Chapter 7: Policy and regulatory requirements for a future internet
Numerous experts and stakeholders have called for policy leadership to influence positively the development and impacts of the future internet. The current financial crisis and the accompanying belief that regulatory governance has failed have crystallised a growing realisation of the complexity and fragility of globally networked socioeconomic systems and of the need for a potentially profound rethinking of their governance. The implications go beyond the financial system – markets linked by highspeed networks and even higher-speed programme trading display new forms of instability, while financial markets’ investment preferences and requirements for speed, security, etc. influence internet technologies and architecture and give force to arguments that appeal to infrastructure maintenance to justify particular forms of regulation (e.g. net neutrality). The crisis also helped focus minds on the interdependence of economic performance and other societal objectives, the absolute centrality of collaborative innovation to sustainable development and the need to balance healthy competition with constructive and collaborative engagement. This recognition finds political recognition in recent European-level initiatives ranging from the Recovery Plan1 to Europe 20202 (and especially the Digital Agenda3), but builds on strong Information Society antecedents that emphasised linkage across: policy instruments (e.g. research and deployment support, standardisation, procurement and regulation); regions and sectors; government locations and levels; and stakeholder domains (administration, business and civil society).