Regulatory Implications of Telecommunications Convergence

image of Regulatory Implications of Telecommunications Convergence

This Briefing Report of the Sixth Colloquium assesses the challenges and opportunities confronting regulators that arise from the rapid convergence of telecommunications technologies and markets. Spurred by dramatic technical developments, such as high-speed digital telephony, cable television, wireless technologies, and the Internet, the lines between traditional common carrier telephone ("conduit") services and broadcast-based information and entertainment ("content") services are becoming increasingly blurred. These trends are compelling regulators to re-examine many of the fundamental policies and institutional structures whose goals are to guide telecommunications industry evolution for the benefit of society. The Regulatory Colloquium itself and the preparation of the Briefing Report were funded by the World Bank and the Friedrich Ebert Foundation. The principal author is Mr. David Townsend. The views expressed are those of the author alone.



Executive summary

The term "convergence" has recently gained prominence within the global telecommunications field as a shorthand label to characterize the many changing trends in technology, market conditions, and government policies affecting this vast and broadly defined industry. Among other things, the concept of convergence implies an increasing overlap between the two primary components of the communication process, which have traditionally been segregated within the industry: common carrier "conduit" systems and networks that transmit signals anonymously, and "content"-based information sources and technologies. These two segments have historically been represented by telephony on the one hand, and broadcasting on the other, two dominant technological and organizational models that have also been subject to largely separate regulatory regimes.


This is a required field
Please enter a valid email address
Approval was a Success
Invalid data
An Error Occurred
Approval was partially successful, following selected items could not be processed due to error