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Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Telecommunications and Media Convergence: Selected Issues for Consideration

Angele A. Gilroy
Coordinator/Specialist in Telecommunications Policy

The passage of the 1996 Telecommunications Act (P.L. 104-104) resulted in a major revision of the Communications Act of 1934 (47 U.S.C. 151 et seq.) to address the emergence of competition in what were previously considered to be monopolistic markets. Since its passage, however, the advancement of broadband technology to supply data, voice, and video; the growing convergence of the telecommunications and media sectors; and the growth in demand for usable radio- frequency spectrum has led to a consensus that the laws that govern these sectors have become inadequate to address this rapidly changing environment and have, according to a growing number of policymakers, made it necessary to consider revising the current regulatory  framework.

This report provides an overview of selected topics that, while far from a definitive list, provide a broad overview of issues that are central to the telecommunications/media convergence debate. The issues covered in this report include broadband deployment, broadband regulation and access, broadcast media ownership rules, funding for the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, emergency communications, legal issues regarding facilities siting, Federal Communications Commission oversight and reform, Internet governance and the domain name system, reauthorization of statutory copyright and communications provisions in the Satellite Television Extension and Localism Act, spectrum policy and wireless broadband deployment, and Universal Service Fund reform.

Rather than addressing the specific legislative, regulatory, and industry activities, this report provides an overview of these major issues. The CRS products listed under for further information,” found at the end of each issue topic, should be used to expand upon the issue, provide an update of relevant events, track congressional activity, and identify CRS analysts whoare knowledgeable in these issue areas. This report will be updated occasionally.

Date-of-Report:-August 14, 2013
Order-Number: R43178


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