A decision will be taken regarding changes to the International Telecommunications Regulations (ITR) treaty, which has not been revised since 1998, during the World Conference on International Telecommunications (WCIT) to be held in Dubai from December 3 to 14, 2012. US has already opposed the proposed handing over of the Internet to the UN. Only national governments are allowed to vote on the treaty but, as ENTO pays more than $70k annually to the ITU, it too has the right to participate in the WCIT and vote on the treaty.

ENTO has proposed measures that would effectively change the settlement-free peering arrangements between major Internet backbones, which to date is the most common type of interconnection [PDF] between major networks. The proposal put forward by the ENTO seeks 193 signatory countries to establish a new “sending party network pays” (SPNP) model for interconnection. Under this model, the high-volume Internet content providers will have to pay to EU companies as they will be responding to information requests from ENTO’s local customers. 

“The main aim is to promote, where appropriate, a charging principle which re‐aligns costs and revenues by assuring that the agents which take the economic decisions – in this case the routing decision – are accountable for the costs they incur”, notes ENTO in its proposal.

One would ask as to why ETNO wants SPNP model to replace the currently operational system which is functioning without any issues. The answer is probably because of the little margin with which EU operators provide voice, data and video connectivity to their clients. In the tightly-regulated EU market, carriers don’t have, in most cases, powers to decide on consumer pricing and network unbundling following which they are finding it difficult to generate profits.

This is where ETNO’s proposal makes sense as handing over the control to UN would enable it to persuade UN to mandate a new system whereby content providers will be charged to deliver network traffic requested by ETNO’s customers.