Rapid progress in information technologies has produced an ever-broadening array of choices in information products. At the same time, it has caused historically segmented industries, such as television, telephones, computers, and print media, to converge and compete. The result is a cornucopia of products and potential in communications along with enormous strain on the governmental institutions that use and regulate information technology.
The essays in this book provide a broad look at the many ways that information technology relates to issues of governance and public policy. Adjusting regulatory instititions to the new technical realities is a great challenge. Will monopoly power threaten the traditionally regulated areas of telephones and cable television or the software systems that integrate all information technologies into a single system with many competing players? Can traditional approaches to intellectual property rights and control of socially harmful content be applied to the converged information sector? This book sheds light on these issues, and in so doing demonstrates the usefulness of rigorous, multidisciplinary policy analysis in assessing the significance of changing technology.