Cooperation, Competition, and Mutualism in the US Information and Communications Sector
US information and communications (I&C) industries are a particularly interesting case for exploring the responses of associations to external change. They represent a large segment of the economy and have even higher indirect importance as critical material and immaterial infrastructures, closely intertwined with nearly all other social and economic activities. Firms need to survive in a turbulent technological and market environment, characterized by rapid change and particularly trying economic conditions. Many segments of the I&C industries exhibit very high fixed costs combined with relatively low incremental costs, a situation that is very different from the conditions of the industrial age. During the past three decades, these industries have been subject to significant policy transformations on a global scale toward private ownership, open market entry, and reduced regulation. New issues that have disrupted the historical relations between stakeholders include the technological blurring of traditional industry boundaries, which has created hitherto unknown forms of competitive rivalry; the migration to next-generation networks and services that pitches network operators against content providers; the global problem of piracy of intellectual property; and information security and privacy. All these forces constitute powerful challenges for the existing business associations and the political system.
KeywordsFederal Communication Commission Content Provider Trade Association Business Association Communication Sector
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