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Regulation, Governance and Convergence in the Media

Peter Humphreys and Seamus Simpson

Media convergence is often propounded as inevitable and ongoing. Yet much of the governance of the media sector’s key parts has developed along discrete evolutionary paths, mostly incremental in character. This volume breaks new ground through exploring a diverse range of topics at the heart of the media convergence governance debate, such as next generation networks, spectrum, copyright and media subsidies. It shows how reluctance to accommodate non-market based policy solutions creates conflicts and problems resulting in only shallow media convergence thus far.
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Chapter 2: Next generation networks: providing a sustainable convergence platform

Peter Humphreys and Seamus Simpson

Extract

Chapter 2 explores policy efforts to create high speed broadband network environments, or so-called next generation networks (NGN). A key theme of the chapter concerns the role of public sector involvement in network refurbishment and upgrading. The chapter shows how, since the financial crash and global economic recession of 2008, states have exercised what might be termed developmental governance activity through major investments in electronic communications network upgrade. The underlying assumption here is that investment in NGNs can provide economic growth and renewal through providing the infrastructural context necessary for the content creation and service delivery synonymous with positive visions of media convergence. The chapter argues that the range and extent of such public intervention, should, however, be contextualised. The scale of the task at hand has meant that the neo-liberal model which has characterised electronic communications infrastructural development since the late 1980s still predominates.

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