4 trends in telecoms/ICT regulatory reform

A quick look at four trends highlighted in the ITU’s Trends in Telecommunications Reform 2015.

Earlier this month, the International Telecommunications Union (ITU) published its latest Trends in Telecommunications Reform, which highlights key telecoms/ICT developments worldwide and their impact on regulation. Below four trends, from the six presented, are highlighted.

1.  Fostering competition has become more critical

Traditionally, although having competition in a market was considered the ideal and most desired result, the premise for having regulation was to mimic it where competition was absent. However, in market segment where there was no competition, and regulation successfully governed, generally there was little impetus to be aggressive in securing new players and moving to a competitive environment.

However, and technology and telecoms/ICT-related services become even more sophisticated – where a wide variety of business models can be adopted – regulation is becoming less proficient in managing the current ecosystem. As a result, there has been a growing trend among regulators to adopt measures that promote competition and consumer choice.

2.  Spectrum is in even greater demand

In recent years, wireless technologies, such as Wi-Fi, WiMax, LTE, to name a few, are being widely utilised for the delivery of a broad range of services. Further, with considerably lower set-up and deployment costs, when compared with fixed-line networks, more players are entering that segment of the market, which in turn is heightening the demand for radio frequency spectrum.

Into the future, regulators will need to continually determine how best to make use of the finite spectrum that is available. Some of the specific issues that would need to be addressed include how to make additional bands available to meet demand and to accommodate newer technologies and services.

3.  Regulatory intervention for big data is still to be decided

As we are all aware, big data is an area that has been gaining in prominence, and to varying degrees, we are already beginning to experience its impact. However, although it is appreciated that big data becomes even more pervasive across all areas of our lives; regulators do not yet have a full understanding of its impact, implications, demand for resources, and underlying

4.  Growing focus on consumer protection online

Finally, and in light of the broad range of threats exist online, there is an appreciation that consumer protection must widen from addressing matters between an individual and his/her service provider. Some of the matters that regulators have begun to address include the power of major online platforms, such as Google and Facebook, over user content. However, they may also have a role to play in educating users on using the Internet safely.

 

Image credit:  Elizabeth Hahn (flickr)

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