International telecommunications is an issue-area in which multilateral cooperation is very deeply institutionalized. Long before governments recognized a need to establish international mechanisms to manage global problems like trade, human rights or the environment, they saw that nation-states could only benefit from the possibilities of international telecommunications if there were shared rules of the game governing how national networks would interconnect and messages would be passed from one to the next. In consequence, the international telecommunications regime is the oldest multilateral regime in the world, and the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) —which has historically been the central forum for its negotiation-is the oldest intergovernmental organization in the world.