Regulation and the Performance of Communication and Information Networks

Regulation and the Performance of Communication and Information Networks

Edited by Gerald R. Faulhaber, Gary Madden and Jeffrey Petchey

Digital markets worldwide are in rapid flux. The Internet and World Wide Web have traditionally evolved in a largely deregulated environment, but recently governments have shown great interest in this rapidly developing sector and are imposing regulations for a variety of reasons that are changing the shape of these industries. This book explores why the industrial organization of broadband ISPs, Internet backbone providers and content/application providers are in such turmoil.

Foreword

Edited by Gerald R. Faulhaber, Gary Madden and Jeffrey Petchey

Subjects: innovation and technology, technology and ict

Extract

Glenn Woroch It has become routine to marvel at the extraordinary dynamism of the modern communications marketplace. This sector – whether in developed or developing nation – does not cease to amaze observers with its feats. A few of those feats deserve repeating: In just the last two decades the number of mobile users worldwide went from less than 1 to over 70 per hundred people, and starting from zero the internet is now used by 30 per cent of the world’s population. Twenty years ago people watched video programming at home on their TV sets received over the air or off a coaxial cable. Today video is also delivered by satellite networks, by cell phones, and by broadband connections to an expanding array of screens and devices, and some viewers are now the source of videos and images shared with the world. This connectivity is not just enabling high-tech social interaction, but is providing the means to generate wealth through market information at the micro level as well as to shape broad national trends and regional politics. While progress in communications services has been relentless, the path has not been linear by any means. The quick twists and turns without much warning make it difficult to get a firm grip on the underlying forces driving the industry. Academic research is handicapped in an undertaking of this sort because it is based on historical evidence – as it should be – and so destined to always be out of date. The urge to forecast...