Attention regulators: open an IoT Consultation

Author: Ricardo Tavares
Published: 2014-08-30

Telecom regulators around the world are now addressing Internet of Things-related issues. So far only a few have published formal consultation papers. In July 2014 the UK’s Ofcom launched a consultation, Promoting innovation and investment in the Internet of Things, which is likely to be a landmark in this area. Open for responses from stakeholders and the public until 1 October 2014, the paper asks:

  • Does the IoT require a specific spectrum policy and what are the demands for spectrum of these new services?
  • How can we assure privacy, security and reliability in the Internet of Things?
  • How can we manage the huge demand for new “phone” numbers and Internet Protocol (IP) addresses?
  • What role, if any, should regulators play in promoting and regulating the IoT, including whether or not they should get involved in setting common technical standards.
    A week after Ofcom launched this consultation, French regulator Arcep launched its own, albeit less wide-ranging, on whether unlicensed spectrum (particularly in the 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz bands) should be opened for M2M communications, and specifically for short-range devices (SRDs).

    It would be useful if other regulators, before jumping to conclusions, consult the private sector and the public at large about their views on how to promote and regulate the Internet of Things. Based on the regulatory legacy of each country, there are important potential adaptations to existing regulations which could speed up IoT implementation. These include, for example, dealing with the presence of SIM-cards from other countries’ numbering families, and how to register machines’ numbers.

    And, of course, new policies and encouraging regulation could spur innovation, investment and new opportunities for economic growth.

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