ICP recently promoted a meeting with various entities connected to the industry of telecommunications and information technology within the scope of the Convergence and Development Platform. The main ideas discussed on this meeting were the reinforcement of the residential market on convergence tendencies and the need to create a regulatory framework, which will include the various tendencies of this industry, in a flexible manner, providing the market with the necessary mechanisms capable of determining future developments.
This was the first meeting with the industry within the scope of the Convergence and Development Platform, a forum which aims to produce a series of recommendations guiding regulation and ICP's role in the future. Apart from the Industry Working Group, two other groups were created, aimed at Network Operators and Audio-visual Industry and Consumers and Industrial and Commercial Associations. The latter will meet for the first time in January 2000.
At a market level, those participating in this meeting highlighted the appearance of new joint services equipment, business concentration and the introduction of new concepts such as e-commerce, e-learning, e-support and service brokerage, among others.
This evolution in market supply happens at a time of profound technological development. Within this context, industry representatives referred to the maturity of equipment, which allows for integration among the various technologies, at both a terminal level and at the level of equipment for network infrastructures. They spoke too of the evolution of open network architectures, the growing demands in terms of bandwidth and service bundling. Representatives also emphasised the progressive integration of fixed and mobile networks, on the one hand, and of voice, data and video, on the other.
The need to create a new regulatory framework which will sustain and allow for the development of these new services and technologies was, within a market regulation perspective, one of the main concerns of those involved.
Subsequent to the meeting, a document is being drawn up on the relevant framework and convergence issues, including digital platforms of a DVB-T type, is being drawn up.
The aim of this platform is to find guidelines for market development and to fully provide active market agents with the opportunity to transmit, in an open manner, their ideas on the role of the regulator. In this way, the Convergence and Development Platform has, as an immediate objective, the drawing up of a plan of action which will include the regulation to the new convergence model for networks, services, markets and equipment.
Representatives from the following companies were present at the meeting: Alcatel, Cabovisão, Cisco, Ericsson, Instituto da Comunicação Social (Institute for Social Communication), Jazztel, Lucent, Maxitel, media Capital, ML Comunicações (ML Communications), Nokia, Onitelecom, Optimus, Philips, REFER, REN, RTP, SIC, Siemens, Sonae - Redes de Dados (Sonae - Data Networks), Telecel, TVI and, naturally, ICP.