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Intervention, net neutrality and European Union media policy

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Net Neutrality was once in Europe thought to be a technically arcane subject with little policy relevance beyond the United States. However, its dominant articulation as the idea that Internet Service Providers should treat equally communication traffic of a broadly similar kind has emerged as a growing site for policy debate and contestation. Academic understanding of Net Neutrality is still in relative infancy, and work on the subject from a European media policy – and specifically an EU – perspective is in particular need of development. This article argues that current dominant Net Neutrality perspectives and their policy complexities, while valuable, do not provide a comprehensive enough policy context within which to consider the future governance of electronic communication networks and services in a context of network convergence around the Internet. This is because debates on the idea of intervention, which sits at the core of Net Neutrality, have been under-addressed and narrowly focused. This is illustrated in the case of EU policy on Net Neutrality, which, the article finds, has been tentative, often blandly rhetorical and, for the most part, focused on a narrow range of techno-economic matters.
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Keywords: EU; Governance; Internet neutrality; broadcasting; media; policy

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: University of Salford

Publication date: September 1, 2016

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  • The International Journal of Digital Television will describe and explain the transition to digital TV and wider trends in television. As switchover happens across the globe and television's operations and audiences are transformed, the International Journal of Digital Television will be at the forefront of efforts to understand the changes and developments.
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