Digital Regulation Platform
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Regulatory governance and independence

Regulatory governance and independence

Introduction The regulatory framework, as well as the regulatory governance and independence of the institution, are key elements for effective regulation. Today, regulators and policy-makers face multiple challenges: they must address the traditional aspects of information and communication technologies (ICTs) and assess their appropriate roles in addressing the regulatory and policy issues arising from new digital technologies and services. In addition to more traditional issues, such as connectivity and infrastructure development, the digital environment prompts consideration of a broader range of sectors beyond ICTs, such as health, finance, education, transportation, and energy. The issues to be addressed include content regulation,…

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Regulator structure and mandate

Regulator structure and mandate

Institutional structures of regulators Regulators overseeing the ICT sector base their structures on three general design models: the sector-specific regulator, multisector regulator, or converged regulator. As countries began liberalizing their telecommunication markets in the 1990s, they often created new sector-specific regulators to oversee the telecommunication sector, ensuring non-discrimination and promoting competition as monopolies (often state-owned) gave way to new entrants. When there was limited or no competition in telecommunication markets and fewer ICT services available, sector-specific regulators provided an effective institutional structure that enabled staff to build specialized knowledge in the sector, such as tariffing or spectrum engineering. For example,…

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Decision-making and enforcement in a multistakeholder environment

Decision-making and enforcement in a multistakeholder environment

Independence and accountability of the regulator An effective, stable, and credible regulatory framework starts with balancing the independence and accountability of the regulator. An independent regulator can propose, adopt, and implement decisions free from undue political influence, whether from the government or market players. The basic components of an independent regulator – structural, financial, and procedural independence – are crucial to preventing regulatory capture. Elements of an independent regulator Independence does not mean that regulators are above or outside the regulatory framework. Instead, independent regulators play an essential role in the interaction among all stakeholders by acting as objective arbiters…

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Innovative approaches to sector regulation

Innovative approaches to sector regulation

Innovative spectrum use rules Simply applying existing – and potentially outdated – regulation to new digital technologies and services risks stifling innovation. To better keep pace with technological developments, policy-makers are examining different measures to provide clear, flexible, and objectively applied rules that avoid hampering progress. Among the increasing trends toward light-touch and experimental regulatory models are innovative ways to use spectrum, license new technologies, and facilitate universal access. As new wireless technologies enter the field with existing services, there is an ever-increasing demand for spectrum, including for commercial 5G, satellite services, and fixed wireless, as well as increased spectrum…

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Collaborative approaches to policy implementation for digital transformation

Collaborative approaches to policy implementation for digital transformation

Introduction to institutional collaboration Digital transformation is increasingly supporting all sectors of the economy, changing societies and market landscapes while improving access to and delivery of services across multiple industries. This revolution brings both challenges and opportunities, which will require greater collaboration between policy-makers, regulatory authorities, and other stakeholders to effectively harness technological progress and successfully address the challenges of digitalization. The International Telecommunication Union (ITU) has identified how collaborative regulation marks a fundamental change in the way that governments develop regulatory frameworks and rules. It reveals how collaboration among institutions, industry stakeholders, and cross-sector regulators is critical for regulatory…

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Regulatory independence: how to achieve it and how to maintain it

Regulatory independence: how to achieve it and how to maintain it

When 69 Member Nations of the World Trade Organization (WTO) agreed to open their markets to companies from other WTO Members in 1997 they also adopted a document that was unique in the annals of international trade negotiations – the Reference Paper on Regulatory Principles. The Reference Paper was negotiated based on an understanding of the nature of telecommunications markets – in particular that, even when opened to competition, it is essential that the market be regulated in order to allow new entrants to compete with entrenched incumbent operators (referred to in the Reference Paper as “major suppliers.”) One of…

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Cross-border collaboration in the digital environment

Cross-border collaboration in the digital environment

The digital environment is global in nature. For example, Internet users in most jurisdictions can typically view websites and content from anywhere in the world, subject to copyright or other limitations. Global e-commerce enables buyers in one country to purchase goods and services from sellers in another country. With online communications, people can video conference, call, and message for free or at relatively low cost, regardless of location or borders. Billions of these transactions occur daily, involving every sector. This, in turn, raise issues for governments in terms of how to address a host of cross-border issues, including data privacy…

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