Public consultation pledged over merger of telecoms and broadcasting authorities

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 27 October, 2004, 12:00am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 27 October, 2004, 12:00am


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Updated at 6.02pm:
The public would be consulted on the merger of the Broadcasting and the Telecommunications Authorities in the coming months, the Secretary for Commerce, Industry and Technology said on Wednesday.

John Tsang Chun-wah said the government intended establishing a single regulator to overseeing the ?entire electronic communications sector?.

?We are now actually witnessing, rather than merely predicting, how convergence operates, and how the blurring of boundaries between the internet, broadcasting and telecommunications has become a foregone conclusion,? Mr Tsang said in a speech to an industry convention.

?It is simply not effective for two separate regulators trying to figure out issues like whether 3G multimedia service falls under the broadcasting or the telecommunications regulatory regime,? he added.

Mr Tsang outlined three characteristics of the proposed regulatory regime. They are: a single regulatory body; a body that responds to competing demands from different sectors; and one which embraces converging technologies and services.

?We need a regulator with a broad vision to formulate quick and well co-ordinated responses to facilitate and to enable the provision of even more new services... and appropriate measures to safeguard public interests, such as the protection of children and young people from certain contents distributed via emerging media.? Explained Mr Tsang.

He also said a new regulatory philosophy ? shifting from detailed rule-making to competition-based regulation of communications ? was needed.

Mr Tsang said the government would also continue to embrace deregulation.