Publication: Convergence in Information and Communication Technology : Strategic and Regulatory Considerations

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Singh, Rajendra
Raja, Siddhartha
This book is a compilation of two recently completed works on the convergence of information and communication technology (ICT) (Singh and Raja 2008, 2009). Since then, convergence, the eroding of boundaries among previously separate ICT services, networks, and business practices, has accelerated and deepened. At the time these reports were written, convergence was already a reality and was picking up pace in low-income countries, as in the rest of the world. Now, as this introduction summarizes, broadband networks are reaching deeper into previously unserved areas. The growing number of people connected to broadband networks are consuming, sharing, and creating new multimedia content and applications. And they are doing this on handheld and portable devices that are less costly and do more than before. All sorts of users, governments, businesses, individuals, and ICT firms, are looking to cut costs while capturing greater value. Taken together, these trends indicate that convergence is set to accelerate even through the ongoing global economic downturn. Countries that enable convergence through appropriate policy and regulatory responses will realize significant benefits in terms of expanded access, lower prices, and greater competition. Chapter two of this book focuses on the strategic implications of convergence and possible policy responses. Chapter three focuses on emerging regulatory practices facilitating multiple plays, or the provision of multiple services, such as voice telephony, broadcasting, and Internet access, by one operator over a single communications network, typically telephone or cable television but increasingly mobile and fixed wireless networks. The book concludes by presenting several best-practice principles for regulatory responses to multiple plays and, to some extent, to convergence more generally. Indeed, the main task for regulators is to remove artificial barriers and restrictions that are remnants of legacy regulation, thus clearing the way for market forces to play out, promoting the public interest, and leading to the realization of a range of benefits for users.
Singh, Rajendra; Raja, Siddhartha. 2010. Convergence in Information and Communication Technology : Strategic and Regulatory Considerations. © World Bank. License: CC BY 3.0 IGO.
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