Reviewing the Layered Model
The rise of digital platforms and the emergence of over the top (OTT) providers have helped shape an environment where services are becoming increasingly detached from the underlying infrastructure used to deliver them. This presents challenges for communications regulation. In this environment, we might expect intense focus on regulatory design – on adapting the regulatory framework to meet contemporary conditions. But an early spurt of interest in replacing regulatory “silos” with cross-platform regulation designed for a converged communications environment appears to have stalled. In this article, we review the position of the “layered model” of communications as a framework for regulatory design, and ask whether it is still as attractive as it once seemed – whether such a model is equipped to provide a framework for policy and regulatory analysis in an environment where platforms and providers can supply services at more than one layer, or can move to deliver a service over a layer with a lower regulatory burden and cost.