International Telecommunication Union ITU

International Telecommunication Union (ITU)

 

an international intergovernmental organization. It was established in Paris on May 17, 1865, by 22 states, including Russia. Until 1932 it was called the International Telegraph Union. In 1947 it became a specialized agency of the United Nations. As of Jan. 1, 1974, 141 nations were members of the ITU (the USSR has been a member since 1925).

According to the statutes of the International Telecommunication Union, its objectives are to aid in the development of international cooperation for the improvement and rational use of all types of telecommunication, including telegraph, telephone, and radio; to improve telecommunication services and broaden their public use; and to coordinate the work of member nations in this field. The union assigns radio frequencies to individual nations and records the assignments; coordinates the measures taken to eliminate interference in the operation of radio stations in various countries; furthers international cooperation in setting the lowest possible charges for the use of various types of telecommunication; supports adoption of measures providing safety in the use of telecommunication; conducts research and makes recommendations, including those dealing with methods and norms of space communications; and collects and publishes information concerning telecommunication for all members.

The supreme governing body of the International Telecommunication Union is the Plenipotentiary Conference, which consists of representatives of all members and usually convenes once every five years. It reviews international telecommunication conventions, enters into agreements with other intergovernmental organizations, and elects other main bodies of the union, such as the Administrative Council, and also the secretary general and his deputy. The Administrative Telegraph and Telephone Conferences and the Administrative Radio Conference usually take place at the same time as the Plenipotentiary Conference. These conferences review telephone, telegraph, and radio regulations and elect the members of the International Frequency Registration Board (five members chosen from among specialists in the area, based on equitable geographic representation).

Among the permanent bodies of the International Telecommunication Union are the International Telegraph and Telephone Consultative Committee, the International Radio Consultative Committee, the International Frequency Registration Board, and the General Secretariat. The consultative committees develop technical standards and recommendations dealing with equipment, charges for services, and operational norms for telecommunication.

The Administrative Radio Conferences of 1963 and 1971, which dealt with problems of radio communication, allocated frequency bands for various space radio communication and radio astronomy services, established the registration procedure for frequencies used in such services, and adopted technical recommendations on the use of space for radio and television broadcasting.

A large part of the work of the International Telecommunication Union is devoted to rendering technical aid to the developing countries, including cooperation in the development of regional telecommunication networks in Africa, Asia, and Latin America.

E. S. PCHELINTSEV

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