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Convergence, net neutrality and European Media Policy

Simpson, S Convergence, net neutrality and European Media Policy , in: FACE conference, ‘European Media Policy 2015: New Contexts, New Approaches’,, 9-10 April, Helsinki. (Unpublished)

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Net Neutrality - in its origins the idea that Internet Service Providers should treat without discrimination communication traffic of a broadly similar kind - was once in Europe thought a technically arcane subject with little policy relevance beyond the USA. This paper considers Net Neutrality in the context of the debate on the broader process of ongoing media convergence arguing that, in so doing, it is possible to see that Net Neutrality and its policy complexities crystallise much of the debate on how to govern effectively electronic communication networks and services. In this regard, a re-interpretation and widening of the concept of Net Neutrality, the paper argues, has the potential to form the basis of a cogent set of policies for early 21st century online media. The international nature of online communication points to the potential utility of developing shared understandings and practices of Net Neutrality beyond the national level. As a consequence and turning its attention to the European media policy context, the paper then focuses on the performance to date and future potential of the EU as a site for an expanded articulation of Net Neutrality. Here, the conclusion is that the EU’s role has been limited: on the one hand, blandly rhetorical and, on the other, narrowly focused on techno-economic matters, for the most part. Given that the debate on Net Neutrality is currently in a (temporarily) open and contestable state, the paper argues that the EU risks missing an important policy opportunity.

Item Type: Conference or Workshop Item (Paper)
Schools: Schools > School of Arts & Media > Arts, Media and Communication Research Centre
Funders: Non funded research
Depositing User: Prof Seamus Simpson
Date Deposited: 22 Mar 2016 15:26
Last Modified: 22 Mar 2016 15:26

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