Internet Needs Flexible Governance, Not Restrictive Regulation: Report
A new report released by a global telecommunications, media and technology firm reveals that recent proposals to regulate the internet will harm growth and innovation worldwide.
In a report released on Monday in Geneva, Switzerland, the TMT firm Analysys Mason recommended that governments develop a robust Internet ecosystem while avoiding strict regulations.
The report, “Internet global growth: lessons for the future,” authored by Michael Kende, co-head of Regulation at Analysys Mason, examines the impact of proposals that seek to apply the antiquated system for terminating international voice calls through the payment of settlements to Internet traffic.
The proposals in the report are addressed to the International Telecommunications Regulations, which are being readied for the World Conference on International Telecommunications to be held in Dubai this December by the United Nations’ International Telecommunication Union.
The report highlights the Internet as a driver for growth and opportunity, noting its increasingly central role to consumers, businesses and governments alike.
“Content has transformed from largely text-based to multimedia delivery, global demand and usage has exploded, and access has moved toward wireless over wired,” Kende writes.
Kende says that significant investments must continue to be made in response to these trends, as current projections show that the number of Internet users worldwide will increase from 2.2 billion in 2012 to 3.5 billion in 2020.
The report confirmed the upward swing in Internet usage via mobile broadband throughout the world, especially in Africa, Asia and Latin America, and that further deployment of such technology is best achieved without internationally sanctioned regulatory intervention.
Applying unwarranted static voice regulations to the Internet would negatively impact users across the globe and slow or reverse current growth trends. Furthermore, the rate system would be difficult to design and expensive to implement, and would increase the cost of content delivery and hinder network investment at the expense of users.
Lastly, the report offers specific suggestions for governments in developing countries, including removing roadblocks to investment while stimulating demand, as well as full liberalization of the sector while removing barriers to foreign investment and ownership.
“Spurring access and adoption of the Internet has the ability to transform and improve entire economies, and no one stands to gain more than those in developing nations,” added Kende. “Applying a settlement regime as some countries are proposing is a solution in search of a problem, which would ultimately slow Internet penetration and the availability of content.”