World Telecommunication and Information Society Day

World Telecommunication and Information Society Day

If you look around, you will notice that wherever you are, wherever you go, and whenever you want, you are connected. Whether you need it for some basic life information, to communicate with friends, or for work. One institution is responsible for all these possibilities.

On this day, May 17, 1865, twenty nations gathered in Paris to sign the international framework and form the International Telegraph Union (ITU). Today, this date is celebrated worldwide as “World Telecommunication and Information Society Day.”

Let’s go back in history and see why this day is so important.

In 1832, electricity had a great revolution, not only in voltage but also in the transmission of information via wires.

In 1839, the first commercial telegraph service opened in London. The system used at the time was developed by Charles Wheatstone.

In 1844, Morse code was standardized at the International Telegraphy Congress in Paris, which later became the ITU standard.

In 1851, the first submarine telegraph wire was stretched between Britain and France. Over 9,000 messages were transmitted in the first year.

Due to the great progress and to simplify things, the conclusion of regional agreements has begun. In Paris, European representatives from 20 countries gathered at the International Telegraph Conference (ITU) to find ways to overcome barriers and make the service more efficient. They create a framework for the standardization of telegraph equipment, setting up operating instructions, and establishing international tariff and accounting rules.

Thus, on May 17, 1865, the first International Telegraph Convention was signed in Paris by 20 founding members, and the first incarnation of the International Telegraph Union (ITU) was founded.

From then until today, the ITU has always been at the center of progress in communications, from telegraphy to satellites, mobile phones, and the Internet. Their goal is to connect the whole world. Ensuring that networks and technologies are interconnected, seeks to improve access to Information Communication Technology (ICT) as there are still places that are not well covered.

After that, a new major shift in communication occurred with the transmission of speech over the line when, in 1876, Alexander Graham Bell patented the telephone. Two years later, he opened the first telephonic service. Calls were charged at 5 minutes and limited to a maximum of 10 minutes of use if another person requested the use of a telephone line.

Telephones provided the ability to talk to other people over long distances and send Morse code. However, from the beginning, the problem was what to do when the wire could not reach a person’s location, such as if someone was on a boat.

In 1885, the ITU issued the first telephone regulations to facilitate telecommunications worldwide.

In the 1890s, practical experiments began with the inventors of Nikola Tesla in the US, Jagadish Chandra Bose in India, Alexander Stepanovich Popov in Russia, and Guglielmo Marconi in Britain for wireless signaling. Radio, known at the time as “wireless telegraphy”, was created.

In 1906, the first audio broadcast in the world was created by Reginald Fessenden, which was aimed at ships carrying bananas in the Atlantic Ocean. In the same year, as a result of the conference, the International Radiotelegraph Convention was created, where the first regulations in this field were created, later known as “Radio regulations”.

The next major step in the transmission of information was the creation of television in 1925, which was invented by John Logie Baird.

In 1932, at a conference in Madrid, it was decided that the ITU should change its name since at that time it covered a much wider range of areas related to communication. Since then, the ITU has been considered the International Telecommunication Union.

At the same time, the International Telegraph Convention of 1865 merged with the International Radiotelegraph Convention of 1906 and together formed the International Telecommunication Convention.

In 1947, the ITU became a specialized United Nations (UN) telecommunications agency, and in 1948, it moved its headquarters from Bern to Geneva.

The next major shift was in 1957, when the first artificial satellite, Sputnik-1, was launched into space by the Soviet Union. Soon after, satellites began to be used for telecommunications.

The next step began in 1969 with the development of the first computer network called the ARPANET. Charles Babbage is considered the father of computers because he designed the “Difference Engine” in London in 1822, which later, in 1837, became the “Analytical Engine,” or the first computer.

The Internet revolution has transformed the world. In 1990, Tim Berners-Lee wrote the Hypertext Transfer Protocol (HTTP), the Hypertext Markup Language (HTML), and the first browser called “WorldWideWeb.” He also wrote the first web server. WorldWideWeb was available to everyone.

We can stop here since the rest of history is much closer and more famous.

Throughout history, the ITU has played a leading role in shaping the digital revolution by making telecommunications available worldwide.

Today, the world is increasingly relying on telecommunications technologies in every aspect of our lives. The ITU continues to achieve its goals and make contributions. Maybe a new kind of digital revolution awaits us soon.

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