This issue of Network Industries Quarterly is devoted to water utilities, their governance and their performance. With growing urbanization, pollution and water stress, utilities are ever more challenged to provide safe and affordable drinking water in an ecologically sustainable manner. Are they and will they in the future be up to the task? What is and should be the right size to do this? What is and should be the best governance of them (ownership, legal structure, regulation) to make sure that they can deliver? What is and should be the most appropriate articulation between governance of the water resource and governance of the utility? These are some of the questions that the four papers seek to address. The examples the authors refer to pertain mainly to Latin America, namely Brazil, Mexico, and Argentina.
In this issue we pursue our exploration of whether and how digital platforms, especially digital platforms as applied to the network industries, should and could be regulated. Indeed, as of recently, attention paid to these emerging digital platforms is exploding. Most of the related publications aim at making recommendations as to whether, and if yes, how to regulate these digital platforms in the interest of the consumer, the citizen, the public economy and even public values. Some of these recommendations may be drawn quite hastily, triggered by scandals and other (geo-)political considerations.
Digitalisation is transforming all industries, including the network industries. It is creating a new model of industrial organisation using online platform as intermediaries for multisided markets. As a matter of fact, digital platforms display all characteristics of the traditional network industries: network effects, efficiency, scale, concentration, market power, etc.
In Turkey, following the economic crisis in 2001, comprehensive market-based reforms were launched in several sectors, including the network industries, such as telecommunications, electricity, and aviation. Privatisation of certain units has enabled the stimulation of investments in different segments and the establishment of sector-specific regulatory authorities, which in turn have resulted in significant improvements. However, the introduction of competition and regulatory achievements in the electricity and the telecommunications industries, have been slower than initially anticipated. Excessive infrastructural investments have created uncertainty around the future of the airline industry. Moreover, emerging platforms on the internet are witnessing problematic regulatory interventions.