Regulatory Reform