The Telecommunication Standardisation Process: Can it be ‘Reformed’ to Support ‘De-Regulation’?
The current conditions under which the telecommunication industry is ‘governed’ — in the dual sense of being both ‘controlled’ and ‘enabled’ — are described in a plethora of often ill-defined and frequently contradictory terms. One of the most ill-defined terms is ‘de-regulation’, implying that the role of regulation is diminishing, and that the quantity of regulations is lessening — implications that are contrary to fact in most instances. The widespread acceptance of ‘de-regulation’ as an operational concept in the telecommunication industry, however, has some especially significant ramifications as the technical configuration of both public and private networks becomes more decentralised — i.e. as the ‘intelligence’ controlling individual network functionalities becomes distributed throughout the network. One assumption supporting the ‘de-regulation’ concept is that technical co-ordination can now best be achieved through an industry-led standardisation process, rather than through the formal controls of a public administration or regulator. Timely, non-proprietary standards, it is argued, will keep the network environment ‘open’ to potential new market entrants. The distribution of network ‘intelligence’ throughout the public network, however, can only be achieved through the widespread deployment of specialised computer applications. This also distributes much of the control over the development and evolution of standards, as, increasingly, public network operators and equipment suppliers must share this control with computer and software vendors.
KeywordsEuropean Union Telecommunication Industry Public Network Telecommunication Sector European Telecommunication Standard Institute
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