ITU, infoDev Intro Regulatory Toolkit

ITU and the World Bank offer an online Regulation Toolkit to help folks deal with confusing and rapidly proliferating telecom and IT regs

July 28, 2005

3 Min Read

GENEVA -- The International Telecommunication Union (ITU), the United Nations specialized agency for telecommunications, and infoDev, a multi-donor programme focusing on information and communication technologies (ICT) for development, today launched a new online Regulation Toolkit designed to address the complex regulatory challenges emerging from a rapidly evolving ICT industry.

An update and expansion of infoDev’s influential print publication Telecom Regulators’ Handbook (issued in 2000), the new web-based toolkit is aimed at national and regional regulatory agencies, ICT policy-makers, and other stakeholders with an active interest in ICT regulation. Nearly 140 countries worldwide now have a national regulatory authority, with the vast majority having been put in place during the last 10 years. These relatively new authorities, many of which have been established as part of a broader programme of national ICT liberalization, have a strong need for reliable and impartial information on regulatory issues and best practice.

"Today’s regulators and policy makers — especially those in the developing world — are seeking practical advice and concrete best practice guidelines to help grow their national ICT markets," said Hamadoun I. Touré, Director of ITU’s Telecommunication Development Bureau (BDT). "The new ICT Regulation Toolkit responds to this demand by providing a first-class product on policy and regulation."

Conceived as a permanently evolving resource, the toolkit consists of a series of modules on key regulatory issues in the rapidly converging ICT sector. The first module, which went live today, deals with the authorization of telecommunication services. It addresses such issues as different authorization approaches and practices, and competitive licensing processes. It also highlights recent trends toward lighter authorization and licensing practices that reduce barriers to market entry.

The remaining modules are scheduled to come online between now and 2006. They will cover legal and institutional aspects of regulation; interconnection, price regulation and competition; new technologies and their impact on regulation; and radio spectrum management.

Each module consists of a core document, which provides a high-level summary of the topic concerned, and serves as the framework for a range of online content giving more detailed information through hyperlinks. These hyperlinks allow users to access secondary documents that offer in-depth treatments of the topic in both text and graphical formats. Users can gain access to reference documents containing information on best practice and industry precedents. They can also obtain practice notes that provide summaries, background, context and practical advice. As well as providing an invaluable day-to-day information resource, all modules can also be used as training materials in formal training sessions for regulators or operators. The online version of the ICT Regulation Toolkit will be regularly updated to ensure that it incorporates the very latest information on regulatory strategies, best practice and country case studies.

"This new ICT Regulation Toolkit will provide ICT policy-makers and regulators with practical approaches and instruments to support their decision-making," said infoDev Programme Manager Mostafa Terrab. "It is a unique resource designed around three key features: it is an interactive, on-line tool allowing for user feedback and enhancement; it is dynamic in that its contents will evolve to reflect new developments in the sector; and it is forward-looking, foreseeing and anticipating policies and regulations that fully leverage the potential of new technologies to maximize access for all throughout the developing world."

The full toolkit will be showcased at the annual ITU Global Symposium for Regulators (GSR), to be held in Hammamet, Tunisia from November 14 to 15, 2005, as well as at the upcoming World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS), which will take place in Tunis from 16 to 18 November 2005.

International Telecommunication Union (ITU)

Information for Development Program (infoDev)

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