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 Thursday, July 02, 2009

Lori Drew, 50, pretended to be a boy on the MySpace website to befriend Megan Meier, who hanged herself after the virtual friendship ended. Sentencing will take place this week in the first federal cyber bullying case in the US which was brought to trial after a teenage girl took her own life.

The US National Crime Prevention Council in a report last year found that 43% of teens are exposed to cyber bullying in one form or another yet only one in 10 kids told their parents. "Cyber bullying can have such a devastating effect on our young people from depression to falling grades and low self esteem. This case shows however that cyber bullying is not something that just young people commit but we as adults can also be at fault," said the council's Michelle Boykin.

 

(Source: BBC)

Full story

BBC

Thursday, July 02, 2009 5:03:58 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Tuesday, February 06, 2007

The Chairman’s Report (Version for Comments) from the ITU New Initiatives Programme workshop on The Future of Voice, held January 15-16, 2007 in the ITU Headquarter, has been made available for comments on the event's web-page.

To download the document, please click here

All comments and remarks, to be reflected in the final version of the Chairman’s Report should be sent via email to SPUmail@itu.int no later than the 19th February 2007.

 

Tuesday, February 06, 2007 5:27:39 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Monday, January 22, 2007

Within the framework of the ITU New Initiatives Programme event on The Future of Voice held from 15-16 January 2007 in ITU Headquarter, Geneva, Mr Wolfgang Reichl, ÖFEG, Austria, submitted an interesting discussion material on "Balancing Innovation and Preservation in Telephony"

In paper's abstract Mr Reichl writes: Telephony might become just another application on the Internet. To examine if this is a likely or even desireable future, is the topic of this article. Everyone used to know what telephony is but with the appearance of software applications like Skype it isn't that easy anymore. Telephony in the traditional sense is interactive voice conversation between two people connected to a global network. When we talk about connectivity to a global network today, we envisage the Internet and when we talk about telephony, it is mobile telephony. The technological platform for telecommunications seems to evolve towards a common data network for all applications. The service specific silo-like networks convert towards a layered network architecture. When the underlying technology changes it remains critical to entangle the telephony application from technology. This article tries to find a clear seperation between application and technology and explores innovations of the telephony application in the light of convergence of computers, media and telecommunications. Innovations should be balanced against society's needs to preserve a world wide network for voice communications.

To download the paper, please click here.

Monday, January 22, 2007 3:37:01 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

After the ITU New Initiatives Programme event on the Future of Voice held on 15-16 January 2007 in ITU Headquarter, David Allen provided his direct comment on few issues discussed during the meeting.

To see video material, please click here.

 

Monday, January 22, 2007 1:09:24 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Thursday, January 18, 2007
 Friday, December 01, 2006

The UK Office of Communications (Ofcom) has launched its new book "Communications - The Next Decade". It consists of a series of essays by academics, politicians and regulators that examine the effect of convergence on the communications sector and the authors come to some provocative conclusions.

The book is available for download as a pdf either in sections or in its entirety from the Ofcom website.

Friday, December 01, 2006 3:05:07 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Thursday, November 30, 2006

OFCOM has just released its first research publication, The International Communications Market 2006. Report focuses specifically on the international communications market, reflecting the increasing impact of global issues on the UK commercial and regulatory communications agenda. 

To read executive summary, please click here.

To download the document, please click here.

Thursday, November 30, 2006 4:29:15 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Monday, November 27, 2006

OFCOM has just released a new public discussion document on Regulatory Challenges Posed by Next Generation Access Networks. 

To read executive summary, please click here.

To download the document, please click here.

Monday, November 27, 2006 10:46:28 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Monday, November 20, 2006

On 16 November 2006, during the ECTA Conference 2006, Ms Viviane Reding, Member of the European Commission responsible for Information Society and Media spoke on From Service Competition to Infrastructure Competition: the Policy Options Now on the Table.

In her speach Ms Reding focused on recent trends in the European ICT sector. She discussed issues related to the efficient regulation, liberalization process, spectrum, investment, competition as well as "separation" stating:  

"...we have to be clear as to what is meant by terms like “structural separation” and "functional separation". The term "structural separation" has been used to mean several things: full divestiture of companies; legal separation with separate management structures; functional separation of organisational and management structures within vertically integrated undertakings; and simple accounting separation of specified activities within vertically integrated undertakings. I have expressed myself already in June in favour of finding a European way on the separation issue.

I believe that functional separation, which is a specific form of separation in the large sense as just described, could indeed serve to make competition more effective in a service-based competition environment where infrastructure-based competition is not expected to develop in a reasonable period. It may be a useful remedy in specific cases. It is certainly not a panacea. A cost benefit analysis therefore has to be made on a case by case basis, before such a remedy is imposed. And the effects of imposing such a remedy in Europe’s internal market have to be carefully analysed in each individual case. Functional separation is certainly a field where one will not be able to do without the “two pair of eyes” principle. "

For full version of the speach, please see here.

Monday, November 20, 2006 11:01:06 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Sunday, November 12, 2006

A comprehensive and interactive Body of Knowledge (BoK) on infrastructure regulation is now available online. Funded by the Public Private Infrastructure Advisory Facility (PPIAF) and the World Bank, this website includes literature surveys, self-paced quizzes, a hyper-linked 90 page glossary, and 300 studies (in PDF). It should be useful for practitioners, researchers, students, and anyone interested in learning about utilities regulation. The material provides a set of regulatory concepts and readings which regulators and academics should find useful. The site was developed by the Public Utility Research Center (PURC) at the University of Florida, in collaboration with the University of Toulouse, the Pontificia Universidad Catolica (Lima), the World Bank and a panel of international experts. The BoK references publications and decisions by regulatory agencies and other governmental bodies; policy advisories by think tanks, consultants, donor agencies, and others; and research by academics, and other experts. The BoK is broad in scope, covering essential learning in the areas of policy reforms, market structure in network industries, finance, incentive regulation, service to the poor, pricing, service quality, cost analysis, regulatory institutions and instruments, legal frameworks, stakeholder involvement, negotiations, management and leadership, and public relations.

Suggestions for additional readings and topics can be made at the website. http://www.regulationbodyofknowledge.org

 

Sunday, November 12, 2006 4:00:29 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Three of the world's leading Internet Exchange Points (IXPs), AMS-IX, DE-CIX and LINX are hosting the first European Peering Forum on 29-30 November 2006 in Frankfurt, Germany.

Sponsored by Foundry Networks and IXEurope, the event is designed to bring together representatives from the respective IXP member organisations to discuss all aspects of peering from negotiating to operations. (Peering is a cost neutral arrangement between two Internet Service Providers (ISPs) to exchange Internet traffic. It is undertaken to reduce costs and provide more direct routing of that traffic.)

For more information on the event see the European Peering Forum website.

This story was accessed through Total Telecom.

Tuesday, October 10, 2006 2:36:34 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Tuesday, September 12, 2006

European Commission published three studies by external consultants on the review of the EU 2003 regulatory framework.The three studies are the following:

Tuesday, September 12, 2006 2:53:21 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Monday, August 28, 2006

A presentation entitled "Booming Broadband for a Wireless World" was given by Lara Srivastava of ITU on 22 August 2006 at BroadbandAsia 2006 in Shanghai, China. Other speakers included, inter alia, L. Ladid (President, IPv6 Forum), T. Poulos (Asia-Pacific Head, Global Billing Association), A. Hassan (Executive Director, Wi-Fi Alliance), J. Wang (Secretary-General, TD-SCDMA Forum), S. Ramaswamy (Senior Vice President, Bharti AirTel).

