Democracy & Technology Blog Deregulate to the maximum practicable extent

The Economic Strategy Institute’s new report, “America’s Technology Future At Risk,” should be required reading. Some of the recommendations are better than others, but the following is one of the best summaries of where we have been and where we ought to go:

“The U.S. telecommunications markets should be deregulated to the maximum practicable extent, and the FCC should just forget about “manufacturing” competition or otherwise shaping the market. When the 1996 Telecommunications Act was written, the lingering apparent monopoly of the RBOCs in local calling areas appeared to justify an extensive FCC role in guiding the intended deregulation. In retrospect, it is clear that this role was largely counter-productive and that unanticipated competition was developing that would obviate both the apparent monopolies and the “re-regulatory” role of the FCC. Today, it is fully apparent that there is ample competition in the market with five different delivery platforms potentially capable of delivering telecommunications to customer premises. This is far more competition than exists in such markets as aircraft, computer operating systems, and critical semiconductor optics. In as much as the government does not regulate these and similar industries, it is not clear why telecommunications should now be much different.”

Hance Haney

Director and Senior Fellow of the Technology & Democracy Project
Hance Haney served as Director and Senior Fellow of the Technology & Democracy Project at the Discovery Institute, in Washington, D.C. Haney spent ten years as an aide to former Senator Bob Packwood (OR), and advised him in his capacity as chairman of the Senate Communications Subcommittee during the deliberations leading to the Telecommunications Act of 1996. He subsequently held various positions with the United States Telecom Association and Qwest Communications. He earned a B.A. in history from Willamette University and a J.D. from Lewis and Clark Law School in Portland, Oregon.