Objectives Back to top
specificities of the telecommunications services sector and, in particular, its dual role
as a distinct sector of economic activity and as the underlying transport means for other
economic activities, the Members have agreed to the following Annex with the objective of
elaborating upon the provisions of the Agreement with respect to measures affecting access
to and use of public telecommunications transport networks and services. Accordingly, this
Annex provides notes and supplementary provisions to the Agreement.
2. Scope Back
Annex shall apply to all measures of a Member that affect access to and use of public
telecommunications transport networks and services.(1)
Annex shall not apply to measures affecting the cable or broadcast distribution of radio
or television programming.
in this Annex shall be construed:
require a Member to authorize a service supplier of any other Member to establish,
construct, acquire, lease, operate, or supply telecommunications transport networks or
services, other than as provided for in its Schedule; or
require a Member (or to require a Member to oblige service suppliers under its
jurisdiction) to establish, construct, acquire, lease, operate or supply
telecommunications transport networks or services not offered to the public generally.
3. Definitions Back
purposes of this Annex:
Telecommunications means the transmission and reception of signals by any
Public telecommunications transport service means any telecommunications
transport service required, explicitly or in effect, by a Member to be offered to the
public generally. Such services may include, inter alia, telegraph, telephone,
telex, and data transmission typically involving the real-time transmission of
customer-supplied information between two or more points without any end-to-end change in
the form or content of the customer's information.
telecommunications transport network means the public telecommunications
infrastructure which permits telecommunications between and among defined network
Intra-corporate communications means telecommunications through which a
company communicates within the company or with or among its subsidiaries, branches and,
subject to a Member's domestic laws and regulations, affiliates. For these purposes,
subsidiaries, branches and, where applicable,
affiliates shall be as defined by each Member. Intra-corporate
communications in this Annex excludes commercial or non-commercial services that are
supplied to companies that are not related subsidiaries, branches or affiliates, or that
are offered to customers or potential customers.
reference to a paragraph or subparagraph of this Annex includes all subdivisions thereof.
4. Transparency Back
application of Article III of the Agreement, each Member shall ensure that relevant
information on conditions affecting access to and use of public telecommunications
transport networks and services is publicly available, including: tariffs and other terms
and conditions of service; specifications of technical interfaces with such networks and
services; information on bodies responsible for the preparation and adoption of standards
affecting such access and use; conditions applying to attachment of terminal or other
equipment; and notifications, registration or licensing requirements, if any.
5. Access to and use of Public Telecommunications
Transport Networks and Services Back to top
Each Member shall ensure that any service supplier of any other Member is accorded
access to and use of public telecommunications transport networks and services on
reasonable and non-discriminatory terms and conditions, for the supply of a service
included in its Schedule. This obligation shall be applied, inter alia, through
paragraphs (b) through (f).(2)
Each Member shall ensure that service suppliers of any other Member have access to
and use of any public telecommunications transport network or service offered within or
across the border of that Member, including private leased circuits, and to this end shall
ensure, subject to paragraphs (e) and (f), that such suppliers are permitted:
purchase or lease and attach terminal or other equipment which interfaces with the network
and which is necessary to supply a supplier's services;
interconnect private leased or owned circuits with public telecommunications transport
networks and services or with circuits leased or owned by another service supplier; and
(iii) to use
operating protocols of the service supplier's choice in the supply of any service, other
than as necessary to ensure the availability of telecommunications transport networks and
services to the public generally.
Member shall ensure that service suppliers of any other Member may use public
telecommunications transport networks and services for the movement of information within
and across borders, including for intra-corporate communications of such service
suppliers, and for access to information contained in data bases or otherwise stored in
machine-readable form in the territory of any Member. Any new or amended measures of a
Member significantly affecting such use shall be notified and shall be subject to
consultation, in accordance with relevant provisions of the Agreement.
Notwithstanding the preceding paragraph, a Member may take such measures as are necessary
to ensure the security and confidentiality of messages, subject to the requirement that
such measures are not applied in a manner which would constitute a means of arbitrary or
unjustifiable discrimination or a disguised restriction on trade in services.
Member shall ensure that no condition is imposed on access to and use of public
telecommunications transport networks and services other than as necessary:
safeguard the public service responsibilities of suppliers of public telecommunications
transport networks and services, in particular their ability to make their networks or
services available to the public generally;
protect the technical integrity of public telecommunications transport networks or
ensure that service suppliers of any other Member do not supply services unless permitted
pursuant to commitments in the Member's Schedule.
that they satisfy the criteria set out in paragraph (e), conditions for access to and use
of public telecommunications transport networks and services may include:
restrictions on resale or shared use of such services;
requirement to use specified technical interfaces, including interface protocols, for
inter-connection with such networks and services;
requirements, where necessary, for the inter-operability of such services and to encourage
the achievement of the goals set out in paragraph 7(a);
approval of terminal or other equipment which interfaces with the network and technical
requirements relating to the attachment of such equipment to such networks;
restrictions on inter-connection of private leased or owned circuits with such networks or
services or with circuits leased or owned by another service supplier; or
notification, registration and licensing.
Notwithstanding the preceding paragraphs of this section, a developing country Member may,
consistent with its level of development, place reasonable conditions on access to and use
of public telecommunications transport networks and services necessary to strengthen its
domestic telecommunications infrastructure and service capacity and to increase its
participation in international trade in telecommunications services. Such conditions shall
be specified in the Member's Schedule.
recognize that an efficient, advanced telecommunications infrastructure in countries,
particularly developing countries, is essential to the expansion of their trade in
services. To this end, Members endorse and encourage the participation, to the fullest
extent practicable, of developed and developing countries and their suppliers of public
telecommunications transport networks and services and other entities in the development
programmes of international and regional organizations, including the International
Telecommunication Union, the United Nations Development Programme, and the International
Bank for Reconstruction and Development.
shall encourage and support telecommunications cooperation among developing countries at
the international, regional and sub-regional levels.
cooperation with relevant international organizations, Members shall make available, where
practicable, to developing countries information with respect to telecommunications
services and developments in telecommunications and information technology to assist in
strengthening their domestic telecommunications services sector.
shall give special consideration to opportunities for the least-developed countries to
encourage foreign suppliers of telecommunications services to assist in the transfer of
technology, training and other activities that support the development of their
telecommunications infrastructure and expansion of their telecommunications services
7. Relation to
International Organizations and Agreements Back to top
recognize the importance of international standards for global compatibility and
inter-operability of telecommunication networks and services and undertake to promote such
standards through the work of relevant international bodies, including the International
Telecommunication Union and the International Organization for Standardization.
recognize the role played by intergovernmental and non-governmental organizations and
agreements in ensuring the efficient operation of domestic and global telecommunications
services, in particular the International Telecommunication Union. Members shall make
appropriate arrangements, where relevant, for consultation with such organizations on
matters arising from the implementation of this Annex.