The Telecommunication Standardization Sector (ITU-T) coordinates standards for telecommunications on behalf of the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) and is based in Geneva, Switzerland.
The standardization work of ITU dates back to 1865, with the birth of the International Telegraph Union. It became a United Nations specialized agency in 1947, and the International Telegraph and Telephone Consultative Committee (CCITT), (from the French name "Comité Consultatif International Téléphonique et Télégraphique") was created in 1956. It was renamed ITU-T in 1993.
ITU has been an intergovernmental public-private partnership organization since its inception and now has a membership of 191 countries (Member States) and over 700 public and private sector companies as well as international and regional telecommunication entities, known as Sector Members and Associates, which undertake most of the work of the Sector.
ITU-T has a permanent secretariat, the Telecommunication Standardization Bureau (TSB), based at the ITU HQ in Geneva, Switzerland. The elected Director of the Bureau is Mr. Malcolm Johnson of the UK. Mr. Johnson was elected by the ITU Membership to the Directorship for a 4-year term in November 2006.
The ITU-T mission is to ensure the efficient and timely production of standards covering all fields of telecommunications on a worldwide basis, as well as defining tariff and accounting principles for international telecommunication services.
The international standards that are produced by the ITU-T are referred to as "Recommendations" (with the word ordinarily capitalized to distinguish its meaning from the ordinary sense of the word "recommendation"), as they become mandatory only when adopted as part of a national law.
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