Here is my attempt to write a piece on the concept of universal service in a digital networked environment. It is meant to be a part of the special issue on telecommunications reform of I/S: A Journal of Law and Policy for the Information Society.
My basic idea was that in the new digital and converging electronic communications ecosystem, the rationale(s) for providing universal access have been transformed. The weight is now not so much on internalising the network externalities and/or redistributional considerations, but should move towards creating and sustaining communication and information networks as a public good. In that sense, I argue that the debate on the concept of universal service should be readjusted and envisage access to content as an essential element of the scope of future universal service obligations. The latter is justified on freedom of expression and cultural diversity grounds as well.