Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
International Telecommunication Union
The International Telecommunication Union (ITU) is an international organization established to standardize and regulate international radio and telecommunications. It was founded as the International Telegraph Union in Paris in May 17, 1865, and is today the world's oldest international organization. Its main tasks include standardization, allocation of the radio spectrum, and organizing interconnection arrangements between different countries to allow international phone calls. (In which regard it performs for telecommunications a similar function to what the UPU performs for postal services.) It is one of the specialized agencies of the United Nations, and has its headquarters in Geneva, Switzerland, next to the main United Nations campus.
The international standards that are produced by the ITU are referred to as "Recommendations" (with the word ordinarily capitalized to distinguish its meaning from the ordinary sense of the word "recommendation"). Due to its longevity as an international organization and its status as a specialized agency of the United Nations, standards promulgated by the ITU carry a higher degree of formal international recognition than those of most other organizations that publish technical specifications of a similar form.
The work of the ITU is conducted by its members. As part of the United Nations structure, a country can be a member, in which case it is referred to as a Member State. Companies and other such organizations can hold other classes of membership referred to as Sector Member or Associate status. Sector and Associate memberships enable direct participation by a company in the development of standards (something not allowed in some other standards bodies such as ISO, where formal ballots are processed by a single entity per country and companies participate only indirectly through national delegations). Various parts of the ITU also maintaion liaison relationships with other organizations.
The ITU decides matters between states and private organizations through an extensive series of working parties, study groups, regional meetings, and world meetings.
- World Radiocommunications Conference (WRC)
- World Administrative Radio Conferences (WARC)
World Summit on the Information Society
The ITU is serving as the secretariat of the World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS).
- ITU official site
- ITU history from the official site
- U.N. Summit to Focus on Internet - Washington Post article about ICANN and the United Nations' ITU relationship
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