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DC Currents

There were two key themes at the IIC’s annual Telecommunications and Media Forum (TMF) in Washington, DC as Cristina Murroni reports.

DC Currents

Two main themes dominated discussions at the IIC’s yearly TMF event in Washington, DC: the evolution of global internet governance and the forthcoming incentive auction in the US. Delegates at the Washington offices of Verizon Communications were treated to a double keynote executive briefing on these issues.

Howard Symons (FCC) provided a detailed overview of the structured incentive auction planned for broadcast spectrum in the 600 MHz band. He explained that broadcasters who relinquish some of their spectrum in the reverse auction will be able to choose between sharing channels or moving to VHS, and will have 39 months to complete the transition. They will gain from the sale proceeds of the forward auction, while remaining on air, and some of the expenditure associated with moving bands or sharing channels will also be eligible for refunds.

Ambassador Daniel Sepulveda (US Coordinator for International Communications and Information Policy) gave a briefing on the ITU Plenipotentiary in Busan, Korea, the first high level meeting since the NetMundial initiative and the disagreements recorded in Dubai in 2012. After many months spent rebuilding relationships, according to Sepulveda, the outcome was positive: “Instead of acrimony, there was negotiation. Instead of votes, there was consensus.” Member states chose not to change the ITU’s constitution and convention, as the ITU has a vital role to play within its current legal remit, rather than expanding into internet content or core functionality. The meeting also saw the election of the ITU’s new management, and a commitment towards more transparent policies, whereby all stakeholders can participate in the work of the ITU.

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