Innovative Regulation Will Unlock Potential of Digital Technologies, Says ITU

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By Emma Okonji

The International Telecoms Union (ITU) has stressed the need for collaboration and innovative regulation to unlock the potential of global digital technologies.

Regulators from around the world that gathered in Port Vila, Vanuatu, last week for the ITU Global Symposium for Regulators (GSR) unanimously held this view.

They identified and endorsed a set of regulatory best practice guidelines to fast forward digital connectivity and allow people everywhere to benefit from digital transformation and participate in today’s digital economy.

To unlock the full potential of digital technologies and accelerate progress towards the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), the guidelines emphasise the need for a more actionable, collaborative, and innovative outcome-based approach to regulation. They urge global regulators and all stakeholders to be open to new regulatory tools and solutions and act now.

ITU Secretary-General, Houlin Zhao, said the GSR gave ITU the golden opportunity to discuss connectivity strategies with global regulators from the entire Pacific region and the rest of the world.

“As regulators everywhere are faced with new technologies and new business and investment models, the GSR-19 Best Practice Guidelines show how critical collaborative regulation is to achieving the SDGs and delivering on the promise of the digital economy, including for the 3.7 billion people who are still not using the Internet,” Zhao said.

Chairman of GSR-19 and Telecommunications, Radiocommunications and Broadcasting Regulator of the Republic of Vanuatu, Mr. Brian Winji, said: “The regulatory landscape of digital markets is fast-moving and extremely complex. There is still much work to be done, and regulators across all sectors must rise to the challenge of connecting the other half of world’s population.”

According to Winji, “The GSR-19 Best Practice Guidelines we adopted are an invaluable tool that enables regulators to address the challenges ahead and navigate through rapidly evolving technologies, business models and market structures that are affecting economies, society and people around the world.

The GSR-19 Best Practice Guidelines call for the adoption of three new and innovative approaches for achieving inclusive digital infrastructure and services.