The IIC’s eye on the news.
This bulletin is regularly updated with thumbnails of industry news. Follow the links for a round-up of latest industry stories.
The Australian Government has announced a joint initiative with the ten countries of the Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN) to promote digital trade and support inclusive economic growth in our region.
ACMA has released draft complaints-handling rules designed to improve the experience of consumers moving to the National Broadband Network.
Gambling advertisements will be banned during the broadcast of live sports between 5am and 8:30pm on commercial free-to-air TV, radio and pay TV, ACMA has announced.
The Australian Government has announced a review of the Australian Copyright Act 1968 following on from the Productivity Commission’s review and report on Australia’s Intellectual Property Arrangements.
A system to alert Canadians to natural disasters and other public safety emergencies via their smartphones is another step closer to reality, reports the Financial Post.
The Falkland Islands, one of the more remote territories, now has a communications regulator in place in Susannah Nightingale, who has published the first regulator's annual report.
UK telecoms regulator Ofcom has announced a consultation on its plans to introduce coverage obligations as part of the upcoming sale of spectrum in the 700 MHz band, notes TeleGeography.
An item in the law blog, Out-Law.com, notes that EU law makers are scrutinising the issue of metadata processing in the context of new EU laws on privacy and electronic communications (the e-privacy regulation). The Bulgarian presidency of the Council of Ministers has published a document that has highlighted that there are different views across national governments in the EU on the rules that should apply to metadata processing.
High wholesale prices impede competition in the broadband market, so the Finnish Communications Regulatory Authority (FICORA) is imposing price caps on fibre local loops provided by the three market leaders in Finland, and regulation on copper local loops will be scaled down.
The European Parliament, the Council and the Commission have reached a provisional political agreement on spectrum policy envisioned in the European Electronic Communications Code, including the availability of radio spectrum for 5G by 2020 in the EU, 20 years investment predictability for spectrum licences, and enhanced coordination and peer review of planned radio spectrum assignment procedures.
The OECD says more than 110 countries and jurisdictions have agreed to review two key concepts of the international tax system, responding to a mandate from the G20 finance ministers to work on the implications of digitisation for taxation.
The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) is aiming to develop a framework similar to the Unified Payments Interface (UPI) to aid the rollout of public Wi-Fi hotspots in the country, notes Live Mint.
The European Commission’s high-level expert group on fake news and disinformation spread online has produced a report that suggests a definition of the phenomenon and makes a series of recommendations.
The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) has started a public inquiry to determine whether declaration of the domestic transmission capacity service (DTCS) remains appropriate in light of changes to the market, including the growth of commercial alternatives available to service providers, new National Broadband Network (NBN) products for business customers, and industry consolidation.
The digitisation of the power supply will make it vulnerable due to the increasing risk of error in the software, and not only as a result of cyberattacks, reports Telecom Paper, noting a report by the Dutch Council for the Environment and Infrastructure (Rli).
The Body of European Regulators for Electronic Communications (BEREC) has highlighted its focus areas for 2018 – with emphasis on a study on 5G, the latest data on international roaming, and a consultation paper on net neutrality.
Susan Crawford, the Harvard law professor and proponent of public telecoms investment, has used her latest column in Wired to attack privatisation of public assets.
Anacom, the Portuguese telecoms regulator, has accused the country’s main operators of violating European Union rules on net neutrality, reports Reuters.
Anacom, the Portuguese telecoms regulator, has accused the country’s main operators of violating European Union rules on net neutrality, reports Reuters.
Approval by the ACM (Dutch competition authority) of KPN’s acquisition of fibre operator Reggefiber was upheld by the Dutch Trade and Industry Appeals Tribunal in February 2018 – and as a commentary in JD Supra says, in assessing the merger’s competitive effects, “the tribunal notably considered regulatory measures adopted pursuant to sector-specific telecoms regulation”.
A US federal appeals court has rolled back rules intended to deter irritating telemarketing robocalls, saying they were too broad, notes the Washington Post.
