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Govt launches Green Paper to explore digital convergence

Communications and Broadcasting Minister Amy Adams today launched a Green Paper and work programme outlining the Government’s response to the challenges and opportunities of a converged world.

The Exploring Digital Convergence Green Paper provides an overarching view of the cross-government convergence work programme and sparks a discussion of the impact convergence is having on New Zealand’s regulatory settings.

“How we communicate, do business and access information and entertainment is changing rapidly. Streaming on demand content on a smartphone or getting our news on the web is the new normal,” says Ms Adams.

“While these exciting changes are simplifying our lives and creating new opportunities, our laws haven’t kept pace. They treat various technologies differently, even if they are performing similar functions. For example, a show broadcast on TV can face different restrictions than when it’s streamed on demand via the web. This is confusing, restrictive and dampens innovation.

“We need to consider the implications of convergence across the regulatory framework and ask whether our systems are correctly calibrated for this converged world that we live in.”

Supporting the rapid convergence of new technologies and delivery platforms is a priority for Government.

“Content and delivery have become decoupled. We need to ensure we don’t inadvertently stifle innovation or create inequities between businesses who now find themselves competing for market share,” says Ms Adams.

“I’m interested in exploring incidences of duplications or inconsistencies that could create an un-even playing field.”

The Green Paper provides an overview of the convergence of historically separate industries, and the policy and legislative issues that arise from this. It sets out the high-level cross government response and outlines the current work programme.

The cross-government work programme initially comprises:

  • A review of the regulatory framework for content
  • A review of the regulatory framework for telecommunications and radio spectrum
  • Developing the infrastructure needed to support convergence
  • A refresh of the Cyber Security Strategy and Action Plan
  • A review of the applicability of GST to cross border services and intangibles
  • A study of the creative sector use of the copyright and designs regimes
  • The Data Futures Partnership.

Each of these work streams will be the subject of specific work undertaken by Ministers.

About convergence:
Convergence allows the delivery of multiple services to consumers more easily through a single platform (for example, smartphones, tablets, or Smart TVs). Consumers can now access services on a single platform that would previously have required several different devices and service providers.

Convergence is driven both by the media and telco industries offering products and services across several platforms and by consumers who expect information where and when they want it, and in customised formats.

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Updated on 1st November 2017