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High-flown ideas

Should we be striving for the ‘level playing field’ with regulation of innovative, next-generation communications? Brian Williamson makes a strong case for setting them free

High-flown ideas

Globally, next-generation communications apps such as Skype, iMessage, WeChat, Line, Viber, WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger and Google Hangouts (also referred to as over the top, OTT, apps) have taken off.

These applications offer substantial benefits to consumers and businesses. They have, however, led to complaints by vertically integrated communications service providers that they ‘free ride’ on their network investments and benefit from the lack of a regulatory level playing field. This article considers these questions and what policymakers should do about legacy and nextgeneration communications.

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