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ITU defines OTT and issues policy and regulatory framework recommendation

The ITU has approved a recommendation addressing the relationship between network operators and providers of over the top (OTT) applications. It says recommendation ITU-T D.262 “provides parameters for the analysis of the new economic dynamics of the ICT ecosystem and how policy and regulatory frameworks could promote competition, consumer protection, consumer benefits, dynamic innovation, sustainable investment and infrastructure development, accessibility and affordability in relation to the global growth of OTTs”. The approval follows ITU member states’ agreement of a resolution outlining the scope of ITU activities relevant to OTTs at the ITU Plenipotentiary Conference 2018 in Dubai. The resolution recognises that the mutual cooperation of OTTs and network operators could foster considerable socioeconomic benefits, in addition to recognising the need to discuss the economic implications of OTTs and related policy issues. The recommendation offers a definition of OTT: “An over the top (OTT) is an application accessed and delivered over the public internet that may be a direct technical/functional substitute for traditional international telecommunications services.” It notes, however, that “the definition of OTT is a matter of national sovereignty and may vary among member states”. “The definition of OTT included in the recommendation is the world’s first such definition issued by a multistakeholder organisation,” says Ahmed Said,  head of economic affairs at the National Telecom Regulatory Authority of Egypt and rapporteur for the ITU-T group responsible for the recommendation’s development. The recommendation highlights that member states’ associated consideration of competition policy, in particular the identification and definition of relevant markets, should consider the fundamental differences between OTT and telecoms business with respect to regulatory exposure, barriers to market entry and the degree of substitutability between OTT and telecoms services. It encourages countries to develop enabling policies or regulatory frameworks to foster fair competition between network operators and providers of OTTs and also to examine, if necessary, the reduction of the regulatory burden on traditional networks and telecoms services. Read more

  • Wednesday, 15 May 2019

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