India has approved relief measures for the telecoms sector, revising limits on spectrum holdings and allowing operators longer to pay for airwaves won at auction, with a view to freeing up funds for investment, improving ease of doing business and allowing for consolidation in the sector, reports TeleGeography.
Sharon White, head of the UK’s converged regulator, Ofcom, has set out the challenges to public service broadcasters (PSBs) in a speech.
IIC Thailand Chapter is committed to facilitate discussions on digital ecosystem and digital transformation to the country and Southeast Asian region.
The Guardian reports a paper, published in the journal Science, in which MIT researchers describe an analysis of a vast amount of Twitter data: more than 125,000 stories, tweeted more than 4.5 million times in total, all categorised as being true or false by at least one of six independent fact-checking organisations.
We asked Magnus Ewerbring, CTO of Ericsson in APAC, for his views on the future of 5G, its relevance for consumers and how networks will be ‘sliced’ to support different applications in the future.
The Italian competition authority (AGCM) has carried out a first enforcement initiative on influencer marketing, “one of the most innovative and powerful advertising tools”. The initiative aims to prevent the circulation through social networks of messages whose commercial intent is not clear.
As expected, Somalia’s government has decided to set up the country’s first regulatory body for the telecoms sector, the National Communications Authority, notes Mobile World Live.
India’s antitrust watchdog imposed a 1.36 billion rupees ($21.17 million) fine on Google for “search bias” and abuse of its dominant position, in the latest regulatory setback for the world’s most popular internet search engine, reports Reuters.
Turkey will expand the powers of its radio and television watchdog to include overseeing online content providers, under a draft law submitted to parliament on which the main opposition party said amounted to digital censorship, reports Reuters.
The French government has proposed legislation on cybersecurity that requires telecoms operators and online service providers to play a more active role in protecting the country's communications, reports Telecompaper.
The Dutch radiocommunications agency, Agentschap Telecom, has published research on the use of “Li-Fi” – light fidelity – which uses light for wireless communication.
The European Commission has published the drafts of revised SMP (significant market power) guidelines and an accompanying explanatory note. Both documents were sent to the Body of Regulators for Electronic Communications (BEREC) for its opinion, with a view to adopting the guidelines in the second quarter of this year.
The GSMA has issued a report, “Effective spectrum pricing in Latin America: policies to support better quality and more affordable mobile services”, highlighting that spectrum policies in Latin America are impacting the delivery of quality mobile services to consumers across the region.
The Tunisian telecom authority INT (Instance Nationale des Telecommunications) has published a summary of its main priorities for 2018, which include a number of new initiatives alongside its ongoing activities in the areas of consumer protection, quality of service, and regulation of wholesale broadband offers, notes Telecompaper.
French communications regulator, Arcep, has urged Europe-wide action to force manufacturers to reverse policies on handsets, tablets and smart speakers perceived to be limiting internet freedom, reports Mobile World Live.
The European Commission says social media companies need to do more to respond to the requests, made last March by the Commission and member states’ consumer authorities, to comply with EU consumer rules.
Mobile termination rates – the rates operators charge each other to connect calls – dropped by an average of 42% in OECD countries between 2014 and 2017 as a result of increased regulation and competition, according to new data released by the OECD.
Telecoms and law professor Rob Frieden has written about a US National Security Council initiative that identifies the security and public safety benefits in having a government owned 5G wireless network leased by commercial ventures.
Cyril Ramaphosa, the new president of South Africa, included the following in his state of the nation address: “Our prosperity as a nation depends on our ability to take full advantage rapid technological change. This means that we urgently need to develop our capabilities in the areas of science, technology and innovation.
The European Telecommunications Network Operators' Association (ETNO) has warned that the current negotiations on the European Electronic Communications Code (EECC) may “result in a worsened climate for digital growth”...
Experts on the security implications of emerging technologies have written a report that sounds the alarm about the potential malicious use of artificial intelligence (AI) by rogue states, criminals, and terrorists.
APAC Bytes February 2018
A number of Malaysia’s public sector agencies hosted closed-door industry discussions with technology companies, during a public policy delegation organised by the Asia Cloud Computing Association (ACCA) visit in late January 2018.
