The International Handbook of Telecommunications Economics, Volume III
Edited by Gary Madden
Chapter 3: Preparing the information infrastructure for the network economy
William H. Melody INTRODUCTION The reform of the telecommunications sector began with the restructuring of the telecommunications services industry. Reform spread to encompass the transformation of the traditional voice telecommunications network into an expanded and enhanced information infrastructure capable of communicating information content. This new infrastructure is expected to provide the foundation of a new network economy and information society. Until the turn of the twenty-ﬁrst century, telecommunications reform was directed primarily at market liberalization and the extension of networks to reach unserved regions. New services, such as mobile telephony and the Internet, were viewed as niche markets and complements to traditional telephone service. National telecommunications regulatory agencies (NRAs) have strongly promoted liberalization and network extension to meet these universal service objectives. Policy eﬀectiveness is often gauged by use of indicators such as competition, market share, network penetration, interconnection, consumer service option and price data. Data for these indicators are obtained from the International Telecommunication Union (ITU), Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) and the European Commission. Indicators are useful for comparing the progress of telecommunications reform implementation within a country, and for identifying leading and lagging nations. As basic reforms are far from complete, such benchmark indicators are useful in identifying and stimulating progress. Most developed countries are looking beyond traditional telecommunications networks and the services they provide. Accordingly, they are developing and applying indicators to gauge progress in information infrastructure development and its use, for example, broadband access, Internet penetration and Internet use. In the...
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