International Telecommunication Union

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ITU is the abbreviation for International Telecommunications Union. It is the leading agency of the United Nations handling the information and communication technology issues. It is also the most important agency for private sectors and governments all across the world in developing networks and services. Headquartered in Geneva, Switzerland, the ITU is dedicated towards connecting the entire world through the various means of communications. [1]


The history of ITU dates back to the nineteenth century. The ITU was established in the year 1865 and was one of the oldest international organizations in the entire fraternity of the United Nations (UN). Ever since its establishment, the ITU until now has facilitated the information and communications industry in many ways. Right from the invention of electric telegraph in the year 1837 to organizing worldwide and regional exhibitions and forums, the ITU has been involved in bringing together government representatives from all around the world to share their knowledge, ideas and technology for the benefit of the global community especially the developing world. [1] [2] [3]


Ensuring the growth of and sustainable development of information and telecommunications network is the main mission of ITU. It also want to facilitate the universal access of technology to all people so that they are able to participate as well as benefit from the evolving information society and global economy. [4]


The ITU welcomes governments as well as private organizations. The governments can join the ITU as Member States whereas the organizations can join the ITU as Sector Members. [5]Currently the ITU has 192 Member States and 535 Sector Members [6]. This really makes the ITU an ideal forum wherein the governments and private sector players can come together and discuss policy frameworks as well as set agendas that would have substantial impact on the global business in the future.

ITU Sectors

The ITU comprises of four sectors – Standardization, Radio Communication and Development and ITU Telecom. Each of these sectors specializes in policy-related or technical issues in their area of interest. Each sector is led by a director who directly reports to the ITU Deputy Secretary General and the Secretary General. [7]

Standardization: This sector of ITU is responsible for the production of sophisticated and globally accepted telecommunication standards and related documents which are not under the purview of the ITU Radio-communication Sector. [7]

Radio-communication: This sector is charged with managing the satellite orbit resources and international radio-frequency spectrum.[1] It also studies and provides necessary recommendations on issues related to radio-communication, ensures effective allocation of band of the radio-frequency system and works towards eliminating the interference between radio stations of different countries and enhance the use of geostationary satellite orbit. [7]

Development sector: This sector sees to it that there is equal, affordable as well as sustainable access to information and communication technologies (ICTs).

ITU Telecom: This sector works towards bringing together the top names among the entire ICT industry. It also brings together the regulators as well as the top-level ministries on one platform such as a major exhibition or other opportunities. [7]

Relation with ICANN

In the year 2005, ITU signed a MoU with the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN). This MoU was signed to supersede and suspend the MoU which ICANN had with the U.S. Department of Commerce (DOC). The main motive behind signing the MoU with ITU was ICANN wanted to adopt some of the good practices such as charging for access to documents and charging for membership so that they are able to make up for the publication costs, which would ultimately help to ease the budget pressures. [8]