Future-proof technology policies are key to the Asia Pacific region harnessing the future of work, says the Asia Cloud Computing Association (ACCA).
Australia’s largest media organisations fear that new foreign interference laws could see journalists thrown in jail.
Australian agencies and organisations will be obligated by law to report data breaches under the Notifiable Data Breaches (NDB) scheme from 22 February 2018.
New Government-approved changes will make for a more efficient and transparent management framework in Australia.
A group of 21 US state attorney generals have filed suit to challenge the FCC’s decision to do away with net neutrality while Democrats said they needed just one more vote in the Senate to repeal the FCC ruling, reports Reuters.
TRAI, India’s telecoms regulator, has consulted on a new telecoms policy being formulated by the government to attract $100 billion worth of investment in a sector that's going through consolidation amid intense competition, notes Economic Times.
The UAE's telecoms regulator has clarified that there is no change in its policy towards voice over internet protocol (VoIP) applications, following complaints by users that phone and video service Skype had been disrupted, reports The National.
UK regulator, Ofcom, has issued its “International communications market report 2017”, which includes a section on regulatory context.
The US FCC has issued a plan for a new Office of Economics and Analytics (OEA), part of reforms for the agency in organisational structures, authorities, and practices “to better incorporate economic analysis as well as data management as part of the agency’s regular operation”.
Researchers at the Berkman Klein Center in the US have found advantages for consumers in community fibre broadband compared with commercial offerings.
Benin’s Authority for Regulation of Electronic Communications and Post (ARCEP) signed a decision on 17 January 2018 reassigning all subscribers of Globacom Benin (Glo Mobile) to the network of Moov Benin, reports TeleGeography.
New Zealand’s Commerce Commission has resumed a study into backhaul services, which was put on hold in February 2017 while the government proceeded with its review of the Telecommunications Act.
UKE, the Polish regulator, has closed a consolidation procedure on its draft proposals for the regulation of broadcasting services and television wholesale markets in Poland, notes Global Telecoms Business.
The Dutch government says it will come out this year with a strategy to help entrepreneurs and people in the Netherlands to benefit from the digital economy, notes Telecompaper. Secretary of State Mona Keijzer stated in an opinion that digitisation is not only about economics, but also touches on relationships in society, on safety and on accessibility.
Datuk Yasmin Mahmood, CEO, Malaysia Digital Economy Corporation (MDEC)
New standard terms of copyright protection for original published and unpublished materials will take effect from 1 January 2019.
Under new laws, organisations regulated by the Privacy Act 1988 will be required to notify any individuals likely to be at risk of “serious harm” as a result of a data breach from 22 February 2018.
Optus, Telstra, TPG, NBN Co and Vodafone have all secured spectrum that will help them meet the rising demand for mobile and fixed wireless broadband services.
The Australian Communications and Media Authority have introduced new regulations permitting the use of intelligent transport systems (ITS)...
The report is divided in to two parts, the first relates to markets trends in the digital economy, the second examines the policy perspective focusing on competition, regulation and privacy profiles.
Findings from the ACMA’s Communications report 2016-17 show that Australia’s demand for online content and services continues to grow unabatedly.
APAC Bytes January 2018 issue
Rob Strayer, Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Cyber and International Communications and Information Policy, US State Department
APAC Bytes December 2017 issue
On 22 November 2017, Ms Lim May-Ann, Executive Director of the ACCA, presented findings from ACCA’s Asia’s Financial Services: Ready for the Cloud report at the National Institute for Public Policy and Finance (NIPFP) in New Delhi.
The European Parliament has rejected proposed legislation intended to prevent territory-by-territory licensing of programming across the European Union (EU), reports Informitv.
China is willing to deepen global cooperation in the digital economy to gain new momentum and expand global economic growth, the head of the country’s internet regulatory body has said.
Germany’s telecoms industry should accelerate the build-out of the country’s high-speed broadband network, its regulator said, adding it was considering easier regulation on fibre internet to speed the process, noted Reuters.
