Technological Conv...

Technological Convergence and Regulation

Challenges Facing Developing Countries?

This special publication of "Communication and Strategies", the Journal of IDATE, was co-sponsored by infoDev as a contribution to the debate in the second phase of the World Summit on the Information Society. It offers a wide range of innovative thinking on the topic of convergence and its impact on regulation.

The ICT sector has undergone some dramatic changes in recent years, triggered by the development of new technologies and the convergence of existing ones, leading to a merging of markets and services. These developments affect traditional policy strategies, raising the question of how to deal with growing pressure to adopt converged regulatory regimes and how to successfully realize the potential of alternative network infrastructures. Over the past few decades these dramatic technological advances have coincided with a first wave of reform in developing countries, which has had a positive impact. However, this positive impact was largely accidental, resulting from a combination of internal and external pressures to open telecom markets and the transfer of GSM technology, which had achieved economies of scale from deployments in more mature markets. With digitization, all media become translatable into each other and escape from their traditional means of transmission: convergence relates to the merging of separate fields. What is primarily conceived of as convergence relates to technology, but in a secondary sense, a number of other fields come into play, including services, markets, related player configurations (industry alliances and mergers) and regulation.

A primary question in designing this special issue of "Communications and Strategies" was the need to understand how, in a fast moving technological environment, effective policy and regulatory policies may be developed to fully leverage the opportunities created by rapid technological changes. The purpose of this issue is therefore to initiate the development of an intellectual framework, and gather innovative content that explores issues related to new technologies and regulation policies. This is intended to help key players in regulation to keep track of new technologies and enable them to respond to new innovations "just in time" by adjusting regulatory frameworks and legislation.

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