Communications Policy and Information Technology: Promises, Problems, Prospects
New technologies, although developed with optimism, often fall short of theirpredicted potential and create new problems. Communications technologies are no different. Theirutopian proponents claim that universal access to advanced communications technologies can help tofeed the hungry, cure the sick, educate the illiterate, improve the global standard of living, andultimately bring about world peace. The sobering reality is that while communications technologieshave a role to play in making the world a better place, the impact of any specific technologicaladvance is likely to be modest.The limitations of new technologies are often not inherent in thetechnologies themselves but the result of regulatory or economic constraints. While the capabilitymay exist to deliver any information anywhere in the world, many people lack the money to pay forit, the equipment to access it, the skills to use it, or even the knowledge that it might be usefulto them. This book examines the complex ways in which communication technologies and policies affectthe people whose lives they are intended to improve. The areas of discussion include Internetregulation, electronic voting and petitioning, monopoly and competition in communications markets,the future of wireless communications, and the concept of universal service.
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