ITU: Progress on ROAs vs. OA Debate at WCIT-12 Conference

Expected To Be Addressed in Today's General Session in Dubai
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There has been some progress on the debate over whether to expand the definition of recognized operating agencies (ROA) to include operating agencies, according to an ITU official briefing reporters Tuesday on the WCIT-12 treaty conference in Dubai.

The U.S. has been firm on its position that the definition remain ROA so that the entities to treaties cover are not expanded beyond telecom networks into broadband content providers and beyond telecom into Internet governance, as some countries have pushed for.

Paul Conneally of the ITU said that while discussions continued on ROA vs. OA, "I do believe we can say that progress has been made on that, with more countries one of the propositions." He did not say which one was getting more traction, but that was expected to be taken up at a plenary session Tuesday. "We may even have a conclusion to that [Tuesday]," he said.

The U.S. was also concerned that the members of the conference would try to use concerns about the cost of data roaming to get into price controls, but according to Conneally there was initial consensus on text that would simply say that member states "shall encourage competition for international roaming," with a view to keeping user prices down.

The conference is scheduled to end Friday.