The Convergence Review was established by the Federal Government in December 2010 to consider how regulation of media and communications should be updated in light of the convergence of old media technologies with the internet and the need for regulation to promote competition, open access, innovation, media diversity and the creation of Australian content.
The release of the Interim Report follows public consultation on a series of background and discussion papers published by the Review over the course of 2011.
The Interim Report foreshadows a highly ambitious package of regulatory reform including:
The Review recommends this converged regulatory framework be underpinned by a new legislative structure. This would involve a staged transition away from current regulatory divisions between the Radiocommunications Act 1992, Broadcasting Services Act 1992 and Telecommunications Act 1997, with an initial focus on introducing legislation to regulate Content Service Enterprises.
The Review’s recommendations would reduce the complexity and amount of media and communications regulation but increase the scope of its application. The threshold criteria for a Content Service Enterprise will be a particularly crucial issue for the Final Report to determine, as this will govern how much of the new and online media industry is caught by the converged regulatory net.
The Review is due to provide its final report and non-binding recommendations to the Federal Government in March 2012. Submissions on the Interim Report can be made up until 10 February 2012.
Who does this affect?
All media and communications companies, but especially those delivering content services.
What do you need to do?
Review the Interim Report and be ready to respond by 10 February 2012.