Convergence and its Regulation, Social and Policy Implications

Authors: Lin, Li

Affiliation: Jesus College, University of Cambridge, CB5 8BL, UK

Abstract: With the rapid development in technology, deregulation and globalization, telecommunication, IT, broadcast and consumer electronic industries are converging together with unprecedented speed and scale. While Internet is progressively at the centre of our daily communication and entertainment, the traditional industry boundaries are being blurred and the former closed, separately vertical structures are being transformed into a converged horizontal structure, with services independent from networks and terminals/devices. Besides the great opportunities brought by convergence that we could communicate anytime, anywhere with any device we choose, we are also facing unprecedented challenges in regulation, trust and security, diversity, accessibility, capacity building and openness issues in an increasing convergent world. In this paper, we will explore the intricate relationships between industry convergence and these regulation, social and policy issues which has gradually penetrated into every aspects of our societies. Furthermore, convergence will not be limited within any industry boundaries. It is like a swirling, powerful vortex, sucking any industries nearby and therefore expanding progressively. In the whirling motion, the traditional industries, services, networks, terminals and business models will be stirred, melted, mingled, reorganized and re-innovated according to customersí» updating but unpredictable demand. Although the existence of convergence might be forgotten by us in the end because it will deeply penetrate into every part of our daily lives and become gradually í░invisibleí▒, it will not stop at any point and the debate and discussion of convergence and its regulation, social and policy implications will last for decades.

Key words: Convergence, regulation, social, policy, implications.

Page : 39-43    Vol.3, No. 2, 2008