Saturday, November 3, 2012

The Centenary of the International Telecommunication Union

Before going into the details of the International Telecommunication Union, it is perhaps best, for the benefit for those unfamiliar with this organization, to define the word "Telecommunication as "Any transmission, emission or reception of signs, signals, writing, images and sounds of intelligence of any nature by wire, radio, optical or other electromagnetic system". In other words, telegraph, telephone, radio and all their applications such as telex and television are encompassed in the field of Telecommunications.

Through these media it is possible for people to communicate with one another over vast distances. But difficulty is often met when it comes to crossing the man-made frontier between nations. This was clear right from the beginning, more than a hundred years ago people first started sending telegrams from one country to another (the telegrams had to be handed across the frontier). Some kind of international agreement was therefore necessary.

It was for this reason therefore, that the I.T.U. originated on 17th May. 1865 with the signing of the International Telegraph Convention. It is the oldest of intergovernmental organizations which have become specialized agencies in relation with the United Nations.

In 1876, the telephone was invented and then towards the close of the 19th Century, radio. These new communication media also became international and regulations were drawn up for their use.

An important step forward for the organization was taken in Madrid in 1932 when two plenipotentiary conferences were held - a Telegraph and Telephone Conference, and a Radio Telegraph Conference. On that occasion, the two conventions were amalgamated into a single "International Telecommunication Convention" and the countries which signed or acceded to it formed the International Telecommunication Union, replacing the Telegraph Union.

The present headquarters of the I.T.U. is situated in Geneva, Switzerland, in which four permanent organs are to be found -
  • General Secretariat
  • International Frequency Registration Board (IFRB);
  • International Radio Consultative Committee (CCIR)
  • International Telegraph & Telephone Consultative Committee (CCITT)
The I.T.U. at present consists of 119 members and one Associate member. Malaysia is a member of the I.T.U.

The General Secretariat is the organ of liaison between telecommunication Administrations throughout the world. With it are deposited instruments of ratification of the Convention and instruments of accession. It also publishes numerous documents essential for the efficient running of telecommunications services and also a monthly publication entitled the Telecommunication Journal.

The main task of the International Frequency Registration Board is to decide whether radio frequencies which countries assign to their radio stations (and which they have notified to the Board) are in accordance with the Convention and the Radio Regulations and will not cause harmful interference to other stations. An average of more than 1700 frequency assignments, or change of assignments, notices from countries arrive at the IFRB each week. Another important task of the IFRB is to work out seasonal High Frequency Broadcasting Schedules.

The International Radio Consultative Committee and the International Telegraph and Telephone Consultative Committee deal respectively with technical radio problems and technical telegraph and telephone problems. Each Committee holds a Plenary Assembly every few years. The Plenary Assembly draws up a list of technical telecommunication subjects or "Questions", the study of which would lead to improvements in International Radio Communication or International Telegraphy and Telephony. These questions are then entrusted to a number of Study Groups, composed of experts from different countries, which draw up Recommendations which are then submitted to the next Plenary Assembly. If the Assembly adopts the Recommendations they are published.

On 15th November, 1947, the General Assembly of the United Nations acknowledged the I.T.U. as the specialized agency in the field of telecommunications, under an agreement defining the means whereby the two international organizations cooperate. With the spirit of cooperation, the Union, since 1952, has participated in the "Expanded Program of Technical Assistance" carried out jointly by the United Nations and the Specialized Agencies. The activities now cover twenty-two countries which receive advice from experts or obtain further training for their specialists from fellowship grants. In addition, the Union cooperates in the new United Nations "Special Fund" for which it draws up plans, recruits experts and helps in the implementation of projects. In this particular aspect, the Telecommunications Department, Malaysia has benefited considerably in that the United Nations has allotted several million dollars from its "Special Fund" to assist in the erection of a new Telecommunications Training Centre in Gurney Road, Kuala Lumpur.

Malaysia, as a member of the International Telecommunication Union, joins all other nations of the world in celebrating the Centenary of this important world organization.

Technical Details
Special postage stamps of the 2 cents, 25 cents and 50 cents denominations will be issued on the 17th May 1965 to commemorate the Centenary of the International Telecommunication Union.

Size: Rectangular with the following dimensions perforation to perforation:
Horizontal - 36 mm
Vertical - 25 mm

Printing Process: Photogravure

Design: The design features a Microwave Tower and the I.T.U. emblem.

2 c. - Orange with lilac background

25 c. - Orange with brown background

50 c. - Orange with green background

Paper: Unwatermarked paper

Printed by: Helio-Courvoisier S.A. Switzerland

The stamps will be placed on sale in all the territories of Malaysia for a period of three months from the date of issue or until stocks are exhausted whichever is earlier.

 First Day Cover

No comments: