QuickLinks - Convergence of telecommunications, media and information technology
Issue no. 280 - 24 August 2003
- UK - New regulatory framework - FAQs by ISPs
Frequently asked questions (FAQs) by Internet service providers about the new regulatory framework. The new framework recognises two fundamental types of providers - providers of electronic communications networks (PECNs) and providers of electronic communications services (PECSs). An electronic communications network (ECN) is a transmission system for the conveyance of signals. This definition includes the networks used to carry dial-up and broadband Internet traffic and to provide end users with Internet access. An electronic communications service (ECS) is a service consisting in the conveyance of signals. This includes Internet access services provided by ISPs. Provision of an ECS does not extend to the provision of content services or most information society services, for example web hosting, parental controls and exclusive content. However, providing the underlying transmission over which a content or information society service is conveyed may well involve the provision of an ECS. Content provided over the Internet is specifically excluded by the Act from direct regulation. However Ofcom will have a statutory duty to promote public awareness that Internet content is unregulated, and how users can regulate and control access to it themselves. The Act requires Ofcom to establish a Content Board who will represent the interests of consumers in relation to Ofcom's work on the content of anything broadcast or transmitted by means of all electronic communications networks, including the Internet. Ofcom will have a function to promote broadcasting and Internet media literacy and to conduct and publish research into content regulation and to take account of findings in its work.
- UK - The Communications Act 2003 (Commencement No. 1) Order 2003
brings into force specified provisions of the Communications Act.
- US - FCC to Offer Media Ownership Initiative
Federal Communications Commission Chairman Michael Powell announced a series of initiatives aimed at ensuring broadcasters serve the communities in which they operate. The move comes amid intense criticism of the FCC's decision in June to revamp media ownership rules, which opponents said would promote more mergers and limit local programming. see also FCC seeks to still media law critics (Guardian)
- US - New broadband rules draw criticism
Federal regulators released details on controversial new rules that will help shape the future of the high-speed Internet and local telephone markets. The new regulations, a 576-page document, spell out the Federal Communications Commission's vision for competition between the big local phone companies and their rivals in the data and voice telephony markets. Analysts said competitors on both sides of several issues are likely to challenge many of the elements, and the commissioners themselves evidenced one of the most bitter splits in recent regulatory history over some of the key provisions.
Issue no. 279 - 17 August 2003
Issue no. 278 - 10 August 2003
- UK - Communications Act passed by Parliament
The Communications Act 2003, a law that updates and simplifies the regulatory framework for the telecoms industry and reforms the rules for media ownership, was passed by Parliament. The passing of the Act ensures that the UK meets its responsibilities under a series of EU Directives, due to be implemented by Member States by 25th July. The Act's main provisions include the transferral of functions to a single powerful regulator - the Office of Communications (OFCOM) - replacing the existing five regulators (the Independent Television Commission, Radio Authority, Office of Telecommunications, Broadcasting Standards Commission, Radiocommunications Agency).
- US - Media Ownership Rules Facing Appeals
Legal challenges to a Federal Communications Commission overhaul of media ownership rules emerged, with the regulations under fire both for allowing too few and too many mergers. The filings with the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia were triggered by the publication of the FCC's final rules in the Federal Register. The regulations will go into effect on Sept. 4.
Issue no. 277 - 30 July 2003
Issue no. 274 - 9 June 2003
- US - FCC Votes to Ease Media Ownership Rules
An ideologically fractured Federal Communications Commission voted 3 to 2 along party lines to relax or eliminate some key media ownership rules, allowing a newspaper to own a television station in the same city and broadcast networks to buy more stations at the national and local levels. see FCC Press Release. See also US - Media regulators get a roasting (Guardian). The US regulators responsible for the relaxation of media ownership rules that could benefit media giants such as Rupert Murdoch's News Corporation were given a roasting by senators at a committee hearing in Washington.
Issue no. 273 - 1 June 2003
- US - FCC Plan to Alter Media Rules Spurs Growing Debate
Substantial grass-roots resistance to the Federal Communication Commission's plans to relax or eliminate several major media ownership rules has been building in recent weeks, turning a numbers-crunching bureaucratic process into a growing debate on free speech.
Issue no. 268 - 28 April 2003
Issue no. 267 - 21 April 2003
- UK - BBC dealt online ultimatum
Culture secretary Tessa Jowell has told the BBC that it has until June to prepare a submission justifying the £112m it spends each year on its online and interactive services ahead of an independent government review.
- UK - Good progress towards government switchover targets
(ITC Press Release)
The Government has published a joint report by the Independent Television Commission and the BBC on Progress Towards Digital Switchover. The BBC and the ITC are required to produce the report under Section 33 of the 1996 Broadcasting Act, and the Government requested it as part of their Digital Action Plan.
- US - The storm over broadband bundling
by Randolph J. May . Cable companies do not have a monopoly in the multichannel marketplace. Technological advances and marketplace dynamics are driving what might be called a digital multichannel marketplace. Bundles promote more efficient utilization of capacity, reduce customer churn, and aid in cross-selling, all of which reduce costs.