Monday, August 28, 2006 9:24:19 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Thursday, August 17, 2006

At the invitation of the Government of Cameroon and Cameroon's Telecommunications Regulatory Board (ART), FTRA-2006, on the theme "IP networks and related services: Challenges for African regulators", was held in Yaoundé, Cameroon, on 7 and 8 June 2006. Eighty-three participants from 23 countries and 11 organizations attended the forum.

Participants emphasized the need to review the telecommunications-ICT political, legal, administrative and regulatory issues with a view to their inclusion of aspects relating to the Internet and related services, and the need for human capacity building for regulators in a rapidly changing telecommunications environment. After the successful establishment of sub-regional African Telecommunication Regulatory Associations, the Forum discussed the creation of a PAN African Regulatory Association building on the achievement of the African Telecommunication Regulators Network (ATRN) with the aim of putting in place an efficient mechanism capable of decision-making at the continental level. They finally agreed in principle on the establishment of such an association and its integration in the African Telecommunications Union (ATU). The recommendations agreed on may be found in the final communiqué.

FTRA-2007 will be held in Nairobi, Kenya with the exact dates announced at a later date.

[via the ITU-D Newslog]

Thursday, August 17, 2006 7:42:30 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
An article in Computer World describes how a researcher has announced at the Black Hat USA security conference that he will release a tool to test for "network neutrality".

The researcher, Dan Kaminsky, calls his technique "TCP-based active probing for faults." He plans to post information on TCP-based active probing for faults at www.doxpara.com.

Thursday, August 17, 2006 4:27:44 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Friday, August 04, 2006

A forthcoming ITU-T IPTV Global Technical Workshop will review and examine IPTV standardization, political and regulatory aspects, business models and various case studies as well as technical developments and service provider’s operational aspects.

IPTV represents a convergence between the traditional telecommunication and broadcast industries. And, as with any convergence a lot of work is needed to ensure interoperability. Globally accepted standards are clearly a key enabler for this. With many of the conditions necessary for IPTV rollout in place - global IP connectivity over managed broadband infrastructure with such guarantees as QoS and security, and broadband connectivity with enhanced network capabilities - there is a strong demand for standards to ensure smooth service rollout and interoperability.

The workshop will provide a review of the current status of IPTV work as well as an examination of where to go next.

See the meeting website for further information.

[ITU-T Newslog]

Friday, August 04, 2006 11:35:37 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Thursday, July 27, 2006

Colombian Comission for Telecommunication Regulation has just released new report on "Developments in the Telecommunication Sector".

This report has been prepared as a contribution to the New Initiatives Programme project on the Future of Voice. Further information on the project can be found here. The analysis is available here or on the website with background materials of the project the Future of Voice.

Thursday, July 27, 2006 1:00:58 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Tuesday, July 18, 2006

The Secretary-General of the United Nations has announced the convening of the Internet Governance Forum, to be held in Athens on 30 October - 2 November 2006.

The Secretary-General's message is available in all UN languages: [English] [Français] [中文] [عربي] [Русский] [Español]. The message in English reads:

"The second phase of the World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS), held in Tunis on 13-15 November 2005, invited me to convene a new forum for multi-stakeholder policy dialogue -- called the Internet Governance Forum (IGF). The Summit asked me to convene the Forum by the second quarter of 2006 and to implement this mandate in an open and inclusive process.

The Government of Greece made the generous offer to host the first meeting of the IGF and proposed that it take place in Athens on 30 October - 2 November 2006.

I have asked my Special Adviser for Internet Governance, Mr. Nitin Desai, to assist me in the task of convening the IGF and I have also set up a small secretariat in Geneva to support this process. Two rounds of consultations open to all stakeholders held in Geneva on 16-17 February and 19 May have contributed towards a common understanding with regard to the format and content of the first IGF meeting. I have also appointed an Advisory Group with the task of assisting me in preparing the IGF meeting.

The Advisory Group held a meeting in Geneva on 22 and 23 May 2006 and made recommendations for the agenda and the programme, as well as the structure and format of the first meeting of the IGF in Athens.

As the IGF is about the Internet, it is appropriate to make use of electronic means of communication to convene its inaugural meeting. The document adopted by WSIS -- the Tunis Agenda for the Information Society -- calls on me "to extend invitations to all stakeholders and relevant parties to participate at the inaugural meeting of the IGF". Therefore, it is my pleasure to make use of the World Wide Web to invite all stakeholders -- governments, the private sector and civil society, including the academic and technical communities, to attend the first meeting of the IGF in Athens. The overall theme of the meeting will be "Internet Governance for Development". The agenda will be structured along the following broad themes.

  • Openness - Freedom of expression, free flow of information, ideas and knowledge
  • Security - Creating trust and confidence through collaboration
  • Diversity - Promoting multilingualism and local content
  • Access - Internet Connectivity: Policy and Cost

Capacity-building will be a cross-cutting priority.

The meeting will be open for all WSIS accredited entities. Other institutions and persons with proven expertise and experience in matters related to Internet governance may also apply to attend.

In its short life, the Internet has become an agent of dramatic, even revolutionary change and maybe one of today's greatest instruments of progress. It is a marvelous tool to promote and defend freedom and to give access to information and knowledge. WSIS saw the beginning of a dialogue between two different cultures: the non-governmental Internet community, with its traditions of informal, bottom-up decision-making; and the more formal, structured world of governments and intergovernmental organizations. It is my hope that the IGF will deepen this dialogue and contribute to a better understanding of how we can make full use of the potential the Internet has to offer for all people in the world.

(Signed) Kofi A. Annan" 

[via the Internet Governance Forum]

Tuesday, July 18, 2006 10:46:29 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Tuesday, July 11, 2006

The high cost for developing countries in accessing the Internet backbone was a hot-topic at a recent, Geneva held meeting of ITU-T’s Study Group 3 focusing on tariff and accounting principles including related telecommunication economic and policy issues.

Study Group 3 will submit a paper, outlining its activities and future work plan on international internet connectivity (IIC) to the first meeting of the Internet Governance Forum (IGF) to be held in Athens, Greece in October 2006

It has been claimed that some charging arrangements for IIC disadvantage smaller networks and developing countries. In June 2004 an amendment to ITU-T Recommendation D.50 was made to set out general considerations for parties to negotiate Internet interconnection. These considerations can be used to assist two parties to an interconnection agreement to negotiate in a more harmonized way.

"27.  We recommend improvements and innovations in existing financing mechanisms, including:
 Providing affordable access to ICTs, by the following measures:

i.  Reducing international Internet costs charged by backbone providers, supporting, inter alia, the creation and development of regional ICT backbones and Internet Exchange Points to reduce interconnection cost and broaden network access; 

ii. Encouraging ITU to continue the study of the question of the International Internet Connectivity (IIC) as an urgent matter to develop appropriate Recommendations."

