The UK has set its sights on a council seat at the UN’s International Telecommunications Union (ITU) after announcing it will run for the election due to take place in September 2022.
The ITU oversees allocation of global spectrum for radio waves and satellite orbits for devices such as mobile phones and GPS navigation.
Importantly, it also develops the technical telecommunication standards used by information and communication technologies (ICTs) around the world.
For example, the ITU introduced the concept of country codes for mobile phone numbers (e.g. +44 in the UK) to allow people to make a call to almost any country in the world.
Minister for media and data, John Whittingdale, 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.”
Being a member of the ITU’s governing council would advance UK efforts to support the ITU’s mission of ‘connecting the world’ whilst also tackling some of the biggest issues affecting the telecoms, tech and space sectors. These include the growing demand for radio spectrum as new wireless technologies emerge and closing the global digital divide by widening access to ICTs.
Should the UK successfully obtain a four-year term on the council, it would build on the country’s commitment to increasing prosperity in developing countries through digital inclusion and promoting collaboration among the ITU’s 193 member states.
“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,” concluded Whittingdale.
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