Telecoms regulators traditionally worry primarily about the cost of services and whether or not services are being used to make nuisance or illegal (fraudulent) calls. They would not traditionally see their role has having any implications for citizen participation in power and decision making.
In an era where telecommunications is data-centric, this view is changing. Free-to-use plans that limit internet access to certain tools and platforms will result in large numbers of citizens being unable to participate in a range of spaces. This will narrow the scope of involvement, most likely for the worse.
Telecommunications regulators can work with participatory specialists to identify key services that must be accessible and free of charge to give citizens access to services and information allowing them to engage in the governance of their nation, region, or city. 23
23: This approach includes measures that lower the barriers for civic technology organizations and entrepreneurs to access social media application programming interfaces to develop more solutions that promote citizen engagement. ↩