See the ITU-T Study Group 3 website for more information.

Tuesday, July 11, 2006 10:55:27 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Friday, July 07, 2006

A presentation entitled Networks in Transition: Emerging Policy and Regulatory Challenges of Next Generation Networks (PDF) was made by Robert Shaw, Deputy Head, ITU Strategy and Policy Unit, at the Masters of Communication Management (MCM) Annual Conference, Goodenough College on 6 July 2006 in London, England.

Friday, July 07, 2006 12:05:43 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Friday, June 30, 2006

A presentation entitled What Rules for IP-enabled NGNs? (PDF) was made by Robert Shaw, Deputy Head, ITU Strategy and Policy Unit at a London Business School Global Communications Consortium event entitled "Next Generation Networks - Investment & Regulation" on 29 June 2006 in London, England.

Friday, June 30, 2006 3:11:31 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Thursday, June 29, 2006
Thursday, June 29, 2006 3:12:57 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Tuesday, June 27, 2006

The ITU held an international workshop under its New Initiatives Programme on the topic "The Regulatory Environment for Future Mobile Multimedia Services" in Mainz (Germany) from 21-23 June 2006. The final report [PDF]  of the chairman has now been published.

Workshop presentations can be found here. Background documents, including country case studies and thematic papers are also available on the workshop homepage.

 

Tuesday, June 27, 2006 10:08:24 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Wednesday, June 07, 2006

Will Content Be King?, presentation by Robert Shaw, Deputy Head, ITU Strategy and Policy Unit, at the 7 June 2006 conference Digital Content: a Modern Fairy Tale or the Old King in the New Clothes in Vilnius, Lithuania. The event was organized by the law offices of Norcous & Partners, in association with the Communications Regulatory Authority of the Republic of Lithuania and Vilnius University Faculty of Law.

Wednesday, June 07, 2006 1:21:39 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

The ITU has just published an Issues Paper on the Regulatory Environment for Future Mobile Multimedia Services, available for download here (.pdf format).

The paper was prepared by Lara Srivastava, of the Strategy and Policy Unit (ITU), and Ingrid Silver & Rod Kirwan of the law practice of Denton Wilde Sapte.

Together with case studies (on Germany, China, Hong Kong SAR) and a thematic paper on spectrum flexibility, these background papers will form part of the input material for an international ITU New Initiatives Workshop on The Regulatory Environment for Future Mobile Multimedia Services, to be held in Mainz (Germany) from 21-23 June 2006, and jointly hosted by Germany's Federal Network Agency.

The Advance Programme for the workshop is now on-line, and will be regularly updated.

More information about the ITU New Initiatives Programme can be found here.
More information about the international workshop on the topic can be found here.  

 

Wednesday, June 07, 2006 11:03:59 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Wednesday, May 24, 2006

The Continued Transition of the Technical Coordination and Management of the Internet Domain Name and Addressing System

SUMMARY: The United States Department of Commerce’s National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) seeks comment on the continuation of the transition of the technical coordination and management of the Internet domain name and addressing system (Internet DNS) to the private sector. In June 1998, the Department issued a statement of policy on the privatization of the Internet DNS, which among other things articulated four primary functions for global Internet DNS coordination and management, the need to have these functions performed by the private sector and four principles to guide the transition to private sector management of the Internet DNS. On June 30, 2005, NTIA released the U.S. Principles on the Internet’s Domain Name and Addressing System further elaborating on these issues. The Department of Commerce seeks comment regarding the progress of this transition and announces a public meeting to be held on July 26, 2006, to discuss issues associated with this transition.

Wednesday, May 24, 2006 4:18:10 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Monday, May 22, 2006

ITU has just released its new statistics on global broadband penetration per 100 inhabitants as of 1 January 2006. Iceland has taken over as this year's leader from Korea with Netherlands, Denmark and Hong Kong, China rounding out the top five.

Monday, May 22, 2006 1:12:02 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Tuesday, May 09, 2006
 Monday, April 24, 2006

Brough's Communications points to Yale's Yochai Benkler's Coase’s Penguin, or, Linux and The Nature of the Firm whichs suggests that the open source development phenomenon has much deeper significance.

For decades our understanding of economic production has been that individuals order their productive activities in one of two ways: either as employees in firms, following the directions of managers, or as individuals in markets, following price signals. This dichotomy was first identified in the early work of Nobel laureate Ronald Coase, and was developed most explicitly in the work of neo-institutional economist Oliver Williamson. In the past three or four years, public attention has focused on a fifteen-year-old social-economic phenomenon in the software development world. This phenomenon, called free software or open source software, involves thousands or even tens of thousands of programmers contributing to large and small scale project, where the central organizing principle is that the software remains free of most constraints on copying and use common to proprietary materials. No one "owns" the software in the traditional sense of being able to command how it is used or developed, or to control its disposition. The result is the emergence of a vibrant, innovative and productive collaboration, whose participants are not organized in firms and do not choose their projects in response to price signals.

In this paper I explain that while free software is highly visible, it is in fact only one example of a much broader social-economic phenomenon. I suggest that we are seeing is the broad and deep emergence of a new, third mode of production in the digitally networked environment. I call this mode "commons-based peer-production," to distinguish it from the property- and contract-based models of firms and markets. Its central characteristic is that groups of individuals successfully collaborate on large-scale projects following a diverse cluster of motivational drives and social signals, rather than either market prices or managerial commands.

The paper also explains why this mode has systematic advantages over markets and managerial hierarchies when the object of production is information or culture, and where the capital investment necessary for production-computers and communications capabilities-is widely distributed instead of concentrated. In particular, this mode of production is better than firms and markets for two reasons. First, it is better at identifying and assigning human capital to information and cultural production processes. In this regard, peer-production has an advantage in what I call "information opportunity cost." That is, it loses less information about who the best person for a given job might be than do either of the other two organizational modes. Second, there are substantial increasing returns to allow very larger clusters of potential contributors to interact with very large clusters of information resources in search of new projects and collaboration enterprises. Removing property and contract as the organizing principles of collaboration substantially reduces transaction costs involved in allowing these large clusters of potential contributors to review and select which resources to work on, for which projects, and with which collaborators. This results in allocation gains, that increase more than proportionately with the increase in the number of individuals and resources that are part of the system. The article concludes with an overview of how these models use a variety of technological and social strategies to overcome the collective action problems usually solved in managerial and market-based systems by property and contract.

Monday, April 24, 2006 12:13:36 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Friday, April 21, 2006

The National Communications Authority of Hungary (NCAH) started last summer the elaboration of a regulatory strategy for the period 2006 to 2010. In this process a detailed breakdown is given of the means by which NCAH intends to promote the development of electronic communications markets which play an increasingly important role in the Hungarian economy contributing to the creation of the information society and consequent improvement of the country’s competitiveness.

The concept is available here.

Friday, April 21, 2006 1:50:42 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

The Telecommunications Policy Review Panel was established by the Minister of Industry on April 11, 2005, to conduct a review of Canada's telecommunications framework. The Panel was asked in particular to recommend on:

1. how to implement an efficient, fair, functional and forward-looking regulatory framework that serves Canadian consumers and businesses, and that can adapt to a changing technological landscape,
2. mechanisms to ensure that all Canadians continue to have an appropriate level of access to modern telecommunications services,
3. measures to promote the development, adoption and expanded use of advanced telecommunications services across the economy.

