Skip to Content

What does the failure of the UN telecom treaty mean for Canada?

CIRA’s CEO offers first-hand insight

OTTAWA – December 17, 2012 – Byron Holland, President and CEO of The Canadian Internet Registration Authority (CIRA), is available today to put into perspective the outcome of last week’s World Conference on International Telecommunications (WCIT-12) and explain its significance to Canadians.

From December 3 to 14, the United Nations’ International Telecommunication Union (ITU), hosted in Dubai delegates from more than 190 nations to revise the standards that govern communications around the world. This process was last carried out in 1988, when the Internet was still in its infancy and few could predict the impact it would have on global society.

While the purpose of WCIT-12 was to create a new treaty to manage the international interconnection and interoperability of information and communication services, it was Internet governance and regulation that took the spotlight. A group of ITU member states that included China, Russia and Algeria proposed provisions to the treaty that have been perceived as a means for individual governments to gain greater control over the Internet. These provisions were opposed by an alliance that included Canada, the U.S., the U.K., and other nations. Consequently, a new telecom treaty was not approved.

According to a statement released Thursday by Canada’s Industry Minister, Christian Paradis:

“Canada endeavoured to reach consensus on new ... regulations that recognized advances in telecommunications while maintaining an open, accessible Internet. The final treaty text tabled in Dubai included provisions that threaten these freedoms and, as a result, Canada and many other nations were unable to sign on to these new regulations.”

Holland was part of the Canadian delegation to WCIT-12 and observed the proceedings. As a result of his unique perspective in Dubai, he can discuss:

  • How Internet governance and regulation came to dominate the conference.
  • Why a new treaty was rejected by the alliance that included Canada.
  • What this outcome means for the future of the Internet.
  • Why these issues are critical to Canadians.

Holland has a wealth of experience in Canadian and international Internet governance. He is vice-chair of the Country Codes Name Supporting Organization (ccNSO), the body that represents the interests of all country code top-level domains and leads policy development initiatives at the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN). Holland is also an active participant in the United Nations co-ordinated Internet Governance Forum, and other Internet governance fora.

To arrange an interview please contact Tanya O’Callaghan or Leo Valiquette at the coordinates below.

About CIRA

The Canadian Internet Registration Authority is the Member-driven organization that manages Canada’s .CA domain name registry, develops and implements policies that support Canada’s Internet community, and represents the .CA registry internationally.

For more information, please contact:

Tanya O’Callaghan
Communications Manager, Canadian Internet Registration Authority
(613) 237-5335 ext. 262
tanya.ocallaghan@cira.ca

Leo Valiquette
inmedia Public Relations
(613) 769-9479
lvaliquette@inmedia.com