Effective ICT regulation critical

Noting that there has been massive growth in the adoption of ICTs worldwide, the World Telecommunication Union (ITU) says more effective ICT regulation is now more critical than ever.

The report says worldwide cellular subscriptions are now over 5.3 billion, including 930 million broadband subscriptions. Access to mobile networks is now available to 90% of the world’ s population.

ITU’ s flagship ICT regulatory report Trends in Telecommunication Reform notes the increasingly pervasive presence of ICTs in virtually every facet of modern life.

The report reveals an increasingly robust yet complex regulatory landscape which has emerged in response to the tremendous influence ICTs now have on the shape and growth of other economic sectors.

It said at the beginning of 2011, more than 80% of markets worldwide have separate ICT regulatory agencies, making for a total of 158 ICT regulators worldwide – up from 106 just one decade ago.

Trends in Telecommunication Reform 2010-2011 confirms that ICT markets around the world are becoming more competitive in just about every respect, from international gateway services to wireless local loop and 3G. In 2010, more than 93% of countries worldwide allowed competition in the provision of Internet services, and 90% in the provision of mobile cellular services. A further 92% have competitive 3G mobile broadband markets.

“ ICTs are truly at the heart of everything we do,” said ITU Secretary-General Dr Hamadoun Touré . “ Technology is reshaping the lives of everyone – even those who still lack direct access themselves.”

  “ Because ICTs touch all aspects of society, when setting sound policies and regulation the link between ICTs and major social issues like climate change, economic growth and digital lifestyles has to be taken into account,” said Brahima Sanou, Director of ITU’ s Telecommunication Development Bureau.

“ More than ever, it is vital to consider the appropriate scope of the ICT regulator’ s mandate in creating an enabling digital world, a world where no citizen should be left out of the digital society.”

The report confirms the huge potential for ICTs to make positive contributions to major social challenges.

Trends in Telecommunication Reform 2010-2011 also contends that broadband access is no longer a luxury, but a necessity that will be crucial to every country’ s economic, social, and political growth. With broadband a powerful potential accelerator towards the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), which are now nearing their 2015 target, the report particularly highlights the need for proactive national broadband planning by every government.

An effective national broadband policy will examine the options for stimulating the deployment of broadband and for maximizing the positive economic impact of the technology. It will include strategic spectrum management that encompasses managing the transition from analogue to digital radio and television broadcasting, and the laying of a solid foundation for the rollout of Next Generation Networks.

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