The new telecommunications: a political economy of network evolution
In contemporary societies telecommunication plays an increasingly central role. The move from analogue to digital switching and transmission technologies has transformed the technical capacity of telecommunication, enabling the creation of intelligent networks that can do far more than simply convey messages. Access to electronic communication networks is becoming a major determinant of the ways in which individuals, groups and firms participate in economic, political, social and cultural life. In this broad-ranging analysis, Robin Mansell assesses the dynamics of change in the electronic communication environment. Her investigation encompasses the political, economic and technical factors contributing to the future of telecommunication networks. She explores the consequences of policy decisions and design choices in the creation of intelligent networks. At the same time, she demonstrates how both policies and technical aspects are themselves shaped by actors in the telecommunications sector, including governments, public telecommunication operators and their competitors, equipment manufacturers, and large users of public and private telecommunication networks. Outlining developments in the industry in the late 1980s and 1990s in the United States, the United Kingdom, Germany, France and Sweden, the author shows how new technical, institutional and market arrangements are reshaping the terms and conditions of network access, with ultimate effects on participation in the 'networked economy'. This major overview of the direction of change in the new telecommunications will be essential reading for scholars and advanced students of communication studies and of science and technology policy and will be of interest to those wishing to understand the evolution of the electronic communication environment.
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Intelligence and Flexibility for Whom?
Challenges for Policy and Regulation
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