5th generation collaborative regulation underpinned by solid regulatory principles will promote certainty which is key if regulation is to continue to attract investment and foster the innovation that has hitherto defined the digital economy.
The following areas are essential to the success of regulatory collaboration and response:
- Legal capacity for joint action: The outcomes resulting from collaborative regulation are likely to be meaningful, effective and well considered with fewer unintended negative consequences when they are based on sound legal processes and institutional frameworks and mandates. Memoranda of Understanding or similar binding acts are particularly useful in formalizing the grounds for collaboration, defining roles, mechanisms, and outcomes of collaboration. These frameworks could address not only domestic collaboration between sectors, but regional and international collaboration to more effectively address cross-border issues.
- Uniting fragmented efforts around a common cause, aligning actions and multiplying consumer and business outcomes: The ICT regulator has a central role in facilitating access to resources for emergencies (such as frequency spectrum, Internet bandwidth, equipment deployment and sharing of infrastructure) but also in the continuing coordination with sectors such as health, government, education and finance to take charge of the needs of citizens and support whole-of-government approaches to digital transformation.
- Incorporating modern methods for diagnosing the regulatory and institutional capacities of agencies will enable them to refine their objectives in a flexible and agile manner to respond both to predictable instances of technological change and new services as well as to extraordinary emergency situations such as a pandemic. Risk management, planning, monitoring the implementation of regulations as well as reviewing and assessing the impact of those regulations on digital markets and the economy and on how public policy is carried out must form an institutional mechanism that goes beyond short-term political considerations, so that regulatory frameworks enjoy predictability and sustainability over time as well as a solid base from which to consolidate and better use public resources.
- Creating platforms for dialogue on key topics: While designing viable regulatory support frameworks for industry-led technological solutions, regulators need to engage in information sharing across the industry and between the industry and government agencies as well as others such as data protection and consumer protection agencies. Strategic coordination along with domestic and international engagement between regulators and law enforcement agencies would lead to improved regulatory enforcement and increase consumer benefits.
- The new roles of regulatory associations (RAs) should leverage their capacity to boost the development of digital markets at the national and regional level while building scenarios for future emergency response of all kinds. The collaboration, information sharing and cross-fertilization among regulators as well as among RAs should be further enhanced and geared towards regional harmonization and coordination, including in the area of spectrum management, international mobile roaming and digital platform regulation.
- International cooperation: Effective international dialogue is essential to enable cross-country learning as well as to explore common policy solutions at both regional and global levels. International organizations must redouble their efforts to meet their commitment to rendering equitable service to an international community with differing yet interdependent interests and realities. Instruments for international cooperation must be employed transparently and efficiently and become levelers that enable national digital markets to thrive.