Problems and Progress
Edited by Colin Robinson
Chapter 8: A strategic approach to the economic regulation of spectrum, telecoms and broadcasting
Ed Richards P I INTRODUCTION In talking about our strategic approach to regulation of spectrum, telecoms and broadcasting, I shall cover four main areas: ● ● ● ● consider Ofcom’s general approach to economic regulation;1 review some of our key regulatory actions from an economic perspective; set these in the context of an underlying approach to economic regulation; and conclude by identifying some challenges which still remain and which we shall have to address in consultation with others in the near future. OFCOM’S GENERAL APPROACH In an article written by Michael Beesley, who gave his name to this important annual series of lectures on regulation,2 I came across a succinct and valuable summary of the core tasks of regulation as Michael saw them. With his co-author, Stephen Littlechild, he placed promoting competition at the heart of a regulators’ purpose: Promoting competition involves facilitating the entry of new competitors, including the entry of existing competitors into new parts of the market. To do this eﬀectively involves three main steps. The ﬁrst is to assess the likely pattern of entry over the foreseeable future. This will require a prediction of likely changes in technological and market conditions, since these will often provide the necessary opportunities for market entry. 205 206 Utility regulation in competitive markets The second step is to identify decisions that the regulator himself can make in order to change the regulatory framework and to assess the likely impact of these changes on the future pattern of entry. Examples of these...
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