The Governance of Network Industries

The Governance of Network Industries

Institutions, Technology and Policy in Reregulated Infrastructures

Studies in Evolutionary Political Economy series

Edited by Rolf W. Kunneke, John Groenewegen and Jean-François Auger

Infrastructures are subject to substantial readjustments of governance structures, often labeled as liberalization, privatization or re-regulation. This affects all traditional infrastructure sectors including communications, energy, transport and water. This study highlights and illustrates some of the major challenges for readjusting the governance of network industries from an economic, institutional, political and technological perspective. The three parts of the book address the institutional design of infrastructures, the role of technology in different sectors and actor behaviour.

Chapter 9: Disruptive Technologies in Communications: Observations from an Entrepreneur

Malcolm Matson

Subjects: economics and finance, industrial economics, institutional economics, public sector economics


Malcolm Matson INTRODUCTION This contribution is not from an academic, but rather an entrepreneur who, for the past 25 years, has been focused on the local deployment of the disruptive digital technologies that are marking out the information age. There is no claim that the observations, comments and conclusions made below are the result of exhaustive and rigorous research and analysis—they are not. Rather they result from personal empirical and anecdotal evidence gained at ground level, in the hurly-burly of the marketplace. They have been tempered and tested by a fair amount of commonsense reasoning; but they make no claim to being more than that. Therefore, there will be gaps and errors of omission and commission in what is presented which, hopefully, will spur others to more rigorous and deeper analysis, scrutiny and argument. However, the fundamental, underlying hypothesis is stark and simple. Never before in history has the extent, nature and pace of the impact of technological innovation been dictated primarily by the vested interests that stand to be negatively disrupted by it, rather than by the anonymous mass of end users who will discover and create new uses for, and benefits from, these new technologies. The relatively recent human-made tools by which vested interests achieve this artificial shaping and slowing of history are their compelling influence on public policy formulation and the subsequent framing of sector-specific regulation which assumes and assures them of maintaining a place in tomorrow’s landscape. WAVES OF TECHNOLOGICAL REVOLUTIONS It is worth starting...

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