Policy-makers are implementing reforms to their legal frameworks in order to address the issues raised by convergence. Most of these reforms are focused on telecommunications legislation and regulation. However, due to convergence, legal reforms of telecommunications legislation are increasingly coordinated with and, in some cases even integrated into legislation affecting broadcasting and information technology. These reforms are resulting in the opening to competition of increasingly more advanced and converged services (see Figure 4-A). Countries where such an approach is not carried out have less effective regulatory tools to handle convergence and therefore may miss the full benefits of its development and the introduction of advanced and converged services for the market and consumers. For instance, reforms may be developed in the telecommunications regulatory framework, but if regulation in other ICT sectors is not also modified to address the challenges of new technologies (i.e.
, privacy and security issues, e-signature, e-commerce, etc.), the market will not fully develop because consumers will be reluctant or unable to use all ICT capabilities until these challenges are fully addressed.
Reforms due to convergence are following common trends affecting various aspects of telecommunications regulation, particularly in the areas of licensing, spectrum, interconnection, universal service, and numbering. With regard to licensing, modifications to regulations have focused mainly on reducing market-entry requirements for new technologies by introducing a simpler and technology-neutral licensing regime. In the area of spectrum management, the concept of technology and service neutrality is being proposed, as well as spectrum trading and in-band migration, to allow the more flexible introduction of new services and obtain a more efficient use of the spectrum. Interconnection ideas are also shifting and new concepts are being implemented such as “access” and “capacity based interconnection.” For purposes of universal service and numbering, technology-neutrality and inter-modality portability is being introduced.