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UN telecommunications group launches online regulatory database

UN telecommunications group launches online regulatory database

The United Nations telecommunications agency today joined with a global network promoting information and communication technologies (ICT) for development to launch an online “toolkit” to help policy-makers – particularly in developing countries – get instant access to the latest information and analysis on key ICT regulatory issues.

The UN International Telecommunication Union (ITU) and Information for Development Program (infoDev), which works to promote effective use of ICT as tools for poverty reduction and sustainable development, launched the new web-based Regulation Toolkit, designed to help address complex regulatory challenges emerging as the ICT industry evolves. The remaining phases are scheduled to come online between now and 2006.

An update and expansion of infoDev’s influential 2000 print publication “Telecom Regulators’ Handbook,” the new online toolkit is aimed at national and regional regulatory agencies, policy-makers, and others with an active interest in ICT regulation. Nearly 140 countries worldwide now have a national regulatory authority, with the vast majority having been put in place during the last 10 years.

“Today’s regulators and policy makers – especially those in the developing world – are seeking practical advice and concrete best practice guidelines to help grow their national ICT markets,” said Hamadoun Touré, Director of ITU’s Telecommunication Development Bureau (BDT). “The new ICT Regulation Toolkit responds to this demand by providing a first-class product on policy and regulation.”

Conceived as a permanently evolving resource, the toolkit consists of a series of modules on key regulatory issues in the rapidly converging ICT sector. Users will be able to gain access to reference documents containing information on best practice and industry precedents. The Toolkit will be regularly updated to ensure that it incorporates the very latest information on regulatory strategies, best practice and country case studies.

The first module, which went live today, covers authorization of telecommunication services. It addresses such issues as different authorization approaches and practices, and also highlights recent trends toward lighter authorization and licensing practices that reduce barriers to market entry.

The subsequent modules will cover legal and institutional aspects of regulation; interconnection; price regulation and competition; new technologies and their impact on regulation and radio spectrum management.