Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

EU failed to apply technology neutrality in regulating communication services

11.12.2008
Governments must apply the principle of technology neutrality correctly when regulating the electronic communication sector (broadcasting, telecom and IT) if they are to keep the sector efficient and dynamic.

That is one of the conclusions of Ilse van der Haar’s PhD-thesis, which she defended at Tilburg University in the Netherlands. The European Union could have applied the priciple of technology neutrality better in its Audiovisual Media Services Directive.

The electronic communication sector is very important for Europe’s economic growth and social cohesion. The convergence of previously different network technologies (such as cable, mobile networks, satellite and ADSL), which could subsequently distribute the same types of services (television programmes, for instance), created a need for legislation that is not based on technology. The principle of technology neutrality was introduced by the European Union in 2002 to provide for this need.

A discussion soon broke out about its precise meaning: whether all communication services that (can) compete, like fixed and mobile telephony, should be regulated in precisely the same way, and whether authorities can still actively stimulate the development of new technologies such as glass fibre.

Ms Van der Haar, a lawyer, investigated the origin and application of the principle of technology neutrality in telecommunication legislation. She discovered that the introduction of the principle was based on various motives - non-discrimination, durability, efficiency and certainty for consumers. She concluded, however, that 'efficiency' seems to be the dominant motive for applying the principle in telecommunication legislation. But governments must avoid taking technological decisions out of the hands of the market parties, says Van der Haar. Prior to regulation, the authorities must have a clear reason for intervening in the market, if undesirable side effects (such as government failures) are to be avoided.

Content and network are closely linked, and in practice it is difficult to distinguish between the regulation of content and of networks, as the European Union currently does. Communication services consist of both content (for example film or sound) and network elements (to distribute the information). It is therefore important that the close knit between content and distribution network is recognized in the regulation of electronic communication services, states Van der Haar.

The legislation relating to the substantive component of communication services was recently revised at the European level. Ilse van der Haar uses the experiences with the principle of technology neutrality in telecommunication legislation for an analysis of the resulting new Audiovisual Media Services Directive. She concludes that the criticism this European Directive has met could have been obviated. The criticism concerned the unnecessary expansion of the legislation from traditional broadcasting services to interactive, online services. Better application of the principle of technology neutrality based on efficiency could have prevented this.

Ilse van der Haar (1978) studied law at Maastricht University in the Netherlands. Subsequently she worked as member of a project team on the report on media policy for the Dutch Scientific Council for Government Policy (WRR). She is currently engaged by Tilburg University as academic manager for the Tilburg Law and Economics Center (TILEC), and assistant professor for the Department of International and European Public Law.

Corine Schouten | alfa
Further information:
http://www.tilburguniversity.nl

More articles from Communications Media:

nachricht Between filter bubbles, uneven visibility and transnationality
06.12.2017 | Schweizerischer Nationalfonds SNF

nachricht New Technologies for A/V Analysis and Search
13.04.2017 | Fraunhofer-Institut für Digitale Medientechnologie IDMT

All articles from Communications Media >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: First-of-its-kind chemical oscillator offers new level of molecular control

DNA molecules that follow specific instructions could offer more precise molecular control of synthetic chemical systems, a discovery that opens the door for engineers to create molecular machines with new and complex behaviors.

Researchers have created chemical amplifiers and a chemical oscillator using a systematic method that has the potential to embed sophisticated circuit...

Im Focus: Long-lived storage of a photonic qubit for worldwide teleportation

MPQ scientists achieve long storage times for photonic quantum bits which break the lower bound for direct teleportation in a global quantum network.

Concerning the development of quantum memories for the realization of global quantum networks, scientists of the Quantum Dynamics Division led by Professor...

Im Focus: Electromagnetic water cloak eliminates drag and wake

Detailed calculations show water cloaks are feasible with today's technology

Researchers have developed a water cloaking concept based on electromagnetic forces that could eliminate an object's wake, greatly reducing its drag while...

Im Focus: Scientists channel graphene to understand filtration and ion transport into cells

Tiny pores at a cell's entryway act as miniature bouncers, letting in some electrically charged atoms--ions--but blocking others. Operating as exquisitely sensitive filters, these "ion channels" play a critical role in biological functions such as muscle contraction and the firing of brain cells.

To rapidly transport the right ions through the cell membrane, the tiny channels rely on a complex interplay between the ions and surrounding molecules,...

Im Focus: Towards data storage at the single molecule level

The miniaturization of the current technology of storage media is hindered by fundamental limits of quantum mechanics. A new approach consists in using so-called spin-crossover molecules as the smallest possible storage unit. Similar to normal hard drives, these special molecules can save information via their magnetic state. A research team from Kiel University has now managed to successfully place a new class of spin-crossover molecules onto a surface and to improve the molecule’s storage capacity. The storage density of conventional hard drives could therefore theoretically be increased by more than one hundred fold. The study has been published in the scientific journal Nano Letters.

Over the past few years, the building blocks of storage media have gotten ever smaller. But further miniaturization of the current technology is hindered by...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

See, understand and experience the work of the future

11.12.2017 | Event News

Innovative strategies to tackle parasitic worms

08.12.2017 | Event News

AKL’18: The opportunities and challenges of digitalization in the laser industry

07.12.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Engineers program tiny robots to move, think like insects

15.12.2017 | Power and Electrical Engineering

One in 5 materials chemistry papers may be wrong, study suggests

15.12.2017 | Materials Sciences

New antbird species discovered in Peru by LSU ornithologists

15.12.2017 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>