principles of good regulatory decision-making are universal: (a) transparency;
(b) objectivity; (c) professionalism; (d) efficiency; and (e) independence.1
Although all of these principles are necessary for successful regulation,
transparency is particularly critical, as it provides accountability and
legitimacy to regulatory decisions. In the context of telecommunications
regulation, transparency refers to the openness of the process of exercising
regulatory power, which, in turn, ensures the fairness, accountability and
credibility of the results.2 Box 6-9 below provides a summary
of the benefits of transparent regulation.
Box 6-9: Benefits of
1. Efficiency and Effectiveness – Open
processes enhance consensus and create confidence in the regulator. Increased
public participation promotes diverse ideas in decision-making and increases
support for rules and policies, making implementation easier. In addition,
transparency can lead to greater efficiency by ensuring that duplication of
functions is avoided.
2. Certainty and Reliability – Regulatory
credibility and legitimacy builds stability, essential for attracting
investment. This is particularly important in newly liberalized markets,
where potential entrants need to trust that their investments are protected
from arbitrary action and that further commercial development will not be
thwarted by sudden changes to “the rules of the game.”
3. Accountability and Independence –
Openness promotes accountability and legitimacy, reinforcing regulatory
independence and reducing political and industry interference. Stakeholders
will have confidence that their views will be heard, without bias, by the
regulator. Where regulatory actions are exposed to public view, regulators
are more likely to engage in careful and reflective decision-making.
4. Continuity – A stable set of rules
governing transparency will transcend political changes and outlast political
appointments, ensuring a continuous regulatory record regardless of who is in
charge of the regulatory agency or which political party is in office.
ITU – Trends in Telecommunication Reform 2002, Chapter 6.
Regulation Handbook, InfoDev,
Module I, Section 1.3 (2000).
2 International Telecommunication Union, Trends in
Telecommunication Reform 2002: Effective Regulation, Chapter 6,