The worldwide community of telecommunication regulators has called on ITU to
be the repository of more specialized and readily accessible data and
documentation on regulation and to continue the global dialogue amongst
regulators. Regulators also asked that ITU develop guidelines and benchmarks for
effective regulation including interconnect models, access charge agreements and
a code of conduct.
The second annual Global Symposium for Regulators (GSR) was organized around
the theme of ‘effective regulation’ and sought support for affordable and
geographically-accessible skill-building for regulatory staff particularly in
the legal, economic and accounting fields.
"In many ways regulators are like a lighthouse shining a path of light
into a safe and prosperous harbor," says Hamadoun Touré, Director of ITU’s
Telecommunication Development Bureau. "It should come as no surprise that
nearly half of the recognized telecommunications regulatory authorities in the
world directly represent their country at the ITU, 51 at last count. In
addition, four regulators are ITU sector members. This is a testimonial to the
importance of the ITU as a neutral platform for regulators to converge, share
and benchmark their experiences at the Global Symposium for Regulators."
The GSR attracted 369 delegates from 72 regulatory authorities and 21 sector
members and other organizations representing a total of 102 Member States. The
regulators present ranged from long-established agencies like the US Federal
Communications Commission (FCC) to the regulatory body of Latvia, which was
created into existence only on December 1, 2002.
Anthony S.K. Wong, Director General of OFTA, Hong Kong, China chaired the
meeting. Mr. Wong stated in his closing remarks that "regulators are
enablers and facilitators. It is not enough merely to create a regulatory body;
they must be given the tools needed to develop as effective regulators."
Maya Shankar Verma, chairman of the Telecommunication Regulatory Authority of
India (TRAI), and a keynote speaker adds, "GSR has proved itself again to
be a useful and practical platform for regulators to discuss the pressing issues
they are facing and to which they are seeking answers."
The GSR provided the opportunity for regulators to review the functioning of
the electronic conference and hotline on the Global Regulators’ Exchange
(G-REX), which was implemented as a result of last year’s symposium. G-REX has
been well received by regulators. "It promises to reduce communication
costs, create regulatory communities of interest and provide international
visibility for the regulator," said Audrey Baudrier, of the French
regulatory body Autorité de régulation des télécommunications (ART).
A consensus was reached to open the G-REX component of the conference on an
experimental basis to learning institutions and consultants as a way of
enriching the discussion. A steering group was tasked with reviewing the
subjects presented on G-REX before the year-end and presenting action points to
ITU’s World Telecommunication Development Conference to be held in March 2002
in Istanbul, Turkey.
Part of the conference was dedicated to the presentation of country case
studies by the agency heads of Anatel, Mr. Renato Guerreiro (Brazil), Peru’s
Ospitel, Mr. Jorge Kunigami, the Info-Communication Development Authority of
Singapore (IDA), Mr. Keng Thai Leong, Morocco’s Agence nationale de
réglementation des télécommunications (ANRT), Mr. Mostafa Terrab (Morocco)
and Mr. Cutherbert Lekaukau from the Botswana Telecommunication Authority. In
addition, there were roundtable discussions on the regulators, institutional
frameworks for regulation, transparency and fairness, regulatory functions as
well as staffing and financing issues.
There was also a call for more case studies from stakeholders in the
regulatory process, including private sector vendors, operators and investment
banks, on their experiences with regulation. Overwhelmingly, regulators called
for regional sub-groupings and regional aggregation of expertise to enhance the
credibility and effectiveness of individual regulators’ decisions.
The first day of the symposium was open to the private sector. The remaining
two days were reserved for the regulators and policy-makers, offering them the
opportunity to discuss experiences, share their concerns and arrive at globally
The third Global Symposium for Regulators will be held in Geneva in the fall