The round table on the “Regulation and Digitization of Telecommunications in Latin America” took place last Thursday, with the participation of Julissa Cruz, Director of Indotel, the regulatory body of the Dominican Republic, and Carlos Lugo Silva, Director of CRC, the Communications Regulation Commission of Colombia. The purpose of this event was to obtain first-hand information on the regulators’ needs, concerns, challenges, as well as the lessons learned from a time as convulsive as the one the people of the Latin American and Caribbean regions are currently living in.
Lessons learned from Covid-19
As Julissa Cruz pointed out, Covid-19 has “stripped bare” all public and private entities and presented them with an accelerated diagnosis of the most urgent improvements to be made in the sector. In their respective intervention, Cruz and Silva talked extensively about the socioeconomic and digital divides, and about the way in which Covid-19 has influenced inequalities as regards the economic and digital resources available to the citizens of both countries. Silva, for his part, stated that if the pandemic had taught the CRC one thing, it was that the Colombian telecommunications sector needed to attract investment to accelerate the creation of the digital policies that would promote the sector’s development, thus breaking down the barriers that divide society. He also made a very interesting point by commenting on the need for the digitization and modernization of the national regulatory framework pertaining to the telecoms, and on the fact that the regulator should simplify its processes and regulations, with a view to encouraging the participation of all stakeholders in the sector.
Cruz’s intervention was in line with Silva’s, with a focus on the lessons learned thanks to – or because of – Covid-19, which include the need to improve the quality of service, to implement policies aiming to reduce the socioeconomic and digital gaps, and to modernize the regulatory framework. She pointed out that some regulations dated back to the last century, and that, due to the rapid and drastic evolution of technology and telecommunications globally, such regulatory frameworks needed to be revised and adapted to the current circumstances.
Digital literacy and regulatory harmonization as key challenges in the region
Both Cruz and Silva insisted on the importance of a regulatory harmonization in the regional telecoms sector to achieve digital transformation and minimize the gaps.
Cruz also discussed the need to provide technological education to the people who now find themselves on the margin of digital society due to a lack of skills or knowledge in this specific area. What we are talking about here is the much-needed “digital literacy” that GVG has referred to on several occasions, highlighting the need for governments and related entities not to overlook this key factor when working towards digital transformation.
James Gabriel Claude, GVG’s CEO, brought the event to a close by emphasizing the human perspective, as well as the fact that the sector’s stakeholders, including ourselves, while discussing digitization long and hard, sometimes forgot a fundamental aspect of digitization, which is the human aspect. Behind all these frameworks and regulations to promote digital transformation, there are always people.
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