Convergence - Regulatory framework could be turned on its head

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13 October 2011

The Federal Government’s “Convergence Review” is attracting high levels of interest from the communications and media industries in Australia, due in no small part, to the potential for the existing regulatory framework to be “turned on its head”.

The Department of Broadband, Communications and the Digital Economy is currently undertaking the “Convergence Review”: the mammoth task of working out what changes are required to the current regulatory framework in order to accommodate the convergence of media, communications and technology.

The Department recognises that the existing regulatory model based on industry silos is challenged by convergence and that “revolutionary change” is likely to be needed to respond to convergence. The challenge for the Department is figuring out how best to regulate traditional and new media, without stifling emerging services and domestic content production, all the while respecting community standards.

Commenced in 2010, the Convergence Review has the potential to revolutionise the current state of play and is attracting high levels of interest from the media and communications sectors. The Department’s initial draft terms of reference received 72 submissions and the later framing paper resulted in 65 submissions. At the public consultation sessions in August, attendance levels were unexpectedly high, and the audience (perhaps not so unexpectedly) had strongly diverging views. In September, the Department released five more discussion papers as part of the Review.

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