Author(s): Williams H, Whalley J, Li F
Abstract: This paper provides a new policy framework for the development of standards for interoperability in electronic commerce. It stresses the complexity of the notion of interoperability and provides a structure for reviewing interoperability between various players in the markets for electronic commerce. Furthermore, the paper highlights the need to structure the questions surrounding policy intervention in terms of market development. However, a key issue that needs to be resolved is the question of interoperability. Interoperability is defined as the set of protocols that ensure end-to-end provision of a given service in a consistent and predictable way. These protocols not only include a set of technical specifications but also include a set of contractual procedures to ensure fair, transparent and consistent interconnection as well as an institutional framework that ensures fair competition. Thus interoperability can be seen to take a variety of policy formats as the market evolves. This paper develops a new framework which offers the ability to shape policy in such a way as to accommodate the trade-offs between the incentives to innovate and the need to avoid anti-competitive behavior and ensure all firms can trade equally within given markets.