interviewer asks if Dr. Touré sees any risks associated with greater state involvement in telecom, he replies no.