Dubai, 7 February 2007 — Bringing together regulatory authorities from
all around the world, the 7th Global Symposium for Regulators (GSR) has
identified best practice guidelines needed to facilitate the migration of Next
Generation Networks (NGN). The 38-point roadmap is designed to encourage
regulatory frameworks that foster innovation, investment and affordable access
"Our goal is to encourage the design of regulatory frameworks that foster
innovation, investment and affordable access to NGNs and that facilitate the
migration to NGN and ultimately lead to bridging the digital divide," said Dr
Hamadoun I. Touré, ITU Secretary-General. "We believe the best practices adopted
at this meeting will ultimately offer the possibility of delivering real
benefits to providers and consumers, through cost reduction as well as offering
innovative new services".
The best practice guidelines underscore the importance of embracing the
principles of a clear and transparent regulatory process including the adoption
and enforcement of rules; technology-neutral and competitive network provision
under a coherent approach that address the issues raised by convergence.
The guidelines also call on regulators to adopt forward-looking regimes
subjected to regular reassessments to ensure that undue regulatory barriers to
competition and innovation are removed. This on-going monitoring would also
ensure that users and providers are able to migrate to future networks whenever
market conditions are met.
Mohamed Al Ghanim, Director General of the TRA of the UAE and
Chairman of GSR 2007 said, "GSR is the industry’s premiere symposium for ICT
regulators and we are delighted that it has concluded on such a high note. We at
the TRA of the United Arab Emirates are firmly committed to adopting the best
practices identified at this symposium and tailor them for the UAE market", Al
Ghanim added. "We encourage all to reap the benefits of these guidelines in
order to collectively raise the standards of the telecommunications industry."
Regulators are also urged to adopt investment friendly regulation considered
as of paramount importance for the success of NGN network deployment, while
maintaining a level playing field and protecting consumer interests. The
adoption of flexible but accurate interconnection models are also encouraged to
allow smooth transitioning to NGNs.
In particular, participants agreed that regulators should take steps to
ensure that the market suffers no undue distortion of competitiveness. In view
of the high level of convergence both at the transport and service level,
participants felt that there was a risk that NGN providers and operators could
be in a position to restrict service level competition to their own advantage.
There was therefore agreement that regulators should be vigilant and monitor any
incident that could require a regulatory response in a way that would not act as
a deterrent for NGN service providers and operators. Regulators are also asked
to keep in mind the need to create regulatory certainty for both incumbent and
competing or alternative providers.
"NGN is seen as somewhere between the telecom and Internet worlds, creating a
whole new range of issues to be tackled by regulators," said Mr Sami Al-Basheer
Al-Morshid, Director of ITU Telecommunication Development Bureau (BDT)". "The
best practice guidelines endorsed by over 100 CEOs and board members of national
regulatory authorities come a long way in addressing the issues and provide the
way forward for all regulators around the world," he added.
Because the deployment of NGN will not happen overnight, the best practices
encourage regulators to define policies that allow for the co-existence of
legacy and IP networks, alternative voice services such as VoIP or bundled
services that can offer voice together with TV and Internet also called triple
play. In doing so, regulators are to consider applying the same obligations to
all operators and providers of telephony services whether traditional
irrespective of how they are delivered to consumers, under the symmetrical
Commenting on the success of the Symposium, Professor Ibrahim Kadi, Senior
Advisor of the Communications and Information Technology Commission (CITC) of
Saudi Arabia said, "GSR 2007 met its set objectives of providing networking
opportunities and the symposium format facilitated the sharing of knowledge and
experiences amongst regulators from all over the world."
The best practice guidelines cover all aspects of service provision including
authorization, access, interconnection and interoperability, numbering and NGN
identification systems, universal access, quality of service, consumer
awareness, security and protection. The full text is available
This year’s event introduced a new feature, Speed Exchanges, to provide
additional opportunities for participants to meet informally and exchange views.
Topics discussed in the Speed Exchanges included interconnection, the enabling
environment, consumer protection, quality of service, regulatory implications of
VoIP, why holding public consultation on NGN, international roaming, regulatory
issues for convergence and what to do with regulatory bottlenecks. Speed
Exchanges were also held on building confidence and security in the use of ICT
as called for by the Action Plan of the World Summit on the Information Society
(WSIS) and on the next steps in the negotiations of the World Trade Organization
"The Speed Exchanges proved extremely useful and came at the right time,"
expressed Roxanne Maria McElvane, Senior Counselor of International Development
at the US Federal Communications Commission International Bureau. "After two
days of high-level presentations and discussions, the exchanges allowed us to
address specific topics and areas of interest with other regulators from around
the world providing greater interaction and networking opportunities."