The Panel's reviewed Canada's telecommunications policy and regulatory framework and made recommendations on how to make it a model of 21st century regulation.

The Final Report of the Telecommunications Policy Review Panel 2006 is available here.

Friday, April 21, 2006 1:33:49 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

On 6 April 2006 Quallo Center held 2006 Quello Communication Law and Policy Symposium.

For programme of the event and presentations please click here.

Friday, April 21, 2006 1:13:13 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Monday, March 27, 2006

The Economist one said: "if the Net does have a God, he is probably Jon Postel."  David Maher, Senior Vice President, Law and Policy at PIR has published his memoirs of the early day attempts to revamp the internet's domain name system, which he has entitled Reporting to God. Ten years later, it appears that decisions surrounding the DNS remain as equally controversial as in the mid-1990's.

Monday, March 27, 2006 12:49:59 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

On 23-24 March 2006 at ITU headquarters, the ITU Strategy and Policy Unit hosted a high-level experts workshop entitled What Rules for IP-enabled NGNs? focused on the policy and regulatory challenges related to the deployment of IP-enabled NGNs. The following materials are now available:

Monday, March 27, 2006 11:18:15 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Thursday, March 16, 2006

As part of its work on preparing an ICT Regulatory Toolkit, the Regulatory Reform Unit of ITU hosted, on 15 March 2006, a virtual conference on the impact of new technologies on TELECOM/ICT Regulation.

The conference recording, together with presentations from Tim Kelly (ITU), Anthony Rutkowski (Verisign), Sharil Tarmizi (Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission), Michael Best (Georgia Tech), Michail Bletsas (One Laptop Per Child) and Russell Southwood (Balancing Act) are available here

Thursday, March 16, 2006 12:05:54 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Wednesday, March 15, 2006

The draft agenda (PDF) for the 23-24 March 2006 ITU Workshop What Rules for IP-enabled NGNs is now available.


A related page of NGN Policy and Regulatory Initiatives around the globe is also available.

Wednesday, March 15, 2006 11:21:40 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Thursday, March 09, 2006

ITU and UNESCO are organizing a Global Symposium on Promoting the Multilingual Internet in Geneva from 9 - 11 May 2006.

Participation in the meeting is open to any organization or individual from ITU or UNESCO member countries. Written contributions are invited on the themes of the event and should be sent to multilingual (at) itu.int before Tuesday 25 April 2006.

The Tunis Agenda for the Information Society, adopted at the Tunis Phase of WSIS, highlights the importance of multilingualism for bridging the digital divide. It identifies ITU as taking the lead role in the implementation of information and communication infrastructure (WSIS Tunis Agenda Action Line C2), ITU/UNESCO for access to information and knowledge (WSIS Tunis Agenda Action Line C3), and UNESCO for cultural diversity and identity, linguistic diversity and local content (WSIS Tunis Agenda Action Line C8).

The symposium will examine issues highlighted in paragraph 53 of the WSIS Tunis Agenda, including:

  1. Options for advancing the process for the introduction of multilingualism in a number of areas including domain names, email addresses and keyword look-up; 
  2. Options for implementing programmes, also in cooperation with other appropriate organizations, that allow for the presence of multilingual domain names and content on the internet and the use of various software models in order to fight against the linguistic digital divide and ensure the participation of all in the emerging new society;
  3. Options for strengthening cooperation between relevant bodies for the further development of technical standards and to foster their global deployment; In addition, the event will review technical solutions and current experiences, identify open issues and discuss a roadmap for further steps in the direction of promoting internet multilingualism.

The draft agenda of the symposium, background information and other information are available on the event website.

Thursday, March 09, 2006 11:14:28 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Tuesday, February 28, 2006

Two interesting discussions of current US communications policy:

  • Is the U.S. Dancing to a Different Drummer?, Communications & Strategies, no. 60, 4th quarter 2005 from former FCC staffer Scott Marcus, provides an analysis of recent US telecom policies and demonstrates how they are at odds with current European policies founded on economic theory.

  • Communications Policy For 2006 And Beyond, former members of the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), Reed E. Hundt and Gregory L. Rosston propose sweeping changes to the current US telecommunications regulatory regime. With impending reform in telecommunications laws, they argue that an important first step is the creation of a bipartisan, independent commission to examine and recommend implementation of more market-oriented communications policy. [via CommsWatch]
Tuesday, February 28, 2006 8:07:03 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

This publication, with a foreword by Nitin Desai, provides an overview of the key debates on Internet governance. It presents the work of the Open Regional Dialogue on Internet Governance, an Asia-Pacific Development Information Programme (APDIP) initiative that has collected perspectives from regional experts and end users.

Tuesday, February 28, 2006 11:21:43 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

According to an article from Interfax China, the Ministry of Information Industry has announced the revamping of the country's Internet domain name system which will be enforced from March 1, 2006.

The new domain names system consists of a total of 4 Country Code Top Level Domains (ccTLDs) including the English language domain .CN and 3 Chinese-character top-level domains "中国" (.China), "公司" (.com)- in China .com is used to refer to companies, and "网络"(.net).

Tuesday, February 28, 2006 10:51:00 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India has published comments received on its recent consultation paper on Issues pertaining to Next Generation Networks (NGN) released in January 2006. Also see accompanying Press Release.

The ITU Strategy and Policy Unit is hosting a workshop entitled What Rules for IP-enabled NGNs? in March 2006. The ITU also has a website on related national, regional and international policy and regulatory initiatives.

Tuesday, February 28, 2006 9:50:39 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Friday, February 24, 2006

  The Golden Book — a record of work undertaken to implement the goas of the World Summit on the Information Society and build the future Information Society — was launched on 24 February 2006 during the Consultation Meeting of WSIS Action Lines Facilitators/Moderators, convened by ITU, UNESCO and UNDP in Geneva.

This Golden Book highlights some of the valuable work being done around the world to promote ICTs in projects, large and small, by governments, individuals or team effort, for the benefit of all. It provides illustrative examples of new and innovative projects to build infrastructure, promote ICTs in education, health and governance, ensure fair access and enhance online security.

The Golden Book has been published by the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) as a permanent record of the new commitments and resources pledged by stakeholders during the Tunis Phase of the World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS). All WSIS stakeholders at the Summit were invited to submit an online questionnaire with details of their activities announced during the Tunis Phase. These activities have been planned or are already being undertaken to implement the WSIS Plan of Action. The Golden Book also serves as a tool helping to coordinate the action taken to implement the 11 Action lines and avoid duplication.

More than 375 submissions were made to the Golden Book by governments, international organizations, NGOs, companies and individuals, describing their work towards promoting ICT activities. ITU estimates that the activities announced during the Tunis Phase to promote WSIS goals represented a total value of at least € 3.2 billion (US$ 3.9 billion). Governments committed to implement projects for some € 1.9 billion, representing nearly two-thirds of estimated total value of all commitments, while international organizations pledged to carry out activities for around half that amount, i.e. 0.83 billion Euros. Business entities announced plans to realize projects for around 0.35 billion Euros and civil society projects amount to least 0.13 billion Euros.

