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Regulatory Theory - Essay Example

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The last three decades have realised quite remarkable reforms in the telecommunication sector, more so concerning the quality and variety of services offered by telecommunication service providers. …
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Regulatory Theory

Download file to see previous pages... In fact, before these far-reaching reforms, telecommunication service provision remained a monopoly of state corporations or in rare cases, was monopolized by private entities. Due to the fact that the provider of telecommunication services in most cases was the government, the regulation of this sector was never quite independent since, all the policy-making and regulatory powers lay with the government and its agencies (Welfens, 2010). Therefore, the management of telecommunication frequencies and the responsibility of operating networks were a preserve of the government of the day (Davidson et al., 1986). For many developed countries, this classical approach to ICT management was quite profitable for some time, given that the increased international tariffs for telecommunication services covered for the subsidized local tariffs. In addition, with the decreased telecommunication cost that resulted from technological advances, the classical approach to ICT operations did well for most developed countries (Welfens, 2010). Unfortunately for the developing and the underdeveloped countries and regions, the classical approach to ICT operation did not work well. The reason for this scenario being that these countries’ networks were somehow restricted to major cities and towns, implying that only the middle and high socioeconomic status citizens could access and utilise ICT services in these countries. While the low socioeconomic status citizen had to make do with poor quality telecommunication services and long waiting lists, the high-income end of the population were advantaged by the cross-subsidisation of ICT prices (Welfens, 2010). Regrettably, the classical approach to ICT regulation did not generate investment income for the developed and the developing countries alike. During the 1980s and the 1990s, the role of telecommunication in the economic growth of countries and the entire world became rather apparent, leading to the development of a number of regulatory and competition polices, even though to a limited extent, in many countries (Koops et al., 2006). Besides, regulating competition, the regulatory and competition policies were expected to instill dynamism, innovativeness, augment availability, accessibility and increase ICT choices and lower tariffs for customers. The first effect of the wave of ICT reforms that peaked in the 1990s was the privatisation of telecommunication service operators. The second effect of the ICT regulatory policies was the introduction of new varieties of services such as mobile telephony and value-added services (Koops et al., 2006). This paper thus explores the need for the regulation of ICT, whether regulation works in the interests of the public and the implications of convergence and innovation on ICT regulation. The Importance of Regulation That the core role of regulation in any industry is to enable sustainability, growth and development is quite apparent and cannot be overemphasized. Therefore, the information and communication technology sector, like the other sectors of an economy, requires a strong legal framework and regulatory mechanisms to function for the betterment of the public. A number of reasons have since been identified to underlie the need for the regulation of information communication and technology. Generally, ICT the need for ICT regulation arises from the recently observed structural changes in the communication industry. The transformation of the industry from a monopoly to a competitive one in many a country has particularly necessitated its stronger regulation (Baldwin et al., 2012). Therefore, the regulation of the ICT sector has been particularly important in the creation of an effective environment for fair competition that supports both ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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