Wednesday, November 26, 2008

ITU Advocates Infrastructure Sharing to Counter Investment Drought

In response to the global financial crisis which may make it more difficult for investors to obtain financing for continuing network development, the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) is advocating infrastructure sharing as a means to continue to rapid rollout of network resources to underserved populations.


In its newly published annual report, Trends in Telecommunication Reform 2008: Six Degrees of Sharing, the ITU examines the sharing of civil engineering costs in deploying networks, promoting open access to network support infrastructure (poles, ducts, conduits), essential facilities (submarine cable landing stations and international gateways) as well as access to radio-frequency spectrum and end-user devices.


The "Six Degrees of Sharing" theme was first discussed in Thailand during ITU's 2008 Global Symposium for Regulators last March. Developing countries embraced sharing to make more affordable the expansion of ICT networks to rural and under-served areas. Since then, the global economic turmoil has increased the interest in infrastructure sharing in developed markets as well.


What had been foreseen as ideal strategies to extend broadband network access in developing markets may now be viewed as a prescription for the entire world. If the sources of capital for network investment suffer a temporary drought, the ITU believes policy-makers could take steps to make their markets more amenable to the shrinking pool of investment.

  • Lower investment barriers that inhibit capital flows from one country to another


  • Reduce regulatory barriers (high license fees or market-entry bans) that represent hostile environments for capital investment and market growth


  • Share essential facilities, such as cable landing stations, local switching centres or fibre backbone networks


  • Adopt rules to provide for infrastructure sharing, particularly "passive" sharing of towers, ducts, rights-of-way and other support facilities


  • Overhaul and streamline cross-agency processes to create a ‘one-stop shop' for various network-related authorizations, such as land management, port access, environmental and safety permits


  • Add innovative spectrum management mechanisms that promote increased sharing and efficient use of spectrum


  • Amend regulatory frameworks to eliminate discriminatory rules that favour one company or industry over another in a converged services market.


  • Ensure that government policies and rules maximize the ability of incumbents and market entrants to choose between different opportunities for business plans and long-term strategies, including resale, wholesale, and niche markets.
http://www.itu.int/newsroom/press_releases/2008/35.html

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