A New Regulatory Framework for the Digital Ecosystem

10 February 2016
By Dr. Jeffrey A. Eisenach and Dr. Bruno Soria

Policymakers all over the world are now recognising the challenges of outdated regulatory policies and working to implement reforms that will protect competition and consumers without impeding social and economic progress. This study, commissioned by the GSMA, contributes to the current debate about the implications of technological and economic convergence for regulation of the digital ecosystem. The authors have three primary objectives: first, to describe the competitive dynamics of the modern digital ecosystem as they relate to public policy in general and government regulation in particular; second, to describe why these changes challenge existing regulatory frameworks and require significant reforms; third, to lay out a set of principles to guide policymakers and regulators as they adapt regulation to sweeping changes in the digital economy.

The study finds that, when implementing reforms, policymakers should apply three specific principles: functionality-based regulation, flexible regulation that accounts for dynamic and complex digital ecosystem markets, and a ground-up approach to rethinking regulatory policies. The authors conclude by applying these principles to six areas of regulation and regulatory policy that are actively being considered around the world: access regulation, removal of barriers to entry and exit, privacy and data protection, merger review, spectrum policy, and universal availability and affordability. The study’s recommendations illustrate that the challenges being faced by policymakers can be addressed by pragmatic solutions based on the analytical framework and policy principles outlined by the authors.

On 22 February 2016, Dr. Jeffrey A. Eisenach will deliver a keynote presentation at GSMA’s Ministerial Programme, held alongside Mobile World Congress, during a session on New Regulatory Paradigms, which is based on this study.  For more information, click here.