The United States and many European countries have refused to sign an international telecommunications treaty that they say opens the door to greater government control of the Internet.
Eighty-nine countries signed the U.N. treaty in Dubai Friday while 55 states objected, revealing a deep divide about the oversight of cyberspace.
The U.S.-led bloc advocated a hands-off approach to the Internet, saying it should not be even addressed in the telecommunications treaty, while Russia, China, and many developing nations sought to win greater sway over Internet affairs.
The International Telecommunication Union (ITU) hosted the global conference in Dubai to update a set of telecom rules dating back to 1988.
Discussion on the Internet overshadowed other matters at the summit, despite the ITU insisting that regulating cyberspace was not on the agenda.
Other issues addressed in the treaty include mobile phone roaming rates, international emergency numbers, and communications infrastructure in poorer countries.
Countries that signed the treaty pledged to abide by its principles, but the measures have no force of law. The treaty takes effect in 2015.