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Converging Networks

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This Handbook presents the ITU-T Recommendations on next generation networks in the context of the ongoing convergence of the telecommunications and media industries.

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NGN regulation

The nature of telecommunication regulation has changed radically over the past 30 years. Although telecommunication services were often provided by private companies in a competitive environment in the early years of the history of telephony, by the mid-20th century the provision of telecommunication services was generally considered to be a natural monopoly and regulated as such. A natural monopoly exists if "the economies of scale are such that to have more than one company in the market would increase units costs" and so "be detrimental to consumers" [Hills]. Telecommunication services were therefore regulated to ensure that a monopoly position was not abused and also to reach social welfare goals. Operators were private or state-owned companies or even government departments. Telecommunication regulation could then be defined as "the substitution of rules made by government for the competition of the market" [Hills]. This could involve detailed intervention in the business of the network operator by setting the rates of return upon investment, tariffs or even deciding which services could be offered.

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