European Union telecommunications policy

Simpson, JMG 2017, 'European Union telecommunications policy' , Oxford Research Encyclopaedia of Communication . (In Press)

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Abstract

This article explores the character and development of telecommunications policy at EU level. For most of the 20th century a matter of national governance and thus of peripheral interest to the EU, from the mid to late 1980s the EU began to develop an intensified policy package for the telecommunications sector. Telecommunications has now grown to become one of the most prominent and extensive policy areas addressed by the EU. But what can account for such a remarkable Europeanisation of telecommunications governance? In polar contrast to its origins, the article shows how telecommunications has become a key focus for effecting sectoral change by advocates of neo-liberal economics and policy. This went hand-in-hand with arguments around propounding the benefits of economic globalization, which sustained a move to internationalise the organization of telecommunications to the European level along neo-liberal lines. However, notwithstanding the remarkable growth of the EU governance framework for telecommunications, the article also nuances its analysis through illustrating the constant resistance to wholesale Europeanisation of telecommunications policy. It provides evidence of a residual tension between national and EU level interests in this respect. This has been evident in policy proposals, decision taking and implementation at key junctures spanning more than 30 years. The article illustrates the role played at different times by key EU and national level governmental, regulatory and commercial actors, in particular. Telecommunications, the article argues, thus provides a classic illustration of the balance that needs to be struck between supranational and intergovernmental interests in the development of communications policies at the EU. Now part of a converging electronic communications sector, this feature of telecommunications governance is as prominent today as it was in the very early days of EU telecommunications policy development of the mid- to late 1980s.

Item Type: Article
Schools: Schools > School of Arts & Media > Arts, Media and Communication Research Centre
Journal or Publication Title: Oxford Research Encyclopaedia of Communication
Publisher: Oxford University Press
Depositing User: Prof Seamus Simpson
Date Deposited: 15 Jun 2017 11:53
Last Modified: 08 Aug 2017 17:39
URI: http://usir.salford.ac.uk/id/eprint/42611

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