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Regulation and Standardisation – the Power to do Good

by david.nunes

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Connect-World ICT Magazine, Telecom Magazine

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Latin America 2012
21st January 2013

Dear Reader,

The theme for this edition is the challenging role of regulations to do ‘Good’. Regulators often come under criticism, but the consensus of opinions in this edition is that Latin America needs the regulators to do their job! With judicious regulations, Mobile Broadband Internet will thrive and spread to the nether regions. It will energize business, raise the GDP, reach remote underserved communities and close the gap of the ‘Digital Divide’. Realising that, governments in the region are actively pursuing initiatives such as the ‘Dulce’ program for remote diabetes care in Mexico, crime prevention via remote instant reporting in El-Salvador, and fishermen direct marketing in Brazil.

The regulator’s task is not an easy one – technology acceleration means that regulators cannot rely on long-term plans. They must be flexible enough to adjust rules as and when needed. Rules must be in place to protect consumers and open the market, but they must not frustrate innovation before it blossoms. Regulations must also consider international compatibility to enable interworking across borders, in support of multi-national corporates in the increasingly globalized Internet-based business.

An urgent task facing the regulators in Latin American countries is freeing up and re-farming of spectrum for mobile broadband Internet. The region is enjoying a remarkable growth rate in mobile and Internet penetration, and demand outstrips supply, leaving mobile carriers crying out for additional spectrum.   Regulators hold the key to the selection of methods, standards, frequency bands, rules of auctioning and licensing terms – and with all this, they have ‘the Power to do Good’.

Quick interim solutions that optimize existing infrastructure can alleviate the problem in the short run.  With advanced bandwidth optimization, statistical multiplexing and grooming techniques, the capacity can be doubled while preserving quality and data integrity. To enable low cost incremental deployments in sparsely populated areas or particularly congested spots, new smaller ‘cassette’ units can be used, with the ‘aerial rather than burial’ method of installing fibre.

Regulators, such as the Brazilian ANATEL, are also looking to lowering communication prices in Latin America. For this reason, they are introducing MVNO (Mobile Virtual Network Operator) licences. This injects not only competition but also the search for distinctive and innovative service packages to approach the market. At the same time, consumers must be protected from unprincipled service providers. The MEF (Metro Ethernet Forum) has successfully issued a universal Code of Practice, which is now widely adopted by operators in Brazil, enabling consumers to trust their service providers and be aware of their rights.

As the digital world develops in Latin America, the shaping of Internet disciplines come into focus. To help the business environment, regulators must ensure that the Internet is freely available, open to all, safe from fraud and respecting user’s data privacy. There is a balance to be struck between net neutrality and returns on infrastructure investment. This highlights, in this region too, the difference of approaches between Telecom regulators, who are appointed to the job and decree rules, and the Internet style of self-management, which aspires to be democratic, all-inclusive and consensus-based. Using these principles, ICANN (Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers) has successfully managed some of the region’s Internet issues, such as internationalising domain names for different languages and regions, reducing DNS cyber-fraud and resolving domain name disputes.

In this new world of continuous connectivity, the ‘out-of-the-office’ automatic message is now obsolete. New usage and spending patterns are emerging and they are crucial to commerce as well as telecom service providers.  They must be discovered and tracked in order to establish new ways to attract, satisfy and retain audiences, subscribers or consumers. This is achieved by analysing users’ digital behaviour, delving into the ‘Big Data’ accumulated from Internet and Telecom usage. Analytics are now progressing from off-line strategy decisions to proactive, targeted responses. Combining historical analysis with real-time feed from the network, immediate actions can pre-empt a crisis and avoid frustrating customers. This will prevent not only the churn of valued individuals, but also their entire social groups, where social network knowledge is analysed too.

Satisfying the surging demand for mobile Internet, the Digital Native youth of today discover their new powers – to build-up a brand (by ‘Like’) or destroy it (by viral thumbs-down), to challenge authority (by orchestrated riots) or create new heroes (by numerous downloads). They exercise Internet power, and the Internet is the tool that “we first make, then it makes us”.

We are pleased to send this complimentary electronic version of the latest issue of Connect-World Latin America 2012 for your enjoyment and information.

ICT is changing our world. Can you keep up with the changes? Can you follow how these changes transform the way people live and do business? Let Connect-World help you.

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To access this issue of Connect-World Latin America 2012, just click on the link below.

Latin America 2012
Latin America 2012
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This issue is devoted to Regulation and Standardisation – the Power to do Good and features the following articles by sector leaders:


We hope you enjoy it.

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Rebecca Copeland
Executive Content Editor

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