Who’s in Charge of the Internet, and Who Pays the Bills?

The 12-day World Conference on International Telecommunications will convene representatives from 190 countries next week in Dubai. It’s the first such assembly since 1988. Since then, the Internet has become a central driver of business and economic growth. Among the main topics of discussion: who maintains and pays for the Internet and what will become of network neutrality? As reported by Andrew Nusca of SmartPlanet, there are hints that Russia will seek to disrupt the established oversight of the Internet, posing a potential new threat to its apolitical expansion. Also at stake: extending Internet access to the 4.5 billion people in the world who don’t have it. At Techonomy 2011, International Telecommunications Union Secretary General Hamadoun Touré asserted that access to broadband should be an international human right. (See video.) Will the stakeholders that govern the Internet be able to broadly mandate this right?

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