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 Meeting chaired by Dr. Eli Noam, Professor and Director of Columbia Institute for Tele-Information, United States of America (Biography)

 First day of the meeting - 23 March 2006

9:00 – 9:30 Registration
9:30 – 10:00 Opening Ceremony
  • Welcome and Opening Addresses - Roberto Blois (Biography) - Deputy Secretary-General of the ITU, Geneva, Switzerland  
10:00 – 10:45

Session 1: Framing the Debate

Session Description: Policy makers and communications regulators around the globe are grappling with how to best promote the public interest in a competitive and innovative IP-enabled communications environment. These debates have intensified as traditional carriers have begun investments and deployments of IP-enabled NGNs—which can be seen as a logical progression from separate PSTN- and IP-network infrastructures to unified networks for future electronic communications based on IP. Technical convergence means regulatory asymmetry is no longer tenable but what path forward? Debates such as “network neutrality” are basic to communications policy and will reappear in many different forms in the coming years. This session outlines the background and frames the debate from different perspectives.

10:45 – 11:00 Coffee Break 
11:00 – 12:30 Session 2: Evolution of National, Regional and International Perspectives

Session Description: Sensitive to the complexity of the issues and polarization of viewpoints, national policy makers, communication regulators and related institutions are taking a cautious approach. This session discusses national, regional and international institutional approaches to framing the debate and how they see next steps forward.

12:30 – 13:30 Lunch 
13:30 – 15:00 Session 3: Perspectives on Pro-competitive Regulatory Approaches to NGN

Session Description: Some stakeholders argue that the IP communications environment has thrived in an unregulated environment that has produced Darwinian competition— resulting in new and innovative applications—some even arguing that “network neutrality” should be codified in technical, legislative and regulatory regimes. Others argue deployment of IP-enabled NGNs requires significant investments and suggest regulatory moratoria for infrastructure providers. Current competitive telecom providers argue the opposite, saying there are questions as to whether, in the absence of wholesale economic regulation, will market dynamics be sufficient to ensure a competitive NGN environment? This session explores these different perspectives.

15:00 – 15:15 Coffee Break
15:15 – 16:30

Session 4: Perspectives on Pro-competitive Regulatory Approaches to NGN cont’d

Session Description: This session is a continuation of Session 3.

16:30 – 16:45 Coffee Break
16:45 – 18:30

Session 5: What Rules for Interconnection and Interoperability?

Session Description: The technologies and architecture of IP-enabled NGNs are fundamentally different from the PSTN and results in new network topologies, associated costs and interconnection models. This fundamentally disrupts current interconnection regimes which is forcing a reopening of long-standing debates on the premises of interconnection as a structural remedy for promoting competition. In a multi-service NGN environment, does it continue to make sense to distinguish voice (including VoIP) as needing a distinctive interconnection regime? If so, why not for other services? Are there applicable lessons to be learned from internet interconnection arrangements?

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Second Day of the Meeting - 24 March 2006

8:30 – 9:00 Registration
9:00 – 10:45

Session 6: What Rules for Interconnection and Interoperability cont’d?

Session Description: This session is a continuation of Session 5.
  • Toward Next Generation Network - From PSTN to new IP-based network Keiichiro Seki (Biography) - Director of International Economic Affairs Division, Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications (MIC), Japan (Presentation/Abstract)
  • Interconnection arrangements for IP-enabled NGNs - Discussion in Germany - Dr. Cara Schwarz-Schilling (Biography) - Head, Internet Economics Section, Bundesnetzagentur, Germany (Presentation/Abstract)
  • Ofcom's regulatory approach to NGN interconnection and interoperability - Steve Unger (Biography) – Director of Telecoms Technology, Competition Group, OFCOM, UK (Presentation/Abstract)
  • Regulatory Issues in an IP-Open Convergent Market, Interconnecting NGN-core and non NGN-core carriers - François Varloot (Biography) – Deputy-Director, Economic and Forecasting Division, ARCEP, France (Presentation/Abstract)
10:45 – 11:00 Coffee Break
11:00 – 12:30

Session 7: Ensuring an Open NGN Platform and Promoting the Expansion of Service and Content Providers

Session Description: Traditional carriers are looking to move “up the value chain” into data and audio-visual content at the same time that mega-internet application service providers (with strong brands and deep pockets) like Google, MSN, eBay and Yahoo are entering voice markets and making forays into competitive infrastructure provisioning. Will market dynamics be sufficient to ensure a competitive environment? Some argue that without attention by regulators, will providers construct “N-play walled gardens” that vertically integrated networks with services—potentially creating bottlenecks for delivery of audiovisual content?

12:30 – 13:30 Lunch
13:30 – 16:00

Session 8: New Concepts of Universal Service, Access and Consumer Protection: What Way Forward?

Session Description: Government and user expectations are changing as to what constitutes basic and universal service to ICTs. What does universal service imply in a broadband-based IP-enabled NGN environment? How is access for all ensured? Are there new NGN consumer protection issues to be considered?

16:00 – 17:00

Session 9: Round Table: An Agenda for Action and Way Forward

Session Description: The Chairman will invite selected participants to participate in a round table to provide their “takeaways” from the workshops discussions and suggest pragmatic next steps. In particular:

  • what are the issues that market forces may not fully address?
  • what are the issues that need to be addressed at a national level?
  • what are the issues that need to be addressed at the international level?
  • how does this interrelate with ITU’s NGN Global Standards Initiative?
  • what next initiatives should be undertaken by ITU to promote an enabling environment on the global level?
17:00 – 17:15 Closing ceremony

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