The department takes an interdisciplinary approach, combining public policy, economic, business, legal and technological analysis in order to develop strategies for both regulators and market players in a rapidly changing network environment.
The rapid proliferation and evolution of advanced communications networks poses pro-found challenges and complex strategic and tactical questions for all stakeholders. Historically, communication networks were closely linked to a single service: telecommunications networks did not carry broadcast video; cable networks did not carry voice. Today, it is increasingly common for fixed and mobile telephony networks, as well as cable television net-works, to simultaneously carry some mix of voice, video and data services. The unifying theme in this evolution is the Internet Protocol (IP). In most of the world, this technological and market convergence is closely linked to the migration to Next Generation Networks (NGNs).
Despite the convergence of networks and services, market power remains a central theme for the regulation of electronic communications. The implications of these changes on market power are not yet clear – will the evolution to NGN mitigate incumbent market power, will market power be largely unchanged, or will new forms of market power emerge? Aside from market power, the migration to IP implies a plethora of new issues as regards interconnection, access to emergency services, lawful intercept, universal service, network integrity, and usability for those with impairments.
We draw heavily on international comparisons, identifying best practice and adapting it to national circumstances to make it meaningful to our government and commercial clients. We provide critical analysis and insights. In light of the group’s interdisciplinary character, much of its work is done in cooperation with other WIK departments, and with external partners.