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Green Paper on the convergence of telecommunications, media and information technologies

The European Commission has adopted a Green Paper on the convergence of the telecommunications, media and information technology (IT) sectors, intended to launch a Europe-wide debate on how the new generation of electronic media should be regulated in the next century.

Digita...
The European Commission has adopted a Green Paper on the convergence of the telecommunications, media and information technology (IT) sectors, intended to launch a Europe-wide debate on how the new generation of electronic media should be regulated in the next century.

Digital technology allows a substantially higher capacity of traditional and new services to converge towards the same transporting networks and to use integrated consumer devices for purposes such as telephony, television or personal computing. The EU needs to have the right regulatory framework in order to maximise the benefits of this convergence in terms of job creation, growth, consumer choice, cultural diversity.

A key message of the Commission's Green Paper is that convergence should not lead to additional regulation. Current rules should, however, be reviewed to check whether they will still be relevant in the light of convergence. The document provides an overview of the situation to date and perspectives for the future, and raises a number of questions concerning the need for an adequate regulatory framework.

The initial public consultation period is scheduled to last five months (December 1997 to April 1998 inclusive). A report on this public consultation will then be prepared (by June 1998), following which the Council of Ministers and the European Parliament are expected to adopt any Resolutions on this matter in the second quarter of 1998. In response to these resolutions, the Commission could prepare a Convergence Action Plan by the end of 1998. The already-announced Telecommunications Review will be conducted in 1999.
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