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UK Government Seeks Seat at the UN Telecoms Agency’s Council

Friday, July 9th, 2021 (3:36 pm) - Score 768
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The UK Government has today announced that it will run for election to the governing council of the United Nations (UN) telecoms agency – the International Telecommunications Union (ITU) – in order to have more of a say in future standards (broadband technologies etc.) and the allocation of global spectrum (mobile etc.), among other things.

As part of the Western European Regional Group (B), the United Kingdom will find itself competing for one of eight seats currently held by France, Italy, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Spain, Switzerland and Turkey. Naturally, since Brexit, the UK is seeking to assert its independence and this move surely feeds into that desire. But there may be more to it than that.

For example, several senior Government MPs have recently called for a new approach to the development of future 6G based mobile broadband technologies, which would aim to prioritise societal benefits over the usual focus on delivering “ever higher data [speeds] and ever higher spectrum bands” (here). Gaining a seat at the big table of the ITU would no doubt aid such endeavours.

Likewise, the UK Government’s move to help save broadband satellite operator OneWeb from bankruptcy last year could be another contributing factor, since the ITU also helps to agree crucial details about the orbits of such satellite platforms and constellations.

The announcement doesn’t say any of that, of course, but it does talk somewhat more ambiguously about helping to tackle the “growing demand for radio spectrum” and “closing the global digital divide by widening access to ICTs.” Likewise, there’s also some talk of addressing “global challenges“, such as increasing “prosperity in developing countries by taking steps to boost digital inclusion and skills.” All the usual stuff.

John Whittingdale, UK Minister for Media and Data, said:

“The UK has been heavily engaged in the work of the ITU since the age of the telegraph, but now we are running for a seat at the council so that we can champion the innovation of tomorrow across the globe and use it to tackle the world’s biggest challenges.

We share the ITU’s vision of connecting the world, and believe our breadth of expertise in science and technology has much to offer in making this bold ambition a reality.”

In order to be elected for a four-year term, the UK will need to secure enough votes from all 193 ITU Member States, which is usually conducted through a single round of voting. The countries obtaining the highest number of votes for each regional allocation will be elected.

Other current members of Council are:

Region A (Americas): Argentina, Bahamas, Brazil, Canada, Cuba, El Salvador, Mexico, United States, Paraguay

Region C (Eastern Europe and Northern Asia): Azerbaijan, Czech Republic, Poland, Romania, Russian Federation

Region D (Africa): Algeria, Burkina Faso, Côte d’Ivoire, Egypt, Ghana, Kenya, Morocco, Nigeria, Rwanda, Senegal, South Africa, Tunisia, Uganda

Region E (Asia and Australasia): Australia, China, India, Indonesia, Iran (Islamic Republic of), Japan, Korea (Republic of), Kuwait, Pakistan, Philippines, Saudi Arabia, Thailand, United Arab Emirates

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By Mark Jackson
Mark is a professional technology writer, IT consultant and computer engineer from Dorset (England), he also founded ISPreview in 1999 and enjoys analysing the latest telecoms and broadband developments. Find me on Twitter, , Facebook and Linkedin.
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7 Responses
  1. Jake4 says:

    Why is Turkey in the Western European Regional Group, surely they should be in Region C (Eastern Europe and Northern Asia).

    1. John H says:

      Depends on which Turkey, it has land both sides of the Bosporus so has claims for Europe and Asia.

  2. Buggerlugz says:

    Just watch them put another MP with zero technical know how into the position…..

    1. Yatta! says:

      Or a gross incompetent chum, who’s failed in all their previous jobs, e.g. Dido Harding.

      This administration should be known as the ‘Failed to the Top Club’, with Johnson being enthroned as its North Korean style ‘Eternal President’.

  3. Josh Welby says:

    It could even be Chris Grayling MP who destroyed the Benefit system
    and gave money away to Boats that did not Sail at all

  4. FTTP4WALESLOT3 says:

    Yeah, just as previous comment, I hope they don’t appoint a “run of the mill” beurocrat but rather somebody who already specialises in the Telecoms/ICT field.
    So, remind me again why the UK don’t have their feet under the table of this particular organisation already? Or is this article discussing who will lead it?
    “Competing for one of the eight seats”
    Where has the UK been until now? Please don’t say because of Brexit!
    The UK should already be apart of this UN Telecoms Council.

    1. 125us says:

      The answer is in the article.

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