The International Teletraffic Congress (ITC) was born out of the need to engineer telephone networks properly, i.e. to maximise the utilisation of network resources and to maintain a high quality of service. By that time, networks and the service providers were either monopoly businesses or government owned and run.
The first ITC was held in 1955 in Copenhagen, Denmark, the place where A K. Erlang developed fundamental theories in the field of teletraffic. Its purpose was to develop teletraffic theory and its application to the design, planning and operations of telecommunications systems, networks and services. Its roots were based on the theory of probability and stochastic processes for the proper characterization and description of traffic phenomena.
However, times have changed dramatically in the last decade: the development of new access and transport technologies which offer higher bandwidth, the deployment of mobile communications which allow for universal ubiquity, the advent of internet services and the full deregulation of the telecom environment which have modified the business models in the IT world have greatly impacted the traffic issues and have given new light in the design, control and performance of networks and services. The ITC has therefore evolved to be a forum at which the economics, performance, security, reliability and engineering issues of a much broader array of network technologies is discussed. These topics reflect the new structures of interconnected communications networks, the new roles of industry and government, the new global economies and the latest networking technologies and services. Recent ITCs have thus included discussions of managed fibre systems, wireless technologies and customer mobility, the Internet, multi-media services, network security strategies and so on. The notion of "teletraffic" has similarly evolved from "calls on trunks" to many forms of demands on all levels of the network, from "calls on circuit-switched links," to the dynamic assignment of bandwidth, frequencies and wavelengths. As such, the ITC has succeeded to bridge theory and practice from the plain old telephony to the new and diverse telecommunications services.
The ITC continues to gather these modern teletraffic experts from research organizations, universities, manufacturing companies, network operators, service providers and international technical organizations, guaranteeing a well-balanced contribution from theory and application. ITC events are organized so that industry representatives, researchers, engineers and administrators can interact and benefit from discussions and the exchange of ideas. ITC also benefits from the social environment which allows for the creation of new personal contacts between delegates. In association with the International Telecommunications Union (ITU) under the auspices of the United Nations, ITC also supports the dissemination of teletraffic concepts to countries throughout the world with developing telecommunication infrastructure. The ITC has therefore established firm relations with the International Telecommunications Union which are reflected through permanent representation of ITU within the International Advisory Council (IAC) of ITC and through sessions during ITC Congresses, that are dedicated to ITU standardization work.
The ITC is ruled by the International Advisory Council (IAC) which gathers a number of technical experts, from universities and the research arms of key corporations in the industry, acting as National Representatives of countries having a strong tradition in teletraffic development. The IAC responsibilities are to disseminate information on teletraffic which is of interest for the whole community and:
The technical program and the organisation of each ITC event remains within the responsibilities of the hosting country, but with significant IAC support to guarantee that the event is consistent with the quality standards established during the previous congresses.
The ITC Plenary Congresses were scheduled tri-annually from 1955 until 1995 when the interval became bi-annual to account for the ever-accelerating development of network technologies, products and services and the associated dramatic increases in network demands. Though the telecommunication industry has undergone significant revolutions since the founding of ITC in 1955, many of the classical theories of teletraffic can still be applied in the modelling, design and control of telecom systems, network and services. However, the increased complexity of the new telecom environment requires the teletraffic issues to be continuously re-visited, updated or replaced. In particular, there are many new challenges stimulated by the advent of the Internet, wireless technologies, customer mobility and fibre wavelength management.
The 19th ITC Plenary Congress has recently been held in Beijing, China.