U.S. Hopeful WCIT Will Avoid Net Governance

Concerns Remain about Implicit, Rather than Explicit, Threats

Ambassador Philip Verveer, U.S Coordinator for International Communications and Information Policy, said in an interview Tuesday that he had reason to be confident there would be "no direct effort at affecting Internet governance" at the WCIT 12 international telecom treaty conference in Dubai, though there was still concern about indirect proposals.

Those, he said, could expand jurisdiction of international telecom regulations in ways the U.S. would find troubling, including affecting traffic management, the transmission architecture of the Internet or content control. Still, he said the U.S. remained optimistic that the conference ultimately will not "intrude into areas that would be a source of concern to us."

The chief concern of the U.S. is that legitimate issues like extending broadband to the unserved would be used to justify greater government control over the Net, rather than recognizing the value of a multistakeholder, private industry driven model.

"I think we are hopeful that the conference will deal explicitly or implicitly with the very legitimate questions of the availability and affordability of broadband, but will deal with these questions at least implicitly in terms of recognizing the advantages of privatized, liberalized approaches."

He said a successful conference would mean regulations not vastly different from the existing ones. "We have a winner and we ought to go with it."

The conference is scheduled to extend through Dec. 14. FCC chairman Julius Genachowski and Commissioner Robert McDowell are at the conference as part of a large U.S. presence.