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.



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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