Originally published: December 8, 2012
Last updated: December 8, 2012 - 1:30pm
Member countries of the International Telecommunication Union are holding a series of informal meetings over the weekend to try to reach consensus on the scope of the treaty, among other matters. Delegates have been meeting around the clock to complete their work on the treaty before the conference ends.
Despite the time crunch, ITU Secretary General Hamadoun Touré expressed confidence that member countries would find consensus on whether the treaty would apply to so-called operating agencies, which include players from the Internet sector. Members of the U.S. delegation, led by Ambassador Terry Kramer, are pushing back against proposals from Russia and other countries that want to include measures in the treaty that apply to the Internet. But there's still another battle brewing on the horizon for the US. The conference has not yet turned its attention to a proposal that Google fears would require its video-sharing service, YouTube, and other data-heavy websites to pay tolls in order for content to be delivered across borders. The search giant has warned users about the proposal, known as "sending party network pays," in an online advocacy campaign it rolled out before the conference kicked off. Google has argued that this proposal would limit people's access to information, especially in developing countries, and threatens the future of a "free and open" Internet. Touré said that the member countries have not yet started discussions on payment issues. He said he hopes countries can find consensus on a proposal that sparks investment in telecommunications networks.
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