US Ambassador hits out at EU telcos' proposals to change rules on voice and data traffic

The US will not support changes to international telecommunications rules proposed by European telcos at a conference in December

The U.S. Ambassador to the European Union on Tuesday told European telecommunications operators why the U.S. will not support their proposals to change a treaty on the handling of international voice, data and video traffic.

The treaty on International Telecommunications Rules (ITRs) will be reviewed at the World Conference on International Telecommunications (WCIT-12) in Dubai in December, and lobbying has been intense.

The European Telecommunications Network Operators' Association (ETNO) has proposed changes to the rules in order to make the sending party network pays. It believes this change is necessary because content providers or over-the-top (OTT) services (so called because they run over the top of telecommunications operators' networks) are responsible for the vast amount of Internet traffic.

However, speaking at the ETNO Summit on Tuesday, Ambassador William Kennard said categorically, "The U.S. will oppose efforts to amend the ITRs." He said that this decision had been a unanimous one, not only within government and the U.S. administration, but also with civil society and U.S. businesses.

"We believe that the current system has worked well in the past and will work in the future. As we say in the U.S., if it's not broken don't fix it. Part of our position is based on the fact that we don't see how the ETNO proposal can work. We think it opens the door to a new approach to terminating traffic on the internet that is simply unworkable," he said.

Termination rates are the charges which one telecommunications operator charges to another for using its network.

ETNO argues that OTT services are getting a "free lunch" over their networks, but are not contributing to network investment. "ETNO is not asking for increased regulatory intervention, but aims to establish a reference for commercial negotiations. ETNO believes that fair compensation is received for carried traffic and operators' revenues should not be disconnected from the investment needs caused by rapid Internet traffic growth," said the organization in a statement.

Kennard also criticized the role of the International Telecommunication Union, the U.N. body responsible for the treaty, saying "compensation systems on the Internet are complex and it is not appropriate for a treaty-based organization to manage them." He added that he appreciated some of the concerns including the "specter of net neutrality", but added "we don't see a tsunami of regulation coming in".

As Kennard commented at the beginning of his speech, ETNO and the European telcos probably won't like what they hear from him.

Follow Jennifer on Twitter at @BrusselsGeek or email tips and comments to

Join the newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.
Rocket to Success - Your 10 Tips for Smarter ERP System Selection
Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Jennifer Baker

IDG News Service
Show Comments


James Cook University - Master of Data Science Online Course

Learn more >


Sansai 6-Outlet Power Board + 4-Port USB Charging Station

Learn more >



Back To Business Guide

Click for more ›

Brand Post

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles


PCW Evaluation Team

Louise Coady

Brother MFC-L9570CDW Multifunction Printer

The printer was convenient, produced clear and vibrant images and was very easy to use

Edwina Hargreaves

WD My Cloud Home

I would recommend this device for families and small businesses who want one safe place to store all their important digital content and a way to easily share it with friends, family, business partners, or customers.

Walid Mikhael

Brother QL-820NWB Professional Label Printer

It’s easy to set up, it’s compact and quiet when printing and to top if off, the print quality is excellent. This is hands down the best printer I’ve used for printing labels.

Ben Ramsden

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

Brainstorming, innovation, problem solving, and negotiation have all become much more productive and valuable if people can easily collaborate in real time with minimal friction.

Sarah Ieroianni

Brother QL-820NWB Professional Label Printer

The print quality also does not disappoint, it’s clear, bold, doesn’t smudge and the text is perfectly sized.

Ratchada Dunn

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

The Huddle Board’s built in program; Sharp Touch Viewing software allows us to easily manipulate and edit our documents (jpegs and PDFs) all at the same time on the dashboard.

Featured Content

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?