Regulation
April 16, 2020

5 reasons to read the new Global ICT Regulatory Outlook report

By Doreen Bogdan-Martin, Director of ITU’s Telecommunication Development Bureau

As the Global ICT Regulatory Outlook 2020 report (GIRO 20) was coming together, none of us could imagine the massive impact that COVID-19 would have – and will continue to have – on all aspects of our lives.

For those of us who work in information and communication technology (ICT), it is already clear how, in the midst of the crisis, our industry is helping us all navigate unchartered territory – from carrying vital public health information, mediating isolation by keeping us connected to each other and staying informed, facilitating distance learning, building local communities that care for the vulnerable, all the way through to enabling distance working.

Today’s events have shown the importance of working together. In the regulatory field, that means collaborative regulation, which is already driving opportunities for an inclusive digital age and meaningful connectivity.

GIRO 20 helps the global regulatory community to understand the trends, challenges and opportunities of a fast-moving and vibrant digital landscape – and the critical role regulation plays within that landscape in delivering meaningful connectivity for all. It lays out a broad canvas of how regulation and digital markets are interacting – and advocates for collaborative regulatory reform in delivering meaningful connectivity and inclusive digital markets.

Here are five reasons to take a closer look:

1) GIRO 20 really is the regulator’s friend

The report is unique: truly global in scope (using ICT regulation data from 193 countries), it offers a twelve-year, historical perspective on how the regulatory landscape has shifted, and continues to shift. The report lays out clearly the trends, challenges and the opportunities before the regulatory community in 2020 – all here in one document. No other report does this. And in case you were wondering, GIRO is based on data consolidation considered to be ‘conceptually sound, statistically coherent and robust’ by no less an authority than JRC, the European Commission’s science and knowledge service. All in all, GIRO is required reading for regulators worldwide.

2) Past, present and future

GIRO 20 continues to set out the decades-long ICT regulation story as our industry develops and responds to major world crises like the 2008 financial crash and COVID-19. It maps each country’s progress against the five generations of regulation – starting with the Generation 1 ‘command and control’ style of regulation right through to the future-facing highly collaborative Generation 5 (G5) regulation. Each of the five generations is authoritatively characterized and rigorously categorized. This simple construct transforms big-data complexity into accessible, high-value information. As a result, regulators everywhere can not only check where they are against the map, but can track and compare their progress with that of other countries – and can navigate their route forward.

3) The ‘golden rules’ for growing mobile and fixed broadband

Expert sifting of high-quality data from 193 countries over a period of more than a decade enables GIRO to report with authority on what works and what does not. And for regulators seeking to broaden access and light up their markets, GIRO sets out six golden rules that grow mobile broadband adoption – and seven that will grow fixed broadband. It’s a short must-read, but a vitally important one for regulators set on maximizing broadband access in their countries.

4) Advocacy for collaborative regulation

In three years of GIRO reports, one feature of overarching significance has emerged with great clarity – the need for collaborative regulation, open in spirit, cross-sector in scope and innovative in what it can achieve. Exhaustive, evidence-based analysis has made it abundantly clear that only collaborative regulation will be fit-for-purpose in piloting economies through the accelerating digital revolution towards broad, inclusive and meaningful connectivity. This is the message GIRO is bringing down off the mountain. And to that end…

5) The new ‘G5 Benchmark’

New in 2020, the G5 Benchmark is the gold standard tool that fast-tracks countries along the path of collaborative, cross-sector regulation – the best and quickest means to leverage digital transformation. The G5 Benchmark is built around a surgically precise focus that evaluates regulatory frameworks against 25 measurable indicators, clustered across three tracks – collaboration, policy design principles and G5 toolbox elements. For G4 countries looking to make the leap to G5 – and for G3 countries looking to leapfrog – this tool will power up regulatory teams as they strategize and navigate their digital future. See GIRO 20 for much more detail.

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ITU is the United Nations' specialized agency for information and communication technology. Any opinions expressed and statistics presented by third parties do not necessarily reflect the views of ITU.

5 reasons to read the new Global ICT Regulatory Outlook report

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