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Title: An analysis of satellite services policy-making in Britain.
Author: Hughes, Rosemary.
Awarding Body: University of Sussex
Current Institution: University of Sussex
Date of Award: 1993
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The combination of technical advances and growing demand for modernised communications infrastructures has led to the introduction of new types of husiness communication services. The British Government continued its pioneering role in European telecommunications with its release of six Specialised Satellite Service Operators' (SSSOs) licences in October 1988. The results are assessed, through in-depth interviews and extensive desk research, according to the Government's two main political ohjectives: to encourage further competition in telecommunications and to stimulate the growth of innovative new business services. The policy problem for the government was to achieve these aims, while protecting the PTO duopoly of BT and Mercury Communications Ltd. The result was a regulatory compromise, which served to undermine the efforts of the early operators to build innovative business network operations. At the same time, thanks to its role as Signatory to the European satellite organisations, BT's dominance of the UK satellite communications sector continued. Observed from a pluralist perspective, an analysis of Britain's satellite service policy process and implementation provides a clear illustration of the etrect of interest groups on policy-making. The extension of liberalisation to the satellite services' sector stemmed directly from the demands of putative service providers and large potential users. Their persuasive arguments rested on the macro-economic and political henetits of new satellite technology. The policy style which characterised the formulation and implementation of the SSSO licensing was incrementalist This, in part, derived from the changing regulatory environment of other European countries, but also from the responsiveness of policymakers to continual demands for further liberalisation. The recent Conservative governments have taken a reactive approach to new communications technology, which ic; demonstrated by a policy process based on a short period of consultation. a hout of rapid decision-making and cautious implementation. As with cable TV, Government insistence on a policy of 'facilitation' was intended to provide opportunities for new operators: the extent and pace of satellite services' development would be dictated by the market. But this goal was undermined hya lack of coherence in policy implementation and a process of restrictive hureaucratisation. Above all, external factors, such as the uneven nature of satellite services' liheralisation across Europe and the continued PTT control over access to satellite capacity constituted major brakes on market development The research has shown that, in choosing the original six SSSOs, the Government did not so much 'pick winners' as select guineapigs, who tested the market for those who would follow and paved the way for further liberalisation. Five years after the release of the six SSSO licences, there remains little competition in satellite services.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Political science Political science Public administration Management Space vehicles