Home Latin America 2012 Regulations and public policies in telecommunications and ICT sustaining development of people

Regulations and public policies in telecommunications and ICT sustaining development of people

by david.nunes
Jaime H. Guerrero Ruiz Issue:Latin America 2012
Article no.:1
Topic:Regulations and public policies in telecommunications and ICT sustaining development of people
Author:Jaime H. Guerrero Ruiz
Title:Minister of Telecommunications and Information Society of Ecuador
Organisation:Ecuador (country)
PDF size:255KB

About author

Jaime H. Guerrero Ruiz serves as the Minister of Telecommunications and Information Society of Ecuador since 2010 to the present. He has been a professor in the Polytechnic School of the University of Technology LitoralyEquinoccialen in the areas of Telecommunications and Networks. He has held the following positions: Chairman of the National Telecommunications Council;National Secretary of Telecommunications;, President, National Council of Radio and Television Board Member and Manager of Telecsa;and several companies in the Telecommunications and ICT Sector.

Jaime H. Guerrero Ruiz, was born on October 12, 1960 in Galapagos, Ecuador. He has a degree in electronic engineering with a Master’s degree in management of telecommunications systems and services and several specialized courses in management and telecommunications abroad.

Article abstract

Inconsistent ICT efforts in developing countries in Latin America have left the disadvantaged with a growing gap of the Digital Divide, and with it, a growing gap of prosperity and personalprospects. It falls to the country’s regulator to formulate a framework that will not only encourage investment in technology, but also make it available to the population that needs it most. Such regulations can no longer rely on historical lessons and long-term strategic plans. They must be agile and flexible, able to change atshort notice, to respond to the rapidly changing world around us.

Full Article

Accessibility and affordability of the technology infrastructure has been the main challenge of the past decade. Now, the challenge for all governments is to create the appropriate conditions for efficient use of technology, development of software skills and ICT capabilities and to prepare the human capital that will have to face the challenges of tomorrow. Without public policies and actions on these issues, the most vulnerable in our society will endure even greater digital divide, and greater soci-economic inequality.

The Digital Revolution and the emergence of the information and knowledge society have led governments to propose regulations based on public policies that enable their citizens to have a share of the social and economic benefits generated by Information and Communications Technology (ICT). There have been since the 80’s, sporadic and inconsistent regional attempts to increase the influence of technology in the socio-economic people development, through provision of equipment, universal access policies, Internet connectivity, deployment of wireline and subsequently wirelesstelephone services, basic use of technology in public procedures, promotion of the technology industry and others.

However, these efforts must be increased, based on the country’s strategies and ambitious goals. The growing demand has led to mainstreaming of ICT in different related areas of the economy to increase productivity, for example in education, health and general social sectors. The use of technology has become the virtuous circle that surrounds the new globalized economic model.

The constant introduction of new technologies in the world market has resulted in a fundamentalchange: ten years ago we could imagine and forecast where we would be today and guided the evolution of technology accordingly. However, we have seen so many profound, yet positive, unpredictedeffects brought by entirely newtechnologies that now it is almost impossible to imagine what will happen in two years’ time and what innovative aspects would make large impact next.

Within this evolutionary process and socio-economic transformation brought about by ICT products, comes the concept of Broadband. Since its inception, it generated mixed reactions about its benefits. For some of the region’s governments, this was a commitment to drive development and productivity improvement. Others saw it as a conditional continuation of their internal technological evolution. Hence, it appears that the digital divide, has deepened the differences between mature countries and emerging countrieseven further.

We have witnessed the positive changes that Broadband has had on the quality of life for all citizens, but the impact is greatest on those who by their social, economic or geographical situation have been part of the vulnerable and disadvantaged classes.
With Broadband, we have seen progress that is conceptually different in nature, and is sure to generate a significant impact on multiple areas of the economic system. It is shown to bring an increase in GDP (Gross Domestic Product) growth. It bringsincreased learning and education options, enhanced business dynamism, increased employment and new sources of generating wealth. This means that Broadband can generate a true relief of poverty, unemployment and neglect, and that it is a vital tool for the development of societies.

When it comes to connectivity to Broadband, the first idea that comes to mind is infrastructure and available network capacity and we forget the most important part – the digital readiness of citizens to benefit from the technology. It should be emphasized that this process of preparing the population for digitization, means keeping our promises of enhancing the welfare for our people. By enhancing software skills and applications knowhow, we enable this new concept to gradually replace the previous system, and reach convergence at the crossroad. Governments’ actions should be based on public policy that bring adaptability, quality, robustness andimproved human talent.

The process of building smart regulation based on sound public policy becomes a challenge for many governments, leading to a paradigm shift with respect to licensing, spectrum allocation, freeing up market conditions, removal of institutional barriers and creating incentives for the deployment of infrastructure. Regulations must also continue to safeguard adequate quality of services, administrative efficiency, investment incentives and innovation incentives for developing new applications. Regulations should help to increase digital literacy in the population as a whole, while considering the continuously growing demand for mobility, speed, interactivity, personalization and ubiquity.

The correct public policies must enable en-mass digitization of all sectors of society, with special emphasis on the vulnerable segments. This process must include overcoming ecosystemdifficulties by appropriate encouragement and endorsement. There are no global prescription for how you design and implement policy and regulatory frameworks. Each government must undergo a process of constant discovery, through which it finds the right organizational form that meets the objectives of national policy and the needs of its people. The central ideas that should permeate building regulations must include supplementing and correctingmarket development and increasing the efficiency of ICT-related activities among all public and private entities that make up the ecosystem.

It should be noted that one should not pretend that short-term ICT policies can bring results similar to those policies that have matured over centuries, such as those associated with the health sector or education. The ICT sector is highly dynamic and it creates a diverse circle of uncertainty around the regulatory future. This requires that the construction of a digital agenda covers short horizons driving implementation strategies not exceeding five years, while always keeping continuous monitoring, in order to meet emerging needs on the way. This path has only been possible in many cases, when there is a structured organization, with portfoliossuch as education, health or social organizations that underpin the digitization strategy.

Globally there are many ICT initiatives with similar policies but withvery different results. Therefore, this is a considerable challenge for national governments who wish to implement smart regulation, which is adjusted to the situation in each country. It is also important to allow integrating community information in an effective and democratic way. It needs considering the initial conditions in each country as well as the dynamic technological innovation, the economic progress, market trends and social and cultural rights, and always keep aiming to realize the long awaited dream of equitable and inclusive societies that are technologically enrolled for future digital challenges.

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