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Green Paper on the convergence of the telecommunications, media and information technology sectors and the implications for regulation

This Green Paper aims to enhance the comprehension of and to encourage discussion on the development of the new phenomenon of convergence in the telecommunications, media and information technology sectors with a view to providing a coordinated approach towards the Information Society.

ACT

Green Paper on the convergence of the telecommunications, media and information technology sectors and the implications for regulation - Towards an approach for the information society [COM(97) 623 final - Not published in the Official Journal].

SUMMARY

The Green Paper analyses the phenomenon of convergence and its impact on the existing legislative framework in the areas of telecommunications, the media and information technology.

The implications of these developments are far reaching. Convergence is not just about technology. It is about services, new ways of doing business and of interacting with society. The changes described in the Green Paper have the potential to substantially improve the quality of life for Europe's citizens. They will also make it possible to integrate better the various regions of Europe into the heart of the European economy and will enable companies to be more efficient and competitive in global and national markets.

It is expected that the emergence of new services and new developments in existing services will expand the overall world information market, providing new routes to the citizen and building on Europe's rich cultural heritage, its potential for innovation and its creative ambitions.

The global nature of communications platforms today, particularly the Internet, provides the key which will open the door to the further integration of the world economy. At the same time, the low cost of establishing a presence on the World Wide Web enables businesses of all sizes to develop a regional and global reach. Globalisation will be a key theme in future development.

If Europe can embrace these changes by creating an environment which supports rather than holds back the process of change, we will have created a powerful motor for job creation and growth, increasing consumer choice and promoting cultural diversity. If Europe fails to do so, or fails to do so rapidly enough, there are real risks that our businesses and citizens will be left to travel in the slow lane of an information revolution which is being embraced by businesses, users and governments around the world.

The subjects covered are complex and will require lengthy discussion before new Community initiatives can be proposed. The purpose of the Green paper is to launch this discussion.
The results of the public consultation process will be published by the Commission in June 1998.

This Green Paper heralds a new phase in the European Union's policy approach to the communications environment. As such, it represents a key element of the overall framework put in place to support the development of the Information Society. It builds on the current strengths of the frameworks for telecommunications (launched by the landmark 1987 Green Paper on Telecommunication and for media (established by various Community legislative initiatives). This Green Paper offers all interested parties an opportunity to comment on the future shape of regulation, in the post-1998 communications environment, in the sectors affected by convergence.

This first step is intended to pave the way for the development of an appropriate regulatory environment which will facilitate the full achievement of the opportunities offered by the Information Society, in the interests of Europe and its citizens as the 21st century begins.

RELATED ACTS

Following the Green Paper, the Commission started public consultation on the implications for Community regulation of the convergence of the telecommunications, media and information technology sectors. The outcome of this consultation is given in the Communication to the Council, to the European Parliament, to the Economic and Social Committee and to the Committee of the Regions [COM(99)108 final]
Following this consultation, the Commission intends to work out proposals for action towards regulatory reform. These proposals will cover the following:

  • reforms of the regulation of infrastructures and associated services which will be proposed as part of the 1999 communications review;
  • actions concerning content services which will be covered either by adjustments to existing legislation in due course or by the introduction of new measures.
Last updated: 12.05.2006
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