Regulating next generation networks

This paper, published in the Journal of Telecommunications Management, argues that investment in NGNs should generate major long-term economic gains. As such, it is important that regulators do not delay investment with inappropriate regulation.

Regulators should aim to maximise end-user benefits when taking decisions about NGNs. This may require a trade-off between competition and investment objectives. Competitive innovation, which is the prime source of economic gains, will depend on service rather than infrastructure-based competition. Regulators must ensure service providers have open and standardised interfaces for NGNs.

Enabling timely investment in next generation access (NGA) fibre-access networks while preserving competition is best served through anchor product regulation where the operator is required to offer all service providers access to its NGA products on an equivalent basis, in addition to offering basic voice line and broadband access over its NGA network at regulated prices, while being free to set its own prices for higher speed access.

Regulators should preserve the ex ante requirement for all NGNs to interconnect to allow any-to-any communication for established services like voice calls, although they should abandon the calling party pays principle. Regulators need to develop public interest tests to determine how quickly incumbent operators can withdraw legacy wholesale products and replace them with NGN-based products.