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Internet Governance in the UK

Date & Time:
12:30:00 - 14:00:00,
Thursday 21 October, 2004


Discussion of Internet governance has been shaped by three myths: that the market can decide, that the Internet is different to ‘legacy’ media, and that national governance is unimportant. The author challenges these three myths through an examination of Internet governance in the UK in 2003/2004, and argues that the Internet is a layered, not vertically integrated, medium of communication, and that three modes of governance prevail – hierarchy, markets and networks (self-regulatory).

The layers of the UK Internet are examined, their governance identified and evaluated and the conclusion drawn that network governance is a distinctive, but not universally present, characteristic of UK Internet governance and that contemporary, well functioning, arrangements may be unstable – requiring stronger hierarchical governance in the future.

We are grateful to the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) for their support of this seminar series.

Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC)


Richard Collins is Professor of Media Studies at the Open University. Hitherto, his work has focused on ‘legacy’ media and on broadcasting in particular. From 1993 to 1997 he was Research Director of the ippr (Institute for Public Policy Research) Media and Communication policy research programme, with outputs including the highly regarded ‘New Media New Policies’ (jointly authored with Cristina Murroni, 1996) which, for the first time, recommended integration of UK communications regulators into an Office of Communications (Ofcom).