Staying ahead of the field when telecommunications and information technology is expanding at the speed of sound, is a challenge Hong Kong cannot ignore. It is crucial if it wishes to enhance its position as a pre-eminent regional broadcasting hub, and it is important for maintaining competition and increasing consumer choice. Now that telephone services, television programmes and information technology can be delivered using a variety of different transmission methods, there is no limit to the amount of services the public can enjoy. Because of this, the Information Technology and Broadcasting Bureau was set up in April to develop a structured policy covering all forms of electronic media. Its consultation paper sets out an agenda which holds the promise of hundreds of television channels beamed in from all over the world. By the millennium, Hong Kong will be transformed from a city where terrestrial stations dominate television production, where licensing restrictions inhibit variety, and where the telephone system has only just opened to limited competition, to a place where pay TV, digital Video on Demand, and many new telecommunications services will bring innovation, competition and cheaper prices. For consumers, the proposals mean real progress, provided they are handled with caution. More does not necessarily mean better. The result can be a lowering of standards as companies fight for audience ratings, with shopping and pornography programmes. In opening the market, regulation must be strict to ensure the airwaves are not swamped with material that could be damaging to children. Nor should the Government give in to the demand of licensees to relax restrictions on the amount of advertising, which many viewers would consider already adequate. Crucially, children must be protected. It is questionable whether the mandatory parental locking system the Government proposes is enough to ensure their safety.