Institutions and Regulatory Reforms for the Age of Governance
Edited by Jacint Jordana and David Levi-Faur
Chapter 11: Divergent Convergence: Structures and Functions of National Regulatory Authorities in the Telecommunications Sector
Marc Tenbücken and Volker Schneider1 1. INTRODUCTION Starting with developments in the USA at the end of the 1970s, the wave of liberalization and privatization spread globally to the telecommunications sector of almost all nations one by one. The pressures evoked by the phenomenon of globalization forced different states to carry out extensive institutional reforms to position themselves favourably to face growing international competition (Berger and Dore, 1996; Hall, 1992; Strange, 1996). At the beginning of the twenty-first century formerly closed markets are now opened for private contractors, state monopolies have been dismantled, and public telecommunications companies have been partially or completely privatized. However, parallel to liberalization and privatization developments, we detect a global trend towards ‘reregulation’ (Vogel, 1996).2 In the course of the paradigmatic change from the positive to the regulative state, most countries have established national regulatory authorities (NRAs). These are equipped with their own regulatory responsibilities, resources and, in organizational terms, are detached from ministries and thus not subject to the direct influence of politicians or government officials (Doern and Wilks, 1996; Gilardi, 2002; Levy and Spiller, 1996; Majone, 1997; Thatcher, 2002a, 2002b, among others). The main task of the NRAs is to control the market power of the former state monopolists and provide for fair competition in the liberalized infrastructural sectors. Thus far, in over 100 countries NRAs have taken responsibility for the regulation of the telecommunications sector (cf. LeviFaur, 2003, 23). This entails, for example, various tasks concerning interconnection disputes, unbundling of the...
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