The Global Forum, an international think-tank on the digital society, recently held its annual meeting in Oulu, Finland with attendees from more than 30 countries. The meeting brings together government, business, and civil society representatives to discuss trends and developments in the technology sector.
This year’s theme was “Digitalization: From Disruption to Sustainability” and speakers included Prime Minister Juha Sipilä of Finland and Oulu Mayor Matti Matinheikki. During the Forum, I joined two panels – Smarter Regulation in the Internet Age and Towards Greater Intelligent Infrastructures. Most of our discussions centered on the pace of innovation and our ability to adapt. Here are some points that I took away from my panel discussions:
We are entering a world where you are always connected.
There’s no industry that contributes to economic growth quite like the mobile, digital economy. It’s driving commerce and creating new business models in every industry. AT&T is helping our international business customers become more mobile. By connecting their people, processes, and assets, companies can be more productive. Providing this connectivity requires significant investments and a premier network experience. From 2007 to 2014, mobile data traffic on our network increased 100,000 percent – and the growth shows no signs of slowing.
Regulation needs to look forward.
As business model evolve so rapidly, it also requires a flexible policy framework. Unfortunately, companies doing business in the EU today face 28 different sets of regulations. Businesses and their technology must be able to operate seamlessly across borders to operate competitively in a global economy. To address this pace of innovation and 5G networks, government needs to become involved and work with Industry to provide a strategic framework to harmonize spectrums, to allow extra territorial use of numbering resources and standardize guidance so that we are able to respond to this rapid pace of innovation.
A strong multi-stakeholder model means a stronger Internet.
The Internet is working well, and has expanded so quickly, we sometimes forget how it came together – through a private-sector-led, multi-stakeholder governance model. It allows stakeholders across the globe to discuss policy issues affecting the Internet. It avoids a centralized decision-making or a politicized inter-governmental treaty process. The European Commission and the European Parliament continue to play an important role in advocating for the multi-stakeholder process and in building bridges with other countries. As do other interested and competent stakeholders including experts and independent bodies that make crucial contributions to the technical operation of the Internet.