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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 3: The future is (still) mobile: spectrum governance issues in a converging media environment

Peter Humphreys and Seamus Simpson

Extract

Chapter 3 of the volume explores the changing governance of airwave spectrum in a context of media convergence. Spectrum has historically been viewed as an invaluable, scarce communications resource governed with strong public interest principles in mind. The digitalisation of the airwaves provided capacity saving benefits, as well as an enabling infrastructure for content-rich media services, classic of media convergence environments, to be sent and received wirelessly. However, ironically, this so-called digital dividend has whetted the appetite of commercial players from the mobile broadband sector to secure increased spectrum to intensify their service provision at the expense of incumbent terrestrial TV broadcast players. The chapter illustrates how what is effectively a turf war over spectrum exemplifies much of the tensions between media with a public service functions and sensibilities and those which are out and out commercial in nature.

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