No area of technology has developed faster or affected contemporary society more pervasively than electronic communications. Networked computers linked through the internet have enabled finance, commerce and manufacturing to function in a "virtual" environment, unconstrained by time and space. Boundaries have also been removed in voice, image, and data transmission, once normally provided through discrete media. Although the effects of these developments are large, their significance is far from clear. This collection of eleven original papers by British and Canadian experts examines a wide range of practical consequences of the current revolution in communications technology and reconsiders the actual depth of changes so far produced in the economy and society.
The essays explore the blurring of lines between telecommunications and broadcasting and the nature and feasibility of regulation; the introduction of public services through interactive terminals and questions of access and equity; the possibility of virtually unrestricted dissemination of knowledge, making it almost a free good, and questions of ownership and incentives to those who generate knowledge; and the costs and benefits of the creation of "virtual" campuses through computer-supported distance learning.
Contributors include Gordon Betcherman (EKOS Research), Kathryn McMullen (EKOS Research), Vincent Mosco (Carleton), Peter Nicholson (Bell Canada), Leslie A. Pal (Carleton), Andrew Reddick (Public Interest Advocacy Centre), Rena Upitis (Queen's), Richard Collins (London School of Economics and Political Science), John Daniels (Open University), Stephen McGookin (Financial Times), Hugo Drayton (Electronic Telegraph), Robin Mansell (Sussex University), Michael Svennevig (Centre for the Future of Communications), and David Morrison (University of Leeds).