In June 1999 FCC Chairman William Kennard announced the first initiative focusing FCC attention on developing and emerging countries around the globe.
The broad goal is to provide telecom policy and regulatory assistance to developing/emerging countries seeking to achieve and sustain their place in the global information society.
The Initiative builds on the Commission's on-going programs by formalizing the FCC's long-standing assistance around the world in these matters. It focuses on a few key countries in Africa, Asia, Latin America/Caribbean, and central Europe.
In particular, the FCC works with key countries in these regions to build independent regulatory agencies equipped to facilitate universal access to telecommunications through competition, liberalization, privatization, and transparency -- the goals of the Reference Paper on Pro-Competitive Regulatory Principles negotiated as part of the WTO Basic Telecom Services Agreement.
FCC assistance addresses the underlying telecom sector as a whole. Among other things, the FCC shares its experience in independent regulation, open markets, competition, spectrum management, licensing, and cost-based interconnection rates. This regulatory assistance should provide the foundation for the infrastructure investment and deployment that will enable developing countries to participate more fully in the Global Information Society.
Just 2 months after its announcement, the Chairman commenced the global initiative in southern Africa.
Work Programs have been signed with telecom regulators in South Africa, Uganda, Ghana, Peru, Argentina, Jamaica, India, Philippines, Turkey, and Hungary. A memorandum of discussion has been signed with regulators in Thailand.
Countries were selected on the basis of four general criteria: General regulatory environment, comparative need for telecom development and interest in regulatory assistance, the ability to be a regional leader, and compatibility with U.S. industry objectives.
Recognizing that demand for FCC information and guidance on telecom matters far outstrips resources, as the first step in the Chairman's initiative, the FCC published Connecting the Globe: A Regulator's Guide to Building the Global Information Community. This manual highlights the major issues facing telecom regulators and is meant to be a resource for those around the globe, in particular for those who may not be able to directly participate in the initiative due to resource constraints. It is available in English, French, and Spanish.
To further expand upon this publication and to help promote the GII, the FCC designed a set of courses covering telecom policy and regulation. The aim of the "FCC curriculum" as it is known, is to highlight the practical aspects of regulating - the nuts and bolts -- as well as policy issues. In partnership with the Telecommunications Industry Association and the International Telecommunication Union's Development Bureau, five of the nine modules of the curriculum were presented in June at Supercomm 2000 to high level officials from the Philippines, Malaysia, Taiwan, Cambodia, Nepal, Samoa, Tuvalu, Canada. The course is also available to those participating in the FCC International Bureau's Visitor's Program.
The FCC is currently working with the Cisco Learning Institute to convert this course into an online format.