International Telecommunication Union (ITU)
ITU provides more than 16,600 standards documents for international communications systems.
The International Telecommunication Union (ITU) is the United Nations specialized agency for information and communication technologies – ICTs. It allocates global radio spectrum and satellite orbits, develops the technical standards that ensure networks and technologies seamlessly interconnect, and strives to improve access to ICTs to underserved communities worldwide.
Founded in Paris in 1865 as the International Telegraph Union, ITU took its present name in 1934. In 1947, ITU became a specialized agency of the United Nations. ITU's mission is to enable the growth and sustained development of telecommunications and information networks, and to facilitate universal access so that people everywhere can participate in, and benefit from, the emerging information society and global economy. ITU's work helps deploy infrastructure, achieve connectivity, and provide efficient telecommunication services worldwide.
Every time someone picks up a telephone and dials a number, answers a call on a mobile, sends a fax or receives an e-mail, takes a plane or a ship, listens to the radio or watches a favorite television program, they benefit from the universal telecommunication and ICT frameworks put in place by the International Telecommunication Union (ITU). The basis of our social and economic life - and our lifestyles - are increasingly dependent on new, state-of-the-art information and communication technologies.
ITU has been at the cutting edge of information and communication technologies, defining and adopting the globally agreed technical standards that have allowed industry to interconnect people and equipment seamlessly around the world. It has also successfully regulated worldwide use of the radiofrequency spectrum, ensuring all international wireless communications remain interference-free to ensure the relay of vital information and economic data around the world.
Spearheading telecommunications development on a global scale, ITU also fosters the deployment of telecommunications in developing countries by advising on development policies, regulatory frameworks and strategies, and by providing specialized technical assistance in the areas of technology transfer, cybersecurity, management, financing, installation and maintenance of networks, disaster mitigation, and capacity building.
ITU's biggest achievement is undoubtedly the pivotal role it has played in the creation of the international telecommunications network - the largest man-made artifact ever created. Today, thanks to the advent of the Internet, mobile wireless telephony, convergence strategies and more, this network keeps us in touch, brings us world news and entertainment, provides access to a huge global store of information, and underpins the global economy. It would not exist without ITU's work.
As ITU expands its efforts to develop an enabling environment through policy and regulatory modernization and harmonization, the Union's priorities are to strengthen cybersecurity and emergency communications, to support the migration to next-generation networks (NSN), and to build capacity especially in least developed countries.