Despite children’s massive online presence – 1 in 3 internet users worldwide is a child – too little is done to protect them from the perils of the digital world and to increase their access to safe online content, UNICEF said in its annual flagship report.
Bulgaria to prioritise European Communications Code in Council presidency; full EU spectrum reform in doubt
Bulgaria will focus its attention on speeding up negotiations on the European Communications Code when it takes over the 6 month rotating presidency of the Council of Ministers in January, notes EurActiv.
he Communications Authority of Kenya will force mobile phone operators to share money transfer infrastructure, reports The Standard.
Australia’s government has directed the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) to start an inquiry into digital platform providers such as Facebook and Google.
Arcep has set the regulatory framework that will govern how the incumbent, Orange, will roll out fibre services and access, notes Global Telecoms Business.
The US Federal Communications Commission’s Connect2Health Task Force (C2HFCC) has announced that the FCC and the National Cancer Institute (NCI) have joined forces, signing a memorandum of understanding that will focus on how increasing broadband access and adoption in rural areas can improve the lives of rural cancer patients.
The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) has come out in strong support of net neutrality in a series of recommendations following a long process of consultation on the issue, reports The Hindu.
Experts in information and communication technology say enforcing data protection laws will boost growth in Africa’s digital economy, reports The Cable.
The European Commission (EC) has reaffirmed its commitment to preserving net neutrality across Europe in the wake of a US vote to repeal its regulations, notes Mobile World Live.
As expected, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) voted on party lines “to restore the longstanding, bipartisan light-touch regulatory framework that has fostered rapid internet growth, openness, and freedom for nearly 20 years”.
Fake news is a disease that European society needs to be “vaccinated” against, the EU’s digital commissioner Mariya Gabriel said as she opened a call for public comments on how the EU should respond to the spread of false information on internet platforms, reports Euractiv.
As expected, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has loosened media ownership regulations in the US after a 3-2 vote by its executive which, while an expected development under the Trump administration, has drawn a mixed reaction, notes Rapid TV News.
A fierce debate has gripped Europe’s automobile industry that will shape the future of all cars sold across the region: how to get internet-connected vehicles to “talk” to each other while travelling on the road, reports the Financial Times.
Those tempted to buy illicit TV access devices such as the fabled Kodi box may get their fingers burned, literally, says a report from Electrical Safety First and FACT, one of the UK’s intellectual property protection organisations.
Certain smartwatches for children can no longer be sold in Germany as some of these models are equipped with a “wiretapping” function, reports Deutsche Welle. Germany’s Federal Network Agency, or Bundesnetzagentur, announced the ban saying that these watches can be classed as ‘unauthorised transmitters’.
The Polish senate has passed a law allowing the country’s mobile operators to test new wireless technologies without incurring frequency utilisation fees, notes TeleGeography.
The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has enacted reforms that it says will better enable providers to invest in next-generation networks. The FCC is also seeking comment on additional reforms, including how the FCC can expedite rebuilding and repairing broadband infrastructure after natural disasters.
Italy is putting forward plans for a digital sales levy as a European crackdown on how large US internet groups pay tax gathers momentum, reports the Financial Times.
The Serbian government has adopted a new law on electronic communications that will bring the nation into full compliance with the EU’s 2009 regulatory framework, notes TeleGeography.
The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) has published a draft report detailing its market study of the communications sector, which includes 29 recommendations spanning a wide range of competition and consumer issues in communications markets.
African taxmen pick on phone companies because they make lots of money and keep excellent records in a continent where both these things are rare, writes the Economist.
Australia's chief scientist, Alan Finkel, has called on governments and businesses across the world to consider developing a regulatory framework for artificial intelligence devices, ranging from the likes of Apple's Siri to weaponised drones, reports the Australian Financial Review.
US equities indices are poised for a revamp to keep up with the evolving nature of communications, reports the Financial Times.
Dr Robert Pepper, Head, Global Connectivity Policy and Planning, Facebook
The CEO of Australia’s National Broadband Network (NBN) company, Bill Morrow, has confirmed what the industry has been saying for years: that the network builder’s economic model is broken and that – under current conditions – it may never turn a profit, report IT News.