Issue no. 265 - 29 March 2003
- Peers warn of 'fatal flaws' in media bill
Peers have warned the government that its communications bill for overhauling the media industry goes too far in deregulating ownership laws. Lord Puttnam, the Labour peer who is leading a House of Lords rebellion against certain provisions of the bill, said the bill could lead to a concentration of power in commercial broadcasting - specifically in Rupert Murdoch's News Corporation empire. Speaking ahead of the bill's second reading in the upper house, Lord Puttnam said the bill threatened plurality, diversity and Britain's reputation for having "the best free broadcast media in the world" because it contained "possibly fatal flaws".
Issue no. 260 - 23 February 2003
- EU - Is Digital TV a priority for Europe?
Mr Erkki Liikanen Member of the European Commission, responsible for Enterprise and the Information Society PuntoIt Workshop European Parliament, Strasbourg, 11 February 2003
- U.S. backs merging Net, phone numbers
In an internal letter,the Commerce Department recommended that the United States participate in an emerging electronic numbering system, known as ENUM, that will allow people to use one identifier for many different purposes, including mobile phones, e-mail, instant messaging and faxes. see FCC Chairman Powell's Letter.
Issue no. 256 - 18 January 2003
Issue no. 255 - 6 January 2003
Issue no. 254 - 15 December 2002
Issue no. 251 - 24 November 2002
Issue no. 247 - 19 October 2002
- Access to technical bottleneck facilities: the new European approach
by Natali Helberger. see also The Evolution of Access Bottlenecks in Europe: Re-Locating the Regulatory Issues (Communications & Strategies) by Martijn POEL & Richard HAWKINS TNO, Institute for Strategy, Technology and Policy, The Netherlands and Future Bottlenecks in the Information Society (IPTS) Report to the European Parliament, Committee on Industry, External Trade, Research and Energy (ITRE).
- Governments should not push flawed digital terrestrial TV - report
Europe's digital terrestrial TV (DTT) isn't quite dead, but it's barely surviving. Because its inherent limitations make it unprofitable, governments should give up their plans of forcing DTT rollouts and let market forces determine the analogue switch-off date, according to a new brief by Forrester Research.
- Italy proposes new media law
(Zini & Associates)
Italy’s Ministry Council approved the proposed new law which revamps the media structure in Italy. The main changes introduced by the new law are as follows: the cross-ownership of television, broadcast and print media is no longer prohibited; no single entity or individual can have more than 20% of the total revenue from the "integrated communications system", which comprises: TV and radio broadcasting, written publications, the film industry, photography and marketing, regardless of the communication channel used, with the exclusion of the voice telephony market and the three television channels owned by the state (RAI) will be progressively privatized starting in 2004. The state will maintain a controlling share and no private party will hold more than 1% of the company’s capital stock.
- DVB - MHP - Home
Welcome to the DVB-MHP website. We have centralised the work of the DVB Project (www.dvb.org) on the Multimedia Home Platform standard into a compact and informative site that will guide you through all aspects and needs for creation of MHP from the technical specifications, commercial requirements and on to development of content and applications.
- Texting the television
Interactive TV has taken off in Europe in an unexpected way: via mobile phones. Text messaging has recently overtaken Internet use in Europe. One of the fastest-growing uses of text messaging, moreover, is interacting with television. This is subtly changing the nature of television. Rather than presenting content to viewers, an increasing number of programmes involve content that reacts to the viewer's input. That was always the promise of interactive TV, of course. The success of TV-related texting is a reminder of how easily an elaborate technology can be unexpectedly overtaken by a simpler, lower-tech approach. It does not mean that the traditional approach to interactive TV is doomed: indeed, it demonstrates that there is strong demand for interactive services. [Ed: highly recommended].
Issue no. 246 - 29 September 2002
Issue no. 242 - 30 July 2002
- UK - Blair faces fight on TV controls
Tony Blair's relationship with media baron Rupert Murdoch came under fresh scrutiny when the government rejected calls from an influential parliamentary committee not to let the newspaper mogul buy into parts of UK terrestrial television. The joint committee of MPs and peers, headed by Labour peer and film maker Lord Puttnam, will recommend that the government scraps plans to allow newspaper groups, or television companies allied to them, to buy into Channel 5. The move would effectively end the chances of the Murdoch-chaired BSkyB buying Channel 5.
Issue no. 241 - 24 July 2002
Issue no. 235 - 20 May 2002
- UK - Joint Committee on the Draft Communications Bill
(House of Commons)
Call For Evidence: Public Hearings. The Joint Committee on the draft Communications Bill invites interested organisations and individuals to submit written evidence as part of its inquiry into the draft Communications Bill. Submissions, reflecting the guidance on written evidence given in this press notice, should reach the Committee as soon as possible and must be submitted at the latest by Monday 10 June.
