With all the hot political issues out there, not many people take the time to think about Telecommunications Regulation.
Allow me to prompt you to think about it a little.
- Cable and phone companies are entering each other's markets and offering single billing for Internet, TV, and local & long distance service.
- Wireless hotspots are expanding from airports & hotels to whole blocks in some cities.
- Wireless phones are competing directly with landlines (copper & wireline services) Here in IL, it appears that SBC has lost "market share" to wireless. Surveys are showing increasing numbers of people whose only phone is wireless.
- The technology that allows you to get broadband through your electricity lines(called BPL) is improving fast enough that Trump is placing it in his next building.
The current 1930 style regulation is putting a wet blanket over this dynamic environment. This impedes the investment necessary to bring us our future faster. ___
This Study from the Competitive Enterprise Institute questions the need for continued regulation of telecom.
In the absence of competition, regulations serve to protect consumers against monopoly market power. This is, in theory, the reason why the telecommunications local exchange market is so heavily regulated. While the days of the monopoly have long passed, when do policymakers know if there is enough competition to let markets operate without regulation? The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) reports that competitive local exchange carriers (CLECs) now garner 16.3 percent of the market, leaving the remaining market share to the incumbent local exchange carriers (ILECs).
However, these statistics do not include competition from wireless telephones, high-speed data services, and Internet telephone services. If wireless telephone services were found to be substitutes for traditional telephone services (referred to in this paper as wireline services), then this competition, not to mention competition from other technologies, would replace the need for the regulations that control the wireline incumbent’s prices and services.
Why is this important? Because broadband technology is an even greater equalizer than the printing press or the gun. We are entering an age where every blogger/e-list member can become his own media outlet, broadcasting ideas complete with links, text, data, voice, and video. The faster you get data and content, the faster you can understand the world around you.
As an aside...In a world where you can Google for virtually any chunk of knowledge you might need, isn't it pretty obvious that a good chunk of the educational superstructure - overpaid bureaucracy, under informed content providers (teachers & textbook publishers), brick and mortar physical plant, etc. - is getting more obsolete by the day.