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Regulators worldwide embrace principles of open networks, open access

Global Symposium for Regulators Best Practice Guidelines propose
enlightened ICT regulation to stimulate market growth

Dakar, Senegal, 12 November 2010 - This year’s Global Symposium for Regulators (GSR) defined a set of Best Practice Guidelines that will help stimulate the roll-out of the next wave of information and communication (ICT) networks, particularly in the area of broadband access.

The new Best Practice Guidelines encourage regulatory frameworks that foster innovation, investment and affordable access to broadband and other services in markets worldwide, through a set of core principles all regulators can adopt and then adapt to local market conditions.

The GSR welcomed 437 participants from 81 countries and arrived at a shared vision and understanding of the complex challenges facing ICT regulators in today’s converged markets. It was formally opened by Senegal President Abdoulaye Wade on Wednesday 10 November, and chaired by Mr Ndongo Diao, Director General of Senegal’s Regulatory Authority for Telecommunications and Post (ARTP). Mr Diao urged delegates to redouble efforts to eradicate the digital divide that separates those in the developing world from the benefits of ICTs.

A report from the preceeding Global Industry Leaders Forum helped shape debate during the course of the three-day event. Mr Ould Brahim Mahfoudh, Deputy Director-General of mobile operator Expresso, Senegal, served as Chairman of this event also held in Senegal. The GSR also saw a meeting of regional regulatory associations, where experiences were shared and discussion focused on ways to further intra-regional cooperation.

The Best Practice Guidelines argue that “a new ladder of regulation may now be required” to achieve the right balance between service and infrastructure competition. This includes ensuring equal and non-discriminatory access to networks, and the lifting of potential bottlenecks that could prevent users from enjoying the full benefits of a digital environment that is increasingly driven by speed, ubiquity of access and affordable prices, irrespective of the location of network providers and users.

“Our goal is to encourage the development of progressive and enlightened regulatory frameworks that foster innovation, investment and affordable access – particularly in the area of broadband, which represents the next big leap forward in ICT services and applications,” said Dr Hamadoun Touré, ITU Secretary-General. “The best practices adopted at this meeting will help regulators stimulate ICT deployment and deliver real benefits to consumers, through lower prices and innovative new services.”

The guidelines underscore the importance of a clear and transparent regulatory process, including the adoption and enforceability of rules governing service provision, the principle of a technology-neutral approach, the benefits of competitive network and service provision. They also call on regulators to embrace forward-looking regimes that are subject to regular review, to ensure that any regulatory barriers to competition and innovation which may have emerged are removed.

This year’s GSR also saw the launch of a special 10th anniversary edition of the Telecommunications Regulation Handbook, which has been jointly developed by ITU’s Telecommunication Development Bureau and infoDev (World Bank). Complementing the ICT Regulation Toolkit, the handbook has been developed to help give regulators a solid basis on which to develop national strategies to foster the growth of their digital economies.

“Today’s regulators must understand the evolving converged environment to deal with new and unprecedented issues transcending the original scope of their regulatory practice,” said Mr Sami Al Basheer Al Morshid, Director of ITU’s Telecommunication Development Bureau. “Regulators need to seek and apply durable policies and principles that can be continually brought to bear in a changing market. Both the Telecommunications Regulation Handbook and the ICT Regulation Toolkit will continue to assist regulators in marshalling the regulatory expertise they need to navigate the rough seas of technological evolution.”

For the first time, the conference also featured two special workshops National School Connectivity Plans, featuring ITU’s flagship ‘Connect a School, Connect a Community’ initiative .

The outcomes of each year’s Global Symposium for Regulators are incorporated into ITU’s annual Trends in Telecommunication Reform report.

The full draft text of the GSR Best Practice Guidelines is available at:
www.itu.int/ITU-D/treg/Events/Seminars/GSR/GSR10/consultation/index.html

The conference edition of the Telecommunications Regulation Handbook can be downloaded at:
www.itu.int/ITU-D/treg/Events/Seminars/GSR/GSR10/documents/ITU-infoDev_Handbook-2010.pdf

The ICT Regulation Toolkit can be accessed at:
http://www.ictregulationtoolkit.org/en/index.html

The Recommendations of the Global Industry Leaders Forum to the GSR can be downloaded at:
www.itu.int/ITU-D/partners/GILF/2010/documents/GILF-recommendations-en.pdf

Photos from the GILF and GSR can be downloaded from the ITU photo library at: www.itu.int/net/pressoffice/GSR/2010/photos/index.aspx?lang=en or the ITU Flickr site at: www.flickr.com/photos/itupictures/collections/72157625222534733.

 

For more information, visit the event Newsroom at
www.itu.int/ITU-D/treg/Events/Seminars/GSR/GSR10/newsroom/,
go to www.itu.int/ITU-D/partners/GILF/2010/ or www.itu.int/GSR10, or contact:

Sarah Parkes
ITU Media Relations
tel +41 22 730 6039
mobile +41 79 599 1439
email pressinfo@itu.int
Lucy Macdermot
ITU Telecommunication Development Bureau
tel + 221 707 011 910
email pressinfo@itu.int

 

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