Nº 10 2012 > Global Symposium for Regulators | Special report

Best-practice guidelines on regulatory approaches to foster access to digital opportunities

The 12th Global Symposium for Regulators (GSR‑12), organized by ITU'’s Telecommunication Development Bureau (BDT), in collaboration with the Telecommunication Regulatory Commission of Sri Lanka (TRCSL), took place in Colombo from 2 to 4 October 2012.

From left to right: Sumith Abeysinghe; Brahima Sanou; Tissa Witharana; Houlin Zhao; Lalith Weeratunga; Mahinda Rajapaksa; Dr Hamadoun I. Touré; Dr Sar
From left to right: Sumith Abeysinghe; Brahima Sanou; Tissa Witharana; Houlin Zhao; Lalith Weeratunga; Mahinda Rajapaksa; Dr Hamadoun I. Touré; Dr Sarath Amunugama; Dr Keheliya Rambukwella; Ranjith Siyambalapitiya; Anusha Palpita

The event was held along with the newly created Global Regulators-Industry Dialogue (GRID), ITU having decided to transform its Global Industry Leaders’ Forum into GRID to further strengthen dialogue between industry and regulatory agencies. It attracted 446 participants, comprising regulators, policy-makers, industry representatives and service providers from 77 countries and ten regional and international organizations.

The main outcome of GSR‑12 is a set of best-practice guidelines, which offer regulatory approaches to foster access to digital opportunities through cloud services. With the advent of cloud computing, digital resources are now becoming accessible over multiple networks anywhere, anytime. The guidelines recognize that “The growth of cloud computing has the potential to offer tremendous cost savings, efficiency and innovation for government, businesses and individuals around the globe.” They include recommendations relating to consumer “cloud literacy” to ensure personal data protection, transparency in cloud service obligations between service providers, the development and adoption of international technical and organizational standards for cloud interfaces and service delivery, data portability in the cloud, and international cooperation between regulators.

To reap the full potential of cloud computing will also require cooperation and collaboration between governments, industry and consumers to build confidence in cloud-based services. Importantly, the growth of cloud computing will depend on ubiquitous and affordable broadband networks to which service providers have access on a non-discriminatory basis.

Specific regulatory areas covered by the guidelines include digital capacity building, net neutrality, and regulatory enforcement mechanisms, as well as measures to promote broadband roll-out including strategies for sharing infrastructure, coordination of civil works across different sectors and policies to speed rights-of-way access.

Ambassador nominated for GSR‑12 Best Practice Guidelines

The guidelines were approved at the closing session, moderated by Brahima Sanou, Director of the ITU Telecommunication Development Bureau. Mr Sanou nominated the Chairman of GSR‑12, Lalith Weeratunga, as the new Ambassador of the GSR‑12 Best Practice Guidelines and requested him to bring the guidelines to the attention of all appropriate forums.

Mr Weeratunga, who is also Chairman of the Telecommu­nication Regulatory Commission of Sri Lanka (TRCSL), stressed that cloud computing allows significant cost savings and investment returns, and represents an opportunity for all consumers and for data centre infrastructure to allow deployment of services in unserved and underserved areas.

Mr Sanou affirmed ITU’s central role as a platform for sharing knowledge and building consensus among an increasingly diverse range of stakeholders. He thanked co-host TRCSL for its support and hospitality during the three-day event. “Sri Lanka has proved not just a beautiful and gracious venue but a very attractive destination for an international event like this one because of its ideal geographical location between east and west. Our hosts have been exemplary in terms of their professionalism, their generosity, and the commitment they have shown to making this event a resounding success.”

The full text of the guidelines is available at www.itu.int/ITU-D/treg/Events/Seminars/GSR/GSR12/consultation/GSR12_BestPractices_v3_E.pdf.



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