'Regulators facing key ICT challenges'
Manama, June 6, 2014
Information and communication technology's increasingly central role in almost every aspect of business and social interaction is creating enormous challenges for ICT regulators and policymakers, whose decisions will have a crucial influence on the shape of tomorrow's world.
This was revealed by top speakers at International Telecommunication Union (ITU)'s Global Symposium for Regulators (GSR), said a report in the Gulf Daily News (GDN), our sister publication.
The world's largest annual gathering of ICT regulatory experts, GSR-14 was hosted by Bahrain's Telecommunications Regulatory Authority (TRA) under the patronage of His Royal Highness Prime Minister Prince Khalifa bin Salman Al Khalifa.
Chaired by TRA chairman Dr Mohammed Al Amer, more than 700 leading specialists from 113 countries worldwide registered to attend the event.
The forum grappled with the many complex legal and public policy issues raised by the increasingly interconnected digital environment.
The conference heard how the fast-growing global store of huge data volumes generated by high-tech sensors, human interaction over web, email and social media sites, and machine-to-machine communications are creating a host of new business opportunities as well as concerns about privacy and the use of personal data by third parties.
Consumer empowerment and the need to share resources were key themes of this year's event.
Regulators stressed the social importance of affordable ICT access, and operators and service providers sought ways of enhancing competition and bringing new products to market in the most cost-effective ways possible.
The need for more radio frequency spectrum to alleviate 'spectrum crunch' and support a growing array of wireless services was one issue where concepts around shared spectrum approaches stimulated vigorous debate.
Several speakers and delegates stressed the importance of reliable spectrum allocations that deliver return on investment for ICT players and service quality for users.
They urged regulators to be open to evolution while ensuring the protection of existing services.
The event concluded yesterday with a set of regulatory best practice guidelines.
The guidelines emphasised the importance of flexibility and manoeuvrability for regulators, and of a holistic approach to today's converged environment to take into account the needs of a broader digital ecosystem, rather than traditional service categories like 'telecoms' or 'broadcasting'.
"Together, we identified measures needed to protect the rights of telecoms and ICT consumers - without stifling innovation - that will enhance the consumer's experience of living in a competitive, safe and trustworthy digital environment," said GSR-14 chair Dr Mohammed Al Amer in his closing address to the delegates.
Outputs from the meeting will be incorporated into the next edition of ITU's flagship regulatory report, "Trends in Telecommunication Reform", which will be released in the coming months. - TradeArabia News Service