Executives participating in workshops to lay the groundwork for revisions to the International Telecommunications Regulations (ITR) promulgated by the International Telecommunications Union (ITU) agreed that the promotion of mobile broadband and the Internet should be at the center of any regulatory framework that adheres to the ITR’s multi-stakeholder approach adopted two decades ago. Convened this week in Brussels, the workshops are intended to set the stage for ITR updates that are slated for debate at the World Conference on International Telecommunications (WCIT) later this year. Malcolm Johnson, the director of the International Telecommunications Union Telecommunication Standardization Bureau, termed the ITR as “the only truly global treaty on international telecommunications,” as he advised workshop participants that the ITR, last amended in 1988, are “well out of date.” Characterizing the previous ITR update as “a success of historic proportions,” USTelecom President Walter McCormick advised workshop participants that the flexible regulatory framework adopted in 1988 “laid the foundation for the growth and development of the Internet” and that any alteration of that framework should be undertaken with the view that the first responsibility of governments is “to do no harm.” Johnson observed that issues of importance for the upcoming WCIT also include “the right to communicate, security in the use of [information and communications technology] . . . taxation, international roaming, misuse and hijacking of international numbers and interoperability.” McCormick argued that detailed rules for international switched voice communications should be scrapped, as the Internet has emerged as “the communications medium of the 21st century.” While agreeing that long overdue revisions to the ITR present “an opportunity,” the chief of Samena, a consortium of 45 telecom operators from 25 nations in Africa, the Middle East and Asia, spotlighted the needs of millions of people worldwide who remain unserved by broadband, declaring: “we have to find a way to make broadband not a privilege but a right.”