Amount of financial commitments by stakeholder

Breakdown by anticipated expenditure

For more information on the Golden Book, please see here.

Friday, February 24, 2006 6:22:36 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Wednesday, February 15, 2006

Eli Noam: Moore’s Law at risk from industry of delay:

"So, in technology, Moore’s Law is alive and well. But technology does not operate in a vacuum. No business or government institution can change at 50 per cent a year. While stability and tradition are important, if a fundamental technology progresses far beyond society’s ability to absorb its impacts, a growing disconnection occurs. When, in the 19th century, technology proceeded at a rapid pace while social institutions did not, the results were upheavals and revolutions. Today, again, the key elements of the information economy are progressing at a scorching rate, while private and public institutions are lagging behind.

Examples include the way the US lost leadership in mobile wireless and broadband internet because of interminable governmental processes in spectrum allocation. Around the world, it has taken more than a decade to set the rules on interconnection among telecommunciation carriers, and they are still far from settled. This has slowed the entry of new-style carriers.

The question of whether new broadband services should be treated in the same time-consuming way as traditional telecommunication has tied regulators in knots and recently created a confrontation between Brussels and Germany. In South Korea, video over the internet requires a broadcasting licence, which has slowed how much the network is used. Patent offices every­where are falling behind their workload. It may soon take more than five years to get a patent in the US."

Wednesday, February 15, 2006 12:49:56 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Tuesday, February 14, 2006

FCC Examines Need For Tougher Privacy Rules.

"In a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) adopted today, the Commission seeks comment on a variety of issues related to customer privacy, including what security measures carriers currently have in place, what inadequacies exist in those measures, and what kind of security measures may be warranted to better protect consumers’ privacy. The Notice grants a petition for rulemaking filed by the Electronic Privacy Information Center (EPIC) expressing concerns about whether carriers are adequately protecting customer call records and other customer proprietary network information, or CPNI. EPIC claims that some data brokers have taken advantage of inadequate security standards to gain access to the information under false pretenses, such as by posing as the customer, and then offering the records for sale on the Internet. The practice is known as "pretexting.""
    Tuesday, February 14, 2006 10:05:12 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
     Monday, February 06, 2006

    More regulation while competition is increasing? That does not sound right, according to the GSM Association. Instead, given the innovative nature of 3GSM, its embryonic status and the current lack of market and legal certainty, regulatory forbearance is advisable.

    10 Regulatory Principles:

    1. Regulators should continue to seek a balance between the benefits and costs of intervention, on the one hand, and regulatory forbearance, on the other.

    An overly interventionist approach, which could lead to short-term benefits, could potentially stifle a dynamic market process with inevitable and adverse competitive, economic and even social consequences on the longer term. In general, competition is deemed to be a better approach to economic efficiency than regulation, and the regulators must encourage sustainable competition for the long term.

    2. Regulation should be based on clearly defined goals and policy objectives and should be kept to the minimum necessary to meet these objectives.

    Once effective competition is established or there is a reasonable prospect of a effectively competitive market in the near term, regulatory forbearance should prevail (with competition law providing appropriate safeguards).

    3. Regulators should acknowledge that 'normal' competitive markets reflect a range of operator return and should not intervene in competitive markets where one or more operators' return appears to be above the 'norm'.

    In the mobile market, the reality is that some operators have made good returns (on invested capital), while others have not. This situation is not of itself a cause to regulate away 'excess profits'. If a regulator judges from the highest standard, and regulates accordingly, then the less performing companies will unavoidably hit, thus further reducing already inadequate returns and threatening long term competitive development.

    4. Regulation should fit (reflect) the market situation and balance the micro and macro views.

    For example, when in certain cases mobile termination or roaming charges may appear high to regulators in certain countries, these cannot be judged in isolation.

    5. Regulators should be publicly accountable and act in a transparent way.

    Regulatory intervention should only be imposed after an appropriate public consultation process, which in most cases, will include market definition and assessment and a further assessment as to the appropriate regulatory remedy. A full right of appeal both on grounds of law (substance) and procedure (process) is an essential element of the checks and balances, which are necessary between operators and regulators.

    6. Governments should adopt licensing practices that encourage new investments in telecommunication infrastructures and facilitate competition within the sector.

    Un-harmonized license award procedures together with varying license conditions/obligations may lead to varying investment incentives in national markets and may eventually give rise to some discrepancy with respect to the levels of mobile service developments. Licensing policies and procedures must be applied judiciously] since not only they can influence market entry but also the post-entry conditions affecting competitiveness and market development. For auctions to contribute positively to economic welfare, they must meet a set of stringent preconditions (all potential bidders must be fully informed as to any Government imposed terms and conditions, including fees and changes to fees). When designing auctions, policy-makers should seek to achieve efficient resource allocation rather than primarily aiming to raise surplus government revenue. High license fees in some developed countries may constrain the ability of operators to invest in developing countries.

    7. Spectrum should be allocated on the basis of achieving economically efficient, competitive and structurally desirable outcomes rather than to extract monopoly rents from the industry.

    If the market is the best allocator of scarce resources, as most economists would argue, it is important that countries should be able to develop their own spectrum trading arrangements. In principle, regulators should allow for secondary trading of spectrum within planned internationally frequency allocations, after a thorough consultation process with the industry (i.e. mobile operators) evaluating the advantages and disadvantages of spectrum trading.

    8. The feasibility and commercial desirability of sharing of facilities and infrastructure is a matter, which is operator and market specific.

    In certain circumstances, sharing can be beneficial by, for instance, driving efficiencies through accelerated network rollout, the potential elimination of unnecessary cost duplication and the minimization of certain adverse environmental impacts. Accordingly, regulators should enable commercial negotiations on facility sharing among mobile operators to proceed subject however to license conditions not prohibiting the proposed form of sharing and competition not being materially and adversely impacted by the proposed form of sharing.

    9. Restrictions on the deployment of mobile networks should be based on science and substantiated studies, and not in response to 'public concern' which is without scientific basis.

    10. Adequate consumer safeguards against the inappropriate use of customer data are in place in most countries.

    In overseeing the implementation of those safeguards, regulators should balance the interests of consumers to data privacy, on the one hand, and timely and easy access to services and information on the other. Further, regulators should look first to relevant self-regulatory industry initiatives to achieve those objectives.

    Monday, February 06, 2006 2:26:44 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
     Sunday, February 05, 2006

    It's just not major telecommunication carriers who appear to want to build separate "internets" with guaranteed QoS and security (aka NGN). Today's UK Times Online has an article on rumours that Google intends to build its own "tiered" internet.

    Sunday, February 05, 2006 3:13:44 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
     Monday, January 30, 2006

    The French telecommunications regulator, ARCEP has published a study (in French) by OVUM on the impact of the deployment of NGNs, migration scenarios as well as the possible impact on regulation.

    Monday, January 30, 2006 6:25:37 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
     Sunday, January 29, 2006

    From Richard Stastny's VoIP and ENUM blog comes information out of a recent annual meeting of FTTH Council Europe where an announcement was made that the City of Vienna, together with the city-owned electricity company (Wienstrom) and the sewage company (Wienkanal), will provide all households in the city (~1 million) with FTTH (or FTAH=Fibre to All Homes).

