Regulatory Approaches to NGNs: An International Comparison
The emergence of Next Generation Networks (NGNs) raises profound challenges for regulators everywhere. Different regulatory authorities have approached these problems in strikingly different ways, depending in part on the overall regulatory milieu in which they operate, and in part on the nature of the NGN migration envisioned by major market players. Also, the NGN core network raises significantly different issues from those of the NGN access network. The migration to NGN raises many of the same issues that were already on the table as a result of the broader migration to IP-based services, notably in regard to the de-coupling of the service from the underlying network. To these concerns are added profound questions related to the nature of market power. Will NGNs enable new forms of competition? Will competitive bottlenecks remain, especially in the last mile? Will NGN enable new forms of bottlenecks to emerge, especially in the upper layers of the network, perhaps as a result of new IMS capabilities? Regulators in the UK, Netherlands, Germany, Japan and the United States have been forced to deal with these issues due to relatively rapid migration to NGNs proposed by their respective incumbent telecoms operators. Many of the same issues are also visible in the recommendations that the European Commission finalised on 13 November 2007 as part of the ongoing review of the European regulatory framework for electronic communications. In this paper, we compare and contrast the many regulatory proceedings that have been produced by these regulatory authorities.
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