On being asked to identify what I thought were the key on-the-horizon policy issues, I came up with the following. It would be helpful to have a web discussion on this with the intention of coming up with a ranked list that may include new items.
1. I am even more convinced that the backbone is a critical hole in the original reform thinking. Its significance is highlighted by Koreas success in broadband and everything ICT. .
2. The issue of converting to a new spectrum regime that gets away from exclusive licenses for specific frequencies is likely to be a hot issue in the coming years. Many developing countries will need help to clear frequencies for higher-value uses even under the old regime. But allowing for technologies that require jumping around in a range of frequencies like WiFi (moderate) and WiMax (radical) will require more sophisticated approaches. Or approaches that have not been developed upto now. The old trick of making the beneficiary pay for relocating the current user is difficult when there is no discrete identifiable beneficiary, as in WiFi.
3. The key lesson that can be drawn from the e Sri Lanka design is the importance of an integrated approach: infrastructure enables e-gov; e-gov creates the conditions for e commerce; e commerce creates demand for bandwidth, which justifies the whole infrastructure investment. In addition, we linked it to a services-trade based overall growth strategy.
4. Benchmark and regional regulation as remedies for problems of regulatory implementation. Old hat, but very important.