International Telecommunication Union (ITU), specialized agency of the United Nations, with headquarters at Geneva. It was created in 1934 as a result of the merging of the International Telegraph Union (est. 1865; the first international governmental organization) and the International Radiotelegraph Union (est. 1906); there are now 191 member nations. The union functions under the International Telecommunication Convention, which was adopted in 1947 and revised in 1967. The goal of the organization is to extend and improve all forms of international telecommunication by allotting radio frequencies, by encouraging the establishment of low rates, and by perfecting communications in rescue operations. The ITU is governed by the plenipotentiary conference at which all members are represented; it normally meets once every four or five years. The conference elects an administrative council of 29 members. Conferences for the regulation of telecommunication in space have been among ITU's more recent activities.
The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.