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Telecommunications and the Internet

Challenges to the Network

image of Telecommunications and the Internet

This report, prepared by ITU, was released to coincide with the TELECOM Interactive 97 Exhibition and Forum, held in Geneva, 8-14 September 1997. The report looks at the relationship between the Internet and the public telecommunication sector.

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The Internet phenomenon

The telecommunications industry in the late 1990s is almost unrecognisable from that of a decade earlier. Ten years ago, mobile communications were restricted to a few consumers in a handful of countries; digitisation programmes were just beginning; and the majority of Public Telecommunication Operators (PTOs) were still state-owned monopolies. Today, all this has changed. Mobilephones are a familiar sight on the streets of the big cities of both the developed and the developing world; digitisation programmes are on schedule for being completed in most countries by the turn of the century, and a majority of telecommunication traffic now passes over networks which are privately-owned and operated. At the start of 1998, when the World Trade Organisation (WTO) Agreement on basic telecommunications comes into force, more than 90 per cent of the global market for telecommunication services will be in countries that either allow competition, or have committed to allow competition in the near future.

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