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InsiderOnline Blog: July 2004

Free Markets Outpace Telecom Regulators

Braden Cox of the Competitive Enterprise Institute has high hopes for telecom regulation, or lack thereof, in the future. Cox writes that the bi-partisan National Council of State Legislators, at its annual meeting, endorsed a suprisingly market-based approach to telecom regulation, as U.S. telecom markets continue to outgrow the Telecom Act of 1996 and the Communications Act of 1934.

The telecommunications policy committee report acknowledges that current regulation has hurt infrastructure development. It recognizes that the innovation and convergence of technologies creates cross platform competition, and that it was the market that created this competition, not the 1996 Act. The NCSL advocates a policy framework that “allows consumers and the marketplace to determine winners and losers” instead of government regulation. 

The report still advocates for a significant role for the states in telecom policy, and for a federal act regulating all providers of telecommunications (i.e. cable and VoIP) in the name of regulatory parity, but even on these issues it seems to call for “similar and minimal” regulation.

Isn't it amazing that it's news when our own American legislators recognize the power of free markets? And it never ceases to amaze me that politicians are arrogant enough to think think they can "plan" an entire economy. The Telecom Act of 1996 is a perfect example of what the government can't do -- keep up with the market. It took less than a decade for telecommunications to morph into a creature not even recognizable to the Telecom Act. What do you think the chances are they'll learn from it?

More on telecom deregulation here and here.

Posted on 07/29/04 04:59 PM by Mary Katherine Ham

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