- UK - speeches by Gavyn Davies and Tessa Jowell
Westminster Media Forum speech given by BBC Chairman Gavyn Davies on 12 March 2002. I shall start by commenting on the line-up of services which the BBC will need to play its central role in our digital future. Then I will comment on how the governance of the BBC needs to be modernised to dove-tail with the rest of the UK’s new regulatory regime after the creation of Ofcom. see also Speech by the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport, Tessa Jowell at the Westminster Media Forum. The Government's views on Public Service Broadcasting.
Issue no. 234 - 11 May 2002
Issue no. 233 - 4 May 2002
- UK - Culture, Media and Sport Committee warns on digital switchover
The collapse of ITV Digital has "dealt a body blow" to the government's plans for digital switchover. In its Fourth Report the House of Commons Culture, Media and Sport Committee said the government will have to seriously consider giving away digital set-top boxes to achieve its goal of switching off the analogue TV signal by 2010. On cross-media ownership, the media select committee agreed with BSkyB's argument that all special rules governing the media sector were "out of date". see also MPs call on regulator to split BT (vnunet) and BT faces pressure to sell fixed-line network (FT).
- UK - Media law shake-up set to block Murdoch
Rupert Murdoch is to be barred from expanding into free-to-air television stations in Britain under a shake-up of media law in the communications bill, which is to be published after this week's local elections. Currently, media organisations such as Mr Murdoch's News Corporation that control more than 20 per cent of the national newspaper market are prevented from buying more than 20 per cent of ITV, Channel 5 or a national or local radio service. Most of these cross-media restrictions are set to remain.
- USA - Cable Companies Commit to Speed Digital TV
The top ten U.S. cable operators committed to take steps to accelerate the transition to digital television, including carrying several high-definition digital channels by January 2003.
Issue no. 232 - 28 April 2002
Issue no. 231 - 14 April 2002
- Economist Survey on digital television.
Power in your hand. The digital era is supposed to revolutionise television. The way people use it will change, but television will remain mainly a vehicle for mass entertainment. [Ed: Recommended]
- Sweden - TV4 set to launch iTV service
Mediteve expects the new interactive service will combine television, computers and telephone, providing live SMS, chats and games.
- USA - Local TV Station Tackles On-Demand Web Video
While it may not be unique on the Web, the local ABC affiliate in St. Paul, Minn., is offering an unusual news video-on-demand service its general manager hopes will lead his local TV station to the leading edge of Webcasting. KSTP-TV debuted its 5Cast service, which allows Web site users to select video segments from archived TV newscasts in any order they choose, giving them, in some sense, the keys to the editor's desk.
Issue no. 230 - 7 April 2002
Issue no. 229 - 23 March 2002
- UK - Murdoch steps up lobbying ahead of media reforms
With only six weeks to go until the government publishes a sweeping shake-up of media laws, Rupert Murdoch has been making his presence felt in Westminster. A favoured option being pored over by ministers and officials would clear the way for big television and radio mergers, but would limit newspaper expansion into broadcasting.
Issue no. 228 - 17 March 2002
- UK - Communications bill to relax cross-media ownership
The government has reaffirmed its plan to relax cross-media ownership rules in its communications bill to be published next month. The long-awaited draft bill has the potential to kick start consolidation of the commercial terrestrial television sector. The relaxation of limits on ownership of cross-media could spark a wave of mergers and acquisitions involving the ITV companies, Channel 5 and BSkyB.
- USA - Cable ISPs Not Required To Share Network - FCC
The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) said that cable companies providing high-speed Internet access do not have to open their networks to competing Internet service providers because they provide "information services," not "telecommunications services." see press release.
Issue no. 227 - 10 March 2002
- UK - BT gets its broadcasting licence
The Independent Television Commission (ITC) has awarded a broadcasting licence to BT, in a move that could eventually see the telco using its network to transmit television and video to large numbers of customers. The licence will allow the firm to provide a full range television and related services over telephone networks and broadband cable. BT insists, though, that it isn't planning to become a fully fledged broadcaster in the near future.
Issue no. 226 - 3 March 2002
- Deutschland - Neues einheitliches Mediengesetz im Saarland
Das Saarland erhält als erstes Bundesland ein einheitliches Mediengesetz für Presse, Rundfunk, Fernsehen und elektronische Medien. Es sieht mehr Selbstkontrolle und Selbstregulierung der Medien vor. Das Gegendarstellungsrecht bleibt unverändert.
Index page see also Audiovisual | Internet access and use | Telecommunications
Links to news items about legal and regulatory aspects of Internet and the information society, particularly those relating to information content, and market and technology.
QuickLinks consists of
QuickLinks is edited by Richard Swetenham firstname.lastname@example.org
- a free newsletter appearing approximately once a week. The newsletter is distributed by electronic mail through an "announcement only" mailing list. To be included on the mailing list, send a blank email to email@example.com (HTML) or firstname.lastname@example.org (Text)
- a Web site with frequent updates, an events page, news items organised by category as well as chronologically by issue and full text search.