2016 ITU World Telecommunications Standardisation Assembly - Yasmine Hammamet

The Tunisian city of Yasmine Hammament hosted from 25 October to 3 November the 2016 ITU World Telecommunications Standardisation Assembly (WTSA-16). The WTSA is the top body of the ITU Telecommunications Standardisation Sector (ITU-T) and is held every four years.

WTSA-16 approved 15 new resolutions and revised 31. The two ITU-T series-A recommendations, which align the Union’s work, were also subject to amendment. Five ITU standards were also approved for matters including international mobile roaming and internet exchange points.

The ITU-T members urged extension of the study of innovations in networks to achieve the performance goals of 5G systems and stressed the importance of standards for coordinated development of very high-speed networks, the Internet of Things, new video technologies and smart cities and communities. Consumer protection and the quality of service and experience of information and communication technologies were the focus of special attention, as well as digital financial inclusion, cloud computing to record commercial aircraft flight data, network interconnected automobiles and other mutually connected machines.

The ITU’s role in establishing the addressing architecture for digital objects (DOA) fell short of what its proponents advocated, despite reference to this architecture being expressed in one of the resolutions. Note that DOA, which was developed by one of the scientists who is recognised for and attributed the ‘invention’ of the internet, Robert Khan, may potentially be used to create a system parallel to the current Domain Name System.

Resolutions 47 (country codes of the high-level list of internet domains) and 48 (internationalised domain names) remained unchanged.

At the end of an Assembly difficult for all, Europe, represented by the European Conference of Postal and Telecommunications Administrations (CEPT) underscored the need to obtain consensus, emphasising that the ITU should be an organisation for producing technical and not political standards.