    Sunday, January 29, 2006 10:52:04 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
     Friday, January 27, 2006

    Japan's Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communication (MIC) has announced the latest news on its recently established (October 2005) "Study Group on a Framework for Competition Rules to Address Progress in the Move to IP". The Study Group is considering i) basic concepts of competition rules in preparation for a full-fledged IP age, as well as ii) interconnection and tariff policies in the future.

    At the first meeting, members of the Study Group discussed an agenda to be deliberated upon and adopted a draft agenda. From the standpoints of i) improved transparency for open deliberations and ii) further enhancement of the themes, the Study Group decided to invite public comments on the draft agenda during November 2005. During the second meeting of the Study Group on December 21, 2005, the Study Group adopted the Consideration Agenda Concerning a Framework for Competition Rules to Address Progress in the Move to IP.

    Friday, January 27, 2006 10:11:22 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
     Monday, January 23, 2006

    In preparation for an upcoming ITU workshop entitled What Rules for IP-enabled NGNs?, to be held 23-24 March 2006 at ITU (see workshop concept document), an ITU NGN Policy and Regulatory site is now available and under development.

    The new site contains links to the workshop and other resources as well as the most recent NGN-related news from the ITU Strategy and Policy Unit and the ITU-T.

    Monday, January 23, 2006 9:42:29 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

    OECD: VoIP - Developments in the Market: From the main points of the study:

    The growing importance of VoIP services is reflected in the regulatory debate at both the national and international level among OECD countries. There are a range of issues that need to be addressed surrounding the issue of whether traditional regulations should or should not apply to VoIP services. They include classification of the application/service, interconnection, possible market entry barriers, numbering, universal service issues, customer protection, privacy protection, emergency call capabilities, law enforcement issues, and technical safeguards (e.g. solutions for possible low quality of sound). These issues are complicated by the fact that IP can be utilised in all or some parts of traditional and nontraditional communication networks. Delivering a voice service or application can be provided entirely over IP or partly over IP and partly over non-IP. Depending on how it is defined, the term “VoIP” can seep into the term any voice service which runs over IP at any point of their transmission. This might include services that differ in no respect from traditional circuit-switched analogue voice services provided to customers today other than at some point in the middle of the transmission of the service it traverses an IP-based part of the network. Currently, VoIP is, to a large extent, unregulated in a number of OECD countries, but there are several countries which impose regulations similar to PSTN regulations on VoIP. Some countries distinguish between the types of VoIP services in regulations; for example, VoIP services based on PC-to-PC calls are unregulated, whereas calls from a VoIP phone to the PSTN will be regulated. In the last year, a number of governments have started consultation processes on VoIP regulation.

    Monday, January 23, 2006 8:24:30 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
     Friday, January 06, 2006

    Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) runs public consultation on Issues relating to Convergence and Competition in Broadcasting and Telecommunications. Written comments on the issues raised may please be furnished to Secretary, TRAI by 30th January, 2006.

    The consultation paper published on 2nd January 2006 is available here.

    The mainr issues for consultation include:

    1) Comprehensive Legal Framework

    Keeping in view the various convergence related issues discussed in the Consultation paper and as a measure to facilitate competition and promote efficiency in operation of telecom services so as to facilitate growth in such services.
    a) Whether there is a need for having a comprehensive legal framework to deal with various issues arising out of convergence of technologies and services? If so
    b) Whether, the legal framework must be developed around the Communication Convergence Bill, 2001? If so.
    c) Whether changes may be required in the Bill especially taking into account TRAI’s unified licensing recommendations dated 13th January, 2005.
    d) Whether regulation of carriage and content should be separated, as the skill sets required for the two are grossly different?

    2) Unified Licensing

    To ensure the compatibility of comprehensive legal frame work and the Unified Licensing Regime as recommended by the TRAI vide its recommendations dated 13th January 2005 and also after taking into account the subsequent developments should there be changes required in Unified Licensing ?

    3) Spectrum related issues

    Whether there should be flexibility in spectrum allocation to take full advantage of new services and new technologies for existing services that may evolve with time?

    4) Rationalisation of Differential Custom Duty Regime

    Whether changes should be made in customs duties as proposed by the Committee to promote effective competition amongst telecom and cable operators?

    5) Restriction on use of Protocols

    Whether call termination should be permitted on Customer Premise Equipments (CPEs) using any protocol recommended by ITU/IETF?

    6) Institutional funding

    Whether the Government should intercede with the banks and financial institutions to emphasize the importance of these projects in building up the country’s communication infrastructure and to provide funds to the cable industry wherever found commercially feasible?

    7) FDI Limits

    Whether there is a need to undertake a complete review of the FDI policy for the various sub sectors in telecommunications and broadcasting so that there is consistency in policy and a level playing field between competing technologies?

    8) Right of Way

    Right of Way to Cable operators providing digital services has already been recommended in TRAI recommendations dated 14th September 2005 on Digitalisation of Cable Television. Pending these amendments whether further action should be taken as proposed by the Committee?

     

    Friday, January 06, 2006 10:58:08 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
     Friday, December 23, 2005

    The European Regional Seminar on Regulatory and Economic Aspects of VoIP and Broadband Promotion for Central Eastern European countries (CEE), Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) and Baltic States took place from the 29 to 30 November 2005, in Istanbul, Turkey. The agenda and presentations made at the meeting are available.

    Friday, December 23, 2005 1:45:42 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

    Tides in Communication Politics? About Shifting Involvements and Technologies of Freedom and the Relevance of Albert Hirschman and Ithiel de Sola Pool for Today’s Communication Studies, by Willem Hulsink, former editor of Trends in Communications.

    So like the tides, we can see swings of involvement in shaping the information and communication technologies of the past and the future: initially these technologies are mechanisms of freedom, questioning existing roles and practices, and keeping the hope alive for a better world, but at a later stage, when we realize both their possibilities and complications in real life, these technologies may end in the regulatory domain, provided that they generate perverse effects (e.g. one of Internet’s byproducts, unsolicited mail – spam – is now being addressed by the regulators).

    Friday, December 23, 2005 12:43:34 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
     Wednesday, November 09, 2005

    The US House of Representatives Subcommittee on Telecommunications and the Internet is holding a hearing on 9 November 2005 on the Staff discussion draft of legislation to create a statutory framework for Internet Protocol and Broadband Services (this is a new draft dated 3 November 2005).

    The draft legislation includes provisions on broadband internet transmission services, VoIP, video services and general provisions on how the FCC should address public interest issues, including broadening of the FCC's responsibilities in countering spam.

    Wednesday, November 09, 2005 1:37:03 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

    Roger Darlington's CommsWatch is reporting that the UK's Ofcom has published an independent report which it commissioned from Indepen, Ovum and fathom on the impact of changes to the Television Without Frontiers (TWF) Directive proposed by the European Commission in July 2005.