ETNO, the European Telecommunications Network Operators' Association, has issued a strong warning about the direction of the European Electronic Communications Code. It says it is “no ordinary legislation. This is a once-in-a-decade opportunity to unlock investment in world-class infrastructure, which is the core of a successful society and economy.
A review by the UK Council for Child Internet Safety (UKCCIS) evidence group, made up of researchers from the London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE), Middlesex University and the University of Central Lancashire, has highlighted the major risks, opportunities and emerging trends for children online.
The federal parliament of Somalia has passed a communications act that seeks to streamline the country's telecoms sector and tackle the growing cybercrimes in the country, reports the Horn Observer.
The German telecoms regulator, Bundesnetzagentur, has issued a decision on Deutsche Telekom's zero-rated StreamOn offers, ruling that the scheme is legal, but the company must make some modifications, notes ZDNet.
FCC chairman, Ajit Pai, wants Apple to turn on the FM radio that’s hidden inside iPhones, reports The Verge. In a statement, he asked that Apple “reconsider its position, given the devastation wrought by hurricanes Harvey, Irma and Maria.”
The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has voted to eliminate a longstanding rule covering radio and television stations, in a move that could ultimately reshape America's media landscape, reports the Washington Post.
A proposal by UK regulator, Ofcom, to force the wholesale network operator, Openreach, into significantly cutting the wholesale price of its 40 Mbps fibre to the cabinet (FTTC) product for internet service providers (ISPs) has “been dealt a blow” after the government warned it would “disincentivise investment” in new “full fibre” (FTTP/H) networks.
BEREC, the body of European regulators, has issued a statement on the need for a minimum set of competences for independent national regulators (NRAs) for the new European Electronic Communications Code, as follows. First, independence is critical...
A trade association whose members include Google, Facebook and Twitter will pitch self-regulation instead of a proposed federal law requiring more disclosure for political advertising on their online platforms, reports Bloomberg.
Costa Rican telecoms regulator, Sutel, has ratified its decision to declare the nation’s wireless market competitive, rejecting an appeal from the Ombudsman’s Office of Costa Rica (DHR), reports TeleGeography.
Nine months after the UK government commissioned an independent review into artificial intelligence (AI), the authors have revealed their findings, reports Wired.
Colombia’s Ministry of Information Technology and Communications (MinTIC) has presented a bill to Congress that will merge the telecoms regulator, the Commission for the Regulation of Communications, CRC) with the National Television Authority (ANTV),...
The European Commission is seeking to give police greater powers to decrypt private messages as part of a wider proposal to crackdown on criminals and terrorists, reports EUobserver.
The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) has decided not to “declare” (mandate) domestic mobile roaming. However, it says it has identified a range of regulatory and policy measures that could improve inadequate mobile phone coverage and poor quality of service in regional Australia.
A report for DG Connect at the European Commission examines the approaches used by member states for authorising and assigning spectrum with a view to determining which methods might be most appropriate in the context of future 5G services.
Bolivia's telecommunications regulation authority, ATT, and the ITU have issued a statement confirming that they will work together to promote the goal of ending international roaming charges between countries in the Andean community, reports Telecompaper.
The system that makes emergency calls from car, eCall, has been successfully tested at an event in Slovenia.
The European Council has granted the Estonian presidency a mandate to begin negotiations with the European Parliament on the new European Electronic Communications Code. “Our future is digital, and these rules are key to creating a gigabit society throughout the EU,” said Urve Palo, Estonia's Minister for Entrepreneurship and Information Technology.
Partner, Jenner & Block LLP
Startups hoping to sell health tracking devices and software to corporate customers are worried European regulators will torpedo their business model, reports Bloomberg.
The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) in the US says it cannot stop computer makers from selling computers that inject ads into webpages to US consumers, notes Ars Technica.
A boost in data usage from the use of voice calling apps may mean the long-running debate into their regulation in India may turn out to be a “non-issue”, a source at the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) told The Economic Times.
Thailand needs to upgrade the National Broadcasting and Telecom Commission (NBTC) to focus more on coordinating various elements of the digital economy and society, says Rajnesh Singh, director for Asia-Pacific of the Internet Society, as the Nation reports.
