The changes currently under way in communications technology are as profound and complex as the developments in roads, railways, canals and shipping in the 19th century which contributed to the industrial revolution. The main difference today is the lightning speed at which these changes are occuring. The pace of this communications revolution is beginning to blur the boundaries of the industry, so that several formerly distinct sectors are converging: computers, telecommunications, cable TV, broadcasting, wireless communications and publishing. This paper deals with one aspect of a story which is at the heart of all current development: the creation of a system of global rules and regulations for telecommunications. The regulatory frameworks currently in place are rudimentary, and thus the most "global" of activities has one of the weakest global public policy regimes. This volume asks what issues of public policy are involved at an international level, particularly in a new environment where there is greater emphasis on competition and the private sector rather than national public monopolies, and where multimedia, rather than telecommunications as traditionally defined, is the dominant concept.
Publisher: Royal Institute of International Affairs