The vocabulary of access regulation is shifting with the move from switched to IP interconnection. Between these, unbundling became important.
In the switched interconnection world, key concepts include:
· Originating and terminating access – This refers to exchange of voice traffic and the interconnection rates are usually timed.
· Fixed-mobile termination – The rates for terminating calls on mobile networks have been high, encouraging the growth of mobiles, but are being reduced quickly to facilitate the transition to IP Interconnection.
· Call selection and carrier pre-selection – These were used to provide call services to the incumbent’s customers. They are being replaced by unbundled copper loop and by apps on digital networks.
· Number portability – This can be mandated for either fixed and/or mobile numbers to reduce barriers to switching providers. Numbering plans are being reconsidered with VoIP services.
· Points of interconnect – These are the physical locations where traffic aggregated from either exchange service or fibre serving areas is exchanged between the owner of the access network and the providers of services to the customers in those areas.
· Resale – This is an extreme form of mandated access in which the incumbent operator is required to allow others to resell its services under their own brands. It is important part of the switched interconnection world because reselling retail access allows entrants to provide ‘full service’.
As competition evolved from calls to access, new concepts emerged such as,
· Full and partial unbundling of the copper local loop
· Infrastructure sharing - Co-location and facilities access takes a number of forms.
· Inter-modal or platform competition – the USA relied on competition between cable and telephone networks. There is some evidence that wireless and mobile broadband networks could provide competition for fixed networks.
And, with the migration to all digital networks, came:
· Next generation networks (NGNs)
· Bitstream access and dark fibre
· Peering and transit - Peering, also known as ‘Sender Keeps All’ or ‘Bill and Keep’ is a zero compensation arrangement by which two ISPs agree to exchange traffic at no charge. Transit is an arrangement in which larger ISPs sell access to their networks, their customers, and other ISP networks with which they had negotiated access agreements.
· Internet exchange points (IXPs) – these are physical locations where several ISPs and content providers can exchange traffic more cheaply than paying transit fees .
· IP interconnection
· Net neutrality
· Applications (Apps)
Across all these stages, there are some constant principles and concepts such as:
· Essential or bottleneck facilities - are network elements or services that are provided exclusively or predominantly by a monopolist and are critical inputs to retail service. Also, it is not feasible, either economically or technologically, for retail competitors to duplicate the essential facility or develop a substitute for it.
· Open access - defined by InfoDev as “the creation of competition in all layers of the network, allowing a wide variety of physical networks and applications to interact in an open architecture. Simply put, anyone can connect to anyone in a technology-neutral framework that encourages innovative, low-cost delivery to users. It encourages market entry from smaller, local companies and seeks to prevent any single entity from becoming dominant. Open access requires transparency to ensure fair trading within and between the layers, based on clear, comparative information on market prices and services." [Spintrack AB. 2005. Open Access Models: Options for Improving Backbone Access in Developing Countries, for infoDev/World Bank. http://www.infodev.org/en/Publication.10.html
· Reference interconnection offer (RIO)- this defines the price and non-price terms of the services for access or interconnection with the expectation that this will minimise disputes.
 The economics of establishing an IXP are explained at http://drpeering.net/white-papers/Modeling-the-value-of-an-Internet-Exchange-Point.html