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About this book

EU communications policy has massively changed due to both global competition on the ICT market and technological developments that led to the emergence of Internet technology. This book analyzes the structural and procedural transformation processes inside the EU legislative processes and concludes that EU communications policy struggles to reflect today's internet-enabled communications reality. It provides insights in the institutional conditions that maintained specific patterns of EU communications policy since the beginning of telecommunications regulation and concludes with an outlook on the technological and regulatory challenges ahead.

Table of Contents

Frontmatter

Chapter 1. Introduction

Abstract
Not only did liberalization foster technological convergence but also technological development promoted the digitalization of communications services and networks. The advances of internet technology eventually facilitated the virtualization of communications technology and thereby accelerated the vast utilization of internet communications. As its role for society and economy continuously increases, the Internet, without any doubt, significantly changes the way consumers utilize communications networks and services. While traditional communications based on closed systems, the Internet built on open interfaces. Technological evolution has favoured the latter.
Simon P. Rinas

Chapter 2. Institutionalism in the 21st Century

Abstract
Do institutions matter? This question motivated the revival of institutionalist thinking in political science after almost four decades of behaviorist fashion in social sciences. Today, institutionalism maintains its role as one perspective aiming at understanding political life, providing an alternative to approaches on ‘rational actors’ and ‘cultural community’ (March/Olsen 2008: 4). Back in the mid-1950s, the behaviorist turn had dissolved contemporary institutionalist predominance in political science, which until then upheld the role of the nation state in politics, eventually encouraging institutionalists to reconsider basic assumptions of their theory (Lowndes/Roberts 2013: 29).
Simon P. Rinas

Chapter 3. EU Communications Policy in the Era of Telecommunications

Abstract
When in 1957 Belgium, France, Germany, Luxembourg, Italy, and the Netherlands established the European Economic Community (EEC), they already codified the development of a common market in the Treaty of Rome (ToR) (ToR: Art. 2) guaranteeing free movement of goods, persons, services, and capital in different policy areas. While policy-makers focused on tariffs and quotas and thereby fostered a customs union rather than a common market (Young 2010: 109; Balassa 1975; Pelkmans 1984), ECJ rulings in 1963 (Van Gend en Loos) and 1964 (Costa v. Enel) confirmed the direct effect and the supremacy of EEC law over national regulation (cf. Wood/Watson 2009: 81–3). Ever since, the European Community achieved an advanced stage of market integration in different policy areas.
Simon P. Rinas

Chapter 4. EU Communications Policy in the Era of Electronic Communications

Abstract
Liberalization efforts had transformed the European telecommunications sectors in all member states. As Schneider concluded after comparing Germany, France and Italy, all telecommunications types (terminals, networks, data communications, leased lines, mobile communication) had become subject to competition, legal structures and capital had been—at least partly—privatized, and independent regulatory authorities had been established. Telecommunications policy in the EU had eventually been characterized by liberalization, privatization and re-regulation (Schneider 2001: 70–1).
Simon P. Rinas

Chapter 5. The Advent of Internet Communications in EU Communications Policy

Zusammenfassung
Technological development accounted for the advent of a new institution in the context of communications. The rules that constitute the Internet rest on technological decisions, economic considerations and not least community politics and governance processes. The global character of the Internet differs significantly from the national character of telecommunications. Ubiquity of content replaced ubiquity of infrastructure as the pivotal leverage in the Internet universe. The claim of a free and open Internet constituted this new institution in the context of communications.
Simon P. Rinas

Chapter 6. EU Net Neutrality Rules: You Can’t Have the Cake and Eat It, Can You?

Zusammenfassung
The narrative of net neutrality enabling or hampering innovation, which has been employed in the EU net neutrality debate, was new to the institution of EU communications policy. In effect, these new rules attach to the established narrative of the information society, which could benefit from the new practice of maintaining specialized services. Thus, the relevance of the internet as a tech-nological development—or, put differently, a set of rules and procedures—in the context of economic growth and global competition opened the institution of EU communications policy for intermediates from another institutional setting. While the EU attaches to this exogenous concept, internalizes it and addresses the respective challenges, it regulates a problem without easing the inclined challenges.
Simon P. Rinas

Chapter 7. Conclusion: Upcoming Challenges for EU Communications Policy

Abstract
Over the past four decades, EU communications policy has become a sophisticated institution constituted by significant vertical depth and horizontal linkage. The process of rule-making on communications has illustrated the capacity to actively integrate a former national policy area into EU policy-making through institutional engineering and institutional entrepreneurship seizing contextual changes. The disruptions caused by liberalization had been the sincerest in the sector. The friction that currently occurs in the context of internet communications and the related net neutrality debate could become likewise sincere. While institutional change towards liberalization resulted from regulatory change, the clash between traditional communications and internet communications results from technological change in the very institutional context.
Simon P. Rinas

Backmatter

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