Infrastructure | Regulation
June 15, 2020

Why this year’s Global Symposium of Regulators will be pivotal

By ITU News

ITU News recently connected with Mr Dan Sjöblom, Director-General of Sweden’s Post and Telecom Authority, about why he is looking forward to chairing this year’s Global Symposium of Regulators (GSR-20) and why this year’s GSR – the 20th edition – will be so important. Mr. Sjöblom also serves as Chair of the Body of European Regulators for Electronic Communications (BEREC) for 2020.

What are you looking forward to most about GSR-20 and why are these annual events important?

GSRs are important every year, because they represent one of the best opportunities for information and communication technology (ICT) regulators worldwide to have an open dialogue in a safe environment about what works well – and what does not.

In our rapidly changing industry, we have seen the pressing need to work across industries and across borders to continuously recraft the regulatory environments that best allow critical ICT investment to flow. Otherwise, we cannot properly unlock the power of ICTs to improve lives.

There are other more industry-focused events to exchange best practices and hear from regulatory affairs representatives of key new and traditional ICT players. But GSRs are the regulator-first venue for us to focus on how to work better together.

What I’m excited about this year is that the COVID-19 crisis has made these issues so critical, so essential.

The situation demands that we learn from each other in real time. And GSR-20 offers one of the best opportunities to do so.

I don’t remember a time when government leaders were more receptive to how regulatory innovation can help them better leverage ICTs to get economies and societies back on track – and to ‘build back better’ after COVID-19.

How has Europe transformed its ICT regulatory approach over time? What are some of the key elements?

Europe started its voyage towards competition and liberalization in the late 1980s, with the new regulatory framework in early 2000s and has been evolving ever since.

Regulation in itself will not lead to the desired targets but it can create the right prerequisite for innovation and investment, by creating a stable and predictable environment.

The new Commission has given great importance to digital transformation. The regulatory framework is founded on the competition principle and a belief that all regulatory measures implemented should have promotion of competition as a basis.

Regulation in itself will not lead to the desired targets but it can create the right prerequisite for innovation and investment, by creating a stable and predictable environment. This is true both for fiber deployment as well as for digital transformation.

How has BEREC evolved and what is next BEREC?

One of the key success factors of BEREC is that it constantly evolves.

What is important to understand is that the regulatory framework is merely a framework. Within this regulatory structure, every Member State has a unique infrastructure requiring a regulation adjusted to the national circumstances. There is no “one size fits all”.

The Best Practice Guidelines are a useful way for us as a global community of ICT regulators to highlight what we see as the best ways to encourage necessary ICT investment while protecting competition, security and privacy so that we can build robust digital economies that citizens trust.

Within BEREC, all these perspectives lay the foundation for regulatory discussions and solutions among independent regulators. Although it is difficult to say exactly how BEREC will evolve, we can see that there are still many challenges when it comes to connectivity and further investments in infrastructure arre needed. But we also see other potential bottlenecks emerging in areas where cross-regulatory cooperation will be increasingly important.

Why are the Best Practice Guidelines coming out of GSR important and how might they reflect what’s happened in Europe?

The Best Practice Guidelines are a useful way for us as a global community of ICT regulators to highlight what we see as the best ways to encourage necessary ICT investment while protecting competition, security and privacy so that we can build robust digital economies that citizens trust. It’s a great thing that we have an opportunity to update these each year in hopes to keep pace with the rapid and transformative industry change we see.

This year, we have an opportunity to update the Guidelines to reflect the evolution of ICT policy in Europe, where we see a high concentration of ‘5th Generation’ regulation, which reflects the concerted effort to work across borders and industries to craft regulation that acknowledges the reality that ICTs underpin so many other industries.

Digital is at the center of the pandemic recovery.  We have seen enormous developments in this short period – but how do we maintain the momentum?

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Why this year’s Global Symposium of Regulators will be pivotal

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