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Editorial
Smart regulation for a broadband world
Dr Hamadoun Touré
photo credit: ITU/V.Martin
Dr Hamadoun I. Touré
ITU Secretary-General

National broadband plans, mobile banking, intellectual property rights, open access — there is no single blueprint for best practice, but learning from countries’ experiences is possible. This edition of ITU News highlights current thinking and experience on these topics which, along with many others, form the agenda of the Global Symposium for Regulators, taking place in Armenia City, Colombia, on 21–23 September 2011. I am delighted to see this event take place in the Americas for the first time.!

The rapid growth of the digital economy presents huge opportunities for development, creating global markets for applications and services, reducing the cost of doing business, and unleashing creativity and innovation. Extending broadband networks will accelerate this trend.

In an era in which broadband is increasingly considered the right of every citizen, smart regulation will have to continue evolving on a path towards greater openness, offering incentives while turning challenges into opportunities. When drafting national plans, policies and strategies for broadband deployment and takeup, wide-ranging public consultations will help ensure that the investments ahead are based on the collective decisions of government, industry, and society.

Supportive policy and good governance are essential for the success of broadband deployment and take-up. Where returns are insufficient to attract private investment, public funds can be mobilized through public- private partnerships.

Policy-makers and regulators can provide incentives for private-sector investment by adopting enabling policies, simplifying licensing regimes, reducing obligations, and offering tax breaks. Making more spectrum available for broadband wireless services becomes a cornerstone of future growth of the digital economy.

Open access arrangements could maximize the economic benefits of broadband infrastructure across a broad base of users and suppliers. Regulators and policy- makers should aim for digital inclusion — in other words, broadband services for all citizens.

Countries with high levels of digital literacy are more innovative and productive, and are capturing a greater share of the world’s trade, investment and better jobs. Regulators and policy-makers need to promote firstclass training systems in all countries to ensure that their citizens can fully benefit from the opportunities of the broadband world.

We look to the 2011 Global Symposium for Regulators to identify and endorse best practice guidelines to advance the deployment of broadband, encourage innovation and enable digital inclusion for all!

 

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