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ITU Advances Plans For New Telecom Regulations

June 11, 2012

On Tuesday, the International Telecommunications Union advanced a series of proposals geared toward launching new regulations in the international telecommunications industry during a Ministerial meeting in Cape Town, South Africa. The proposals seem geared mainly toward improving consumer choice and ensuring access for users.

The new regulations, as advanced by ITU spokesman Andrew Rugege, said that revised regulations would need to focus on several customer-centric concepts, like the basic human right to access communications methods, improving the overall quality of services in key points like convergence and interoperability, as well as improving accounting procedures like international frameworks and tax enforcement issues. Rugege also reportedly suggested considering all these points in the light of protecting natural resources, as well as promoting security in the use of information and communications technology.

The original regulations were written in 1988, and implemented across 178 countries in 1990. Given that most of the nations in question had, in the interim, privatized their telecommunications industries, the ITU began to see a need for altered regulations accordingly. The ITU also wanted to modify policies to ensure sufficient competition and investment in the market, saying that fully $800 billion in investment over the next three years would be necessary to bring mobile broadband capability to Africa.

The successful propagation of communications infrastructure is vital to the economy of the entire planet. Providing that interconnection allows for access to previously inaccessible markets, as well as the potential for new products to bring back to currently established markets. The growth and spread of new ideas and concepts is in itself valuable, and should not be overlooked, and considering that much of the current regulation is nearly 30 years old, it may be worthwhile to revisit some of that regulation and see what can be improved.

Perhaps it is an appropriate time for the consideration of new regulations. Perhaps it's a better time to stay out of the way of modern enterprise and let the businesses put the communications systems out there in the way they find best. But one thing is quite clear: getting more people more access, and more choices in that access, is seldom bad for the consumer.

In this news segment from the ITU at the Arab Summit this year, a mamber of the UAE Telecommunication Regulation Authority discusses the importance of technology in these developing regions.

Edited by Juliana Kenny