Digitalisation of information content and communication channels is bringing countries closer to the point where any information or entertainment content can be delivered down any communication channel. This convergence is breaking down the dividing lines between broadcasting, information technology and the media and has lead to an unprecedented wave of mergers. This roundtable explored the implications of these developments for broadcasting regulation and competition enforcement. The technological processes of convergence are likely to have parallels in convergence of regulatory regimes. Broadcasting forms, such as television, that once received special treatment are increasingly regulated like other media. Competition concerns focus on access to the high bandwidth link to consumers (including the customer premises equipment or “set top box”) and on access to key content, such as certain sporting events. Vertical arrangements or mergers between holders of these two types of bottlenecks and other firms in the broadcasting chain raise interesting and difficult challenges. How competition and regulatory authorities manage these bottlenecks is decisive for determining the degree of competition that will emerge in the long-run. This document comprises proceedings in the original languages of a Roundtable on Regulation and Competition Issues in Broadcasting in the light of convergence which was held by the Working Party n°2 of the Committee on Competition Law and Policy in October 1998.
Regulation and Competition Issues in Broadcasting in the light of Convergence