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Testing Telecoms Assumptions

Is much of current policy based on received wisdom and not rigorous evidence? Roslyn Layton sets out several areas where this may well be so

Testing Telecoms Assumptions

Many arguments for regulatory intervention in telecoms markets rest on untested assumptions. These are often ideas that make superficial or intuitive sense – and have great political potency – but don’t necessarily stand up to critical analysis. Sometimes these premises seem so obvious that we don’t bother to test them. However, if it is the case that the assumption is correct, then finding the evidence should be easy.

Strangely enough, some of the most important regulatory initiatives in communications are undertaken without carrying out regulatory impact assessments (RIAs). RIAs would ostensibly add more support for policymaking and have been part of the regulatory process of most OECD countries for at least a decade. RIAs consist of a defined process and these steps:

  1. problem definition,
  2. identification of alternative options,
  3. data collection,
  4. comparison of options,
  5. preferred policy options, and
  6. monitoring and evaluation of indicators.

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