The 21st century telecom landscape is radically distinct from the one that prevailed as recently as the last decade of the 20th century. Given the speed of innovation in this sector, Robert Litan and Hal Singer argue that the Federal Communications Commission's outdated policies and rules are inhibiting investment in the telecom industry, specifically "fast" broadband networks. This pithy handbook provides the kind of fundamental rethinking needed to bring communications policy in line with technological advancements. Fast broadband has huge social benefits, enabling all kinds of applications in telemedicine, entertainment, retailing, education, and energy that would have been unthinkable a few years ago. These benefits would be even larger if the FCC adopted policies that encouraged more broadband providers, especially of wireless broadband, to make their services available in roughly half of the country where currently consumers have no choice in wireline providers.
The authors' recommendations include: allowing broadband providers to charge for premium delivery services, and embracing a rule-of-reason approach to all matters involving vertical arrangements; stripping the FCC of its merger-review authority, because the FTC and Justice Department have the authority to stop anticompetitive mergers; eliminating the FCC's ability to condition spectrum purchases on the identity, business plans, or spectrum holdings of the bidder; and freeing telephone providers from outdated regulations that require them to maintain both a legacy copper network and a modem IP network. These changes, and others advanced in the book, will greatly enhance consumer welfare from telecommunications services and the applications that are built around them.
Publisher: Brookings Institution
Number of pages: 88
Dimensions: 229 x 152 mm