The Independent Communications Authority of South Africa's (ICASA’s) recent draft regulations on mobile data expiry and changes to out-of-bundle billing practices for telecoms operators could unintentionally raise data prices, reports ITWeb.
Roberto Viola, European Commission
EU member states have rejected a European Commission proposal to extend licences for wireless radio spectrum to last at least 25 years – one of the cornerstones of the EU executive’s new attempt to overhaul telecoms law, reports Euractiv.
The Brookings Financial and Digital Inclusion Project (FDIP) report for 2017 evaluates access to and usage of affordable financial services by underserved people across 26 geographically, politically and economically diverse countries.
Denmark’s telecoms regulator, the Danish Business Authority (Erhvervsstyrelsen), has published two documents outlining the framework for competition in the broadband market, with the new decisions set to enter into force on 17 November 2017, notes TeleGeography.
Costa Rica’s constitutional court has ordered sector watchdog the Superintendency of Telecommunications (Sutel) to impose a temporary minimum data transfer rate for post-paid mobile internet users that exceed their fair usage allowance, notes TeleGeography.
The five member states of the Eastern Caribbean Telecommunications Authority (ECTEL) are updating their telecoms framework with legislation, reports the St Kitts & Nevis Observer. A new electronic communications bill is expected to come before the parliaments of the member states.
Germany’s regulator, Bundesnetzagentur, has published rules for the cross-border marketing of mobile numbers which will further facilitate the global sale of machine-to-machine (M2M) applications.
The European Commission has already issued a call for tenders to carry out a study on the cost of providing wholesale roaming services in the EU/EEA countries, soon after the 15 June 2017 rule on banning roaming charges for fair usage came into effect.
US tech giants are back in Europe’s spotlight, reports the Financial Times. Facebook and Google are both in the headlines over sanctions from European authorities, with Google kicking off its fight against a €2.4bn EU fine for abusing its market dominant position.
Mexico’s 2013 telecom reform has brought benefits, spurring competition that has increased access and brought down mobile internet costs from among the highest in advanced economies to among the lowest, according to the OECD Telecommunication and Broadcasting Review of Mexico 2017.
The US House Energy and Commerce Committee has unanimously passed the Self Drive Act, which makes it easier for NHTSA to regulate what a self-driving car will look like.
The Swiss Federal Council has adopted a partial revision of the Telecommunications Act (TCA), and the draft legislation will now be dealt with by parliament. The revision covers broadband services that are replacing traditional telecoms services and gives greater weight to consumer concerns, promotes competition and deregulation, and simplifies administration.
New Zealand’s Communications Minister Simon Bridges has introduced a bill to update the country’s telecoms act with a focus on increasing regulatory oversight and improving service quality, reports Mobile World Live.
The Australian Communications and Media Authority has used a “spectrum tune-up” meeting to propose an accelerated process for considering releases in the millimetre wave spectrum for 5G broadband, and has released a consultation paper on the topic.
Companies must tell employees in advance if their work email accounts are being monitored without unduly infringing their privacy, the European Court of Human Rights said in a ruling on defining the scope of corporate email snooping, reports Reuters.
The GSMA has brought out a report, “Wholesale open access networks”, which examines the performance of the wholesale open access network (WOAN) model (also known as single wholesale network, SWN) in five markets: Kenya, Mexico, Russia, Rwanda and South Africa.
Regulations help governments support economic growth, social welfare and environmental protection. The challenge is to design clear, coherent and efficient regulations and to effectively implement them, according to a report by the OECD and the Korea Development Institute, which is about facilitating good regulatory design and implementation.
France, Germany, Italy and Spain want digital multinationals like Amazon and Google to be taxed in Europe based on their revenues, rather than only on their profits, their finance ministers said in a joint letter, reports Reuters.
The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has released more than 13,000 pages of net neutrality complaints filed by consumers against their internet service providers, reports Ars Technica.
Augusto Preta - CEO, IT Media Consulting, Chairman, IIC Italian Chapter