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.
Across the world, railways are poised to face new challenges, as all transport modes are transformed by technological innovations, liberalisation, competition with other modes of transport and most recently by digitalisation. Consequently, the railway industry is required to increase efficiency while ensuring security and safety, as it has to address multimodality, such as buses, as well as compete with new transport modes, such as car-sharing. Regulation of the railway industry and its various dimensions, not the least competition, is central factor in the process of its transformation and will ultimately decide whether railways will or will not increase their modal share.