    Wednesday, November 09, 2005 9:37:20 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
     Monday, November 07, 2005

    For the upcoming Global Symposium for Regulators (GSR) to be held in Hammamet, Tunisia, 14-15 November 2005, just before the second phase of the World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS), the ITU has released a paper by Tracy Cohen, Olli Mattila and Russel Southwood, entitled VoIP and Regulation, which will be presented at the GSR:

    Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) is generally viewed as a “disruptive technology”. All the current market indications show that IP networks and services like Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) will replace traditional PSTN networks and services. ITU estimates that by 2008, at least 50 percent of international minutes will be carried on IP networks and that many carriers will have all-IP networks. Recent trends are certainly headed in this direction. For example, in the United States, residential VoIP subscriber numbers have increased from 150,000 at the end of 2003 to over 2 million in March 2005. It is predicted that subscribers in the US will exceed 4.1 million by 2006, generating over USD 1 billion in gross revenues for the year. In March 2005, the Chilean broadband operator VTR launched the first telecommunication network for residential services based on IP technology. The operator expects to expand its platform and reach 2 million customers in five years. There are approximately 35,000 residential telephones that use IP technology in Chile, either through Chilean operators or through Vonage...

    This paper examines how VoIP services will affect future regulation. Due to the starkly contrasting global perceptions of VoIP however, it is difficult to present a unified approach to regulatory treatment of VoIP and this paper aims to reflect regulatory experiences from a wide range of countries that are grappling with the transition to VoIP. The three sections of this paper are structured to answer both the broad and specific questions raised by VoIP services, including the overall approach to regulating VoIP as a mainstream service; how VoIP has changed voice business models and the various ways of classifying the services it has created; and finally, other related issues frequently raised in connection with VoIP, such as quality of service; network integrity; emergency calling, numbering, communication security and lawful interception.

    Monday, November 07, 2005 11:23:53 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
     Thursday, October 06, 2005

    Nanog has been abuzz for a few days about the depeering of Level 3 and Cogent. This has now been picked up in the press in CNET's Network feud leads to Net blackout:

    Two major Internet backbone companies are feuding, potentially cutting off significant swaths of the Internet for some of each other's customers.

    On Wednesday, network company Level 3 Communications cut off its direct "peering" connections to another big network company called Cogent Communications. That technical action means that some customers on each company's network now will find it impossible, or slower, to get to Web sites on the other company's network.

    Cogent has issued a statement dated October 6 2005 on the termination by Level 3 of peering:

    Level 3 has partitioned its part of the Internet from Cogent's part of the Internet by denying Level 3's
    customers access to Cogent's customers and denying Cogent's customers access to Level 3 customers. Level 3
    terminated its peering with Cogent without cause (as permitted under its peering agreement with Cogent)
    even though both Cogent and Level 3 remained in full compliance with the previously existing interconnection
    agreement.

    Thursday, October 06, 2005 1:50:24 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
     Thursday, September 29, 2005

    According to Computer Business Review Online, NeuStar Inc has won a high-profile contract to provide internet addressing services for the world's GSM carriers, the company announced yesterday. NeuStar will operate a private root DNS server system serving the .gprs suffix, which will only be usable by participating GSMA member companies.

    Update: There has been a lot of subsequent debate about the significance of this deal (mostly on Dave Farber's IP list and Nanog). In this post, James Seng tries to sum up what he sees are the main issues and points to the viewpoints of some other experts.

    Thursday, September 29, 2005 2:21:15 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
     Wednesday, September 28, 2005

    The latest meeting of ITU Study Group 3 saw an agreement that may lead to lower international mobile telephony charges. The move follows a successful initiative in the 1990’s to lower the – then – high cost of international fixed line telephone calls.

    Study Group 3 research has found that in some cases mobile termination charges can be five to ten times more than fixed termination charge. Termination charges happen when calls are terminated in a network other than that from which they have originated. And since as many as 75 per cent of all calls now involve the mobile network in some way Study Group 3 has decided to investigate how to lower these costs and make mobile telephony more affordable.

    The Study Group will send a questionnaire to members and following analysis of the responses it will develop targets aimed at bringing down the cost of mobile call termination. The same initiative for fixed-line telephony is thought to have significantly reduced costs to consumers. Although some lowering of call costs can be shown to have been due to competition and market conditions, call costs were also seen to drop in areas where there was no competition, indicating that the ITU initiative had worked.

    In other news from Study Group 3's last meeting it was announced that an alternative has been agreed to the 140 year old practice of allowing the calling party’s service provider to invoice the call terminator for call termination services. The practice has led to many disputes and there have been calls to review the situation. Study Group 3's meeting agreed to a new model that – it is felt – will be less problematic. Now the call terminator can bill directly for the minutes used by the service provider sending the calls.

    For further information on these and other Study Group 3 activites, please click here.

    Wednesday, September 28, 2005 9:04:30 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
     Monday, September 19, 2005

    The US House Energy and Commerce Committee has released a staff discussion draft legislation (PDF) intended to replace the US Telecommunications Act of 1996.

    According to the Committee's announcement, highlights of the staff discussion draft include:

    • "Creates common regulatory definition for broadband Internet transmission services (BITS) which includes Digital Subscriber Line (DSL), cable modems, and other broadband services.
    • Ensures network neutrality to prevent broadband providers from blocking subscriber access to lawful content.
    • Provides a uniform, federal regulatory framework for broadband providers, Voice-over-Internet Protocol (VoIP), and broadband video providers, except in some areas where state or local rules still apply, such as rights-of-way.
    • Authorizes the FCC to determine that VoIP can be required to contribute to the Universal Service Fund.
    • Develops a streamlined franchising process for broadband video providers.
    • Applies many current cable video requirements to broadband video providers.
    • Allows municipalities to develop and deploy BITS, VoIP and broadband video services. However, municipalities can't provide preferential treatment for these services and must comply with all regulations governing private-sector providers.
    • Ensures that VoIP subscribers have access to 911."
    Monday, September 19, 2005 12:51:32 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
     Thursday, September 15, 2005

    The Country Code 1 ENUM Limited Liability Company has published a letter (PDF) from the US State Department concerning the terms and conditions for the US government to approve the delegation of the +1 country code for ENUM trials.

    Thursday, September 15, 2005 3:17:25 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
     Wednesday, August 03, 2005

    The Australian Communications Industry Forum (ACIF) has announced it is bringing together a number of Australian industry leaders to advise on convergence issues.

    The new ACIF Convergence Group will advise on the best way to tackle issues relating to Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP), Next Generation Networks (NGN), content and other associated areas.

    ACIF’s chief executive officer, Anne Hurley, who chairs the new group, explained that the convergence of multiple technologies was blurring the boundaries of the various regulatory regimes and creating new challenges which the industry needed to address.

    Wednesday, August 03, 2005 9:46:05 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
     Sunday, July 31, 2005

    The Italian Communications Authority (AGCOM) has issued a consultation on its planned policy and regulatory approach to VoIP. See Consultazione pubblica concernente proposte di interventi regolamentari in merito alla fornitura di servizi VOIP. It includes a discussion of a distinct numbering block for VoIP as well as the imposition of requirements for emergency services.

    Via Ewan Sutherland's weblog.

    Sunday, July 31, 2005 11:32:20 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
     Wednesday, July 27, 2005

    The World Bank, Global Information & Communication Technologies Department, released the new discussion paper by Jérôme Bezzina on "Interconnection Challenges in a Converging Environment: Policy Implications for African Telecommunications Regulators".

    The purpose of this paper is to show how interconnection regimes can be adapted to the African specificities in a context of convergence and increased competition. It analyzes how interconnection regulation in Africa has been defined at the onset of the convergence phenomenon (i.e., FTM substitution), and explores the issues related to new technologies (for example Internet protocol [IP] telephony) and interconnection regulation policies.

    The publication is available here.

    Wednesday, July 27, 2005 6:41:16 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
     Tuesday, July 26, 2005

    Spectrum licensing and spectrum commons - where to draw the line by Martin CAVE.

    A paper prepared for the International Workshop on Wireless Communication Policies and Prospects: A Global Perspective, USC, October 8-9, 2004.

    From USC Annenberg School of Communications via Ewan Sutherland's weblog.

    Tuesday, July 26, 2005 4:33:06 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
    Tuesday, July 26, 2005 3:44:24 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
     Thursday, July 14, 2005

    In November 2004, the UK's Ofcom published a consultation on Next Generation Networks: Future arrangements for access and interconnection which explored the potential regulatory issues raised by the move to Next Generation Networks (NGNs). In a follow-up consultation released in June 2005, Ofcom aims to establish a regulatory framework to address those issues and to support the development of NGNs.

    The full version of this document, along with the Annexes, are available via the links below.

    Thursday, July 14, 2005 2:52:58 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

    According to IT and Telecoms: Liberalisation of the long-distance telecommunications market has been postponed from 1 July 2005 until 1 January 2006, Russia Journal reported on the press service of the IT and Telecommunications Ministry. The government has been asked by the Ministry for the delay because some documents required for the deregulation had not yet been drafted by the Economy Ministry. According to the Telecommunications Ministry, the postponement has already been ratified. The Ministry itself asserts that it has presented all the documents required.

    Russia Journal further informs that long-distance telecommunications services were included into the list of licensed services in February this year. Prior to that, Rostelecom had been the only nationwide long distance and international telecommunications operator. In late May, the federal telecommunications supervision service granted licenses to three more operators – Centerinfocom, Golden Telecom and Multiregional Transit Telecom (MTT). However, these three companies are not entitled to render the services unless the rules of joining, which stipulate operators’ behavior on the market, come into effect.

    Thursday, July 14, 2005 2:32:29 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
     Tuesday, May 10, 2005

    News on VoIP regulatory proceedings since the beginning of 2005 from the ITU-D's Regulatory Reform Unit newsroom.

    Tuesday, May 10, 2005 11:21:33 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
     Wednesday, May 04, 2005

    The UK communications regulator OFCOM has done one of the first public consultations on the regulatory implications of Next Generation Networks (NGN), particularly with regard to BT's 21CN NGN initiative. The consultation document, entitled Next Generation Networks - Future arrangements for access and interconnection (overview,complete) explores the implications of Next Generation Networks (NGNs) for access and interconnection arrangements in the UK. The responses to the consultation are available here.

    In BT's response to the consultation, it indicates some of its views on 21CN regulation:

    Finally BT observes that some key aspects of the strategic positioning, NGN access and interconnect, are not addressed in Ofcom's questions. We wish to point to the following specific points.

    1. We would expect that NGNs will blur many of the boundaries all of us in the industry currently take for granted. For example, the distinction between "operators" and "service providers" will diminish; and one could foresee an increase in pan-European alternative providers leveraging their IP infrastructure using next-generation interconnection more effectively. Further, as the barriers to market entry are lowered through technology advances and open standards, we would expect many new entrants to change the landscape - some with innovative value propositions and others by identifying and exploiting new arbitrage angles.

    2. We believe end user customers will soon demand seamless, ‘any to any’ interworking between mobile and fixed networks. Operators will require the ability to roam on, and interconnect to, other national and international fixed and mobile networks in order to facilitate the provision of next generation services. The regulatory regime needs to become more technologically neutral and focus on economic bottlenecks, irrespective of the underlying network technology.

    3. We believe that innovative services will be heavily reliant on intelligent interworking to provide coherent services. Therefore, cross platform access (including roaming and interconnect) to intelligence capabilities will be essential in ensuring further development of services and competition in the convergent marketplace.

    4. BT is disappointed to see the level of potential regulatory intervention and micromanagement, both in commercial and technical terms, demonstrated in this Consultation. This is particularly inappropriate as it followed so soon after the second phase of the Telecoms Strategic Review, which promulgated a deregulatory agenda and a focus on regulating only bottlenecks. This Consultation also includes some substantive inconsistencies of approach which will need to be addressed.

    5. It is critical that the outcome of this - and any later - consultation processes should be a regulatory regime which rewards investment and does not leave BT with a significant proportion of the 21CN investment risk, whilst distributing the investment returns across the industry. Ofcom will wish to consider this issue as they contemplate the responses to the Consultation.

    The ITU Strategy and Policy Unit, in cooperation with the ITU-T and ITU-D, is organizing a workshop on NGN Policy and Regulation in February 2006.

    Wednesday, May 04, 2005 4:32:31 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
     Friday, April 29, 2005

    The latest EU Competition Policy newsletter has an article on pages 8 - 15 entitled State aid rules and public funding of broadband:

    • In the recent months, the Commission had the opportunity to assess several projects involving public support to broadband  development. The considerations developed in this article reflect the Commission's conclusions in the ensuing decisions and aim at providing guidance on how to design forms of intervention that do not raise competition concerns. A word of caution is, however, necessary. These are the first decisions on State aid relating to broadband projects: the present views might evolve in the light of further experience and in view of the quick pace of economic development and technological evolution in the sector.

    [via EuroTelcoblog]

    Friday, April 29, 2005 3:47:10 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

    The May/June 2005 issue of Foreign Affairs magazine has an article entitled Down to the Wire by Thomas Bleha with the summary:

    • Once a leader in Internet innovation, the United States has fallen far behind Japan and other Asian states in deploying broadband and the latest mobile-phone technology. This lag will cost it dearly. By outdoing the United States, Japan and its neighbors are positioning themselves to be the first states to reap the benefits of the broadband era: economic growth, increased productivity, and a better quality of life.
    Friday, April 29, 2005 7:40:35 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
     Friday, April 22, 2005

    The latest issue of the WDR e-Brief, an electronic newsletter with pointers to the latest news from the World Dialogue on Regulation is available:

    • "The World Dialogue on Regulation for Network Economies is concerned with regulation and governance for network economies. We conduct research, facilitate online dialogue and discussion among experts, and publish and distribute papers, reports and other relevant information. The dialogue theme for the current research cycle is diversifying participation in network development."
    Friday, April 22, 2005 2:44:04 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
     Friday, August 13, 2004
    Spectrum Policy.

    The Economist writes that "governments and industries are bracing themselves for the possibility that radio interference will become a thing of the past."


    On one side, therefore, are notions of radio frequencies as scarce resources that can be used by only one transmitter at a time and are worth lobbying and paying billions for; on the other side is the idea that any number of transmitters and receivers can peacefully co-exist on the airwaves and that spectrum should therefore be open to all—not individual property, but rather a commons. To understand this debate, one must look back at history; to understand its importance, at economics.

    The article discusses four technologies:
    - spread spectrum or wideband
    - smart antennae
    - mesh networking
    - cognitive radios

    [E M E R G I C . o r g]
    Friday, August 13, 2004 5:27:02 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     |