1865 Paris

The Birth of the Union

image of 1865 Paris

On 17 May 1865, after two-and-a-half months of negotiations, the first real International Telegraph Convention was signed in Paris by its 20 founding members, thus creating the International Telegraph Union (predecessor of ITU). This first international convention provided a framework to standardize telegraphy equipment, set uniform operating instructions and laid down common international tariff and accounting rules. This publication describes the environment that led to the founding of ITU in 1865 and provides a fascinating look at the world of communications technologies 150 years ago and how many of the challenges that led to its creation remain today.




This year marks the 150th anniversary of the International Telecommunication Union. Since the first International Telegraph Convention was signed in 1865 to the present, our membership has grown from its original 20 to the current 193 Member States and over 700 Sector Members, Associates and Academia members. The story of ITU is one of international cooperation and collaboration amongst governments, private companies and other stakeholders in the information and communication technology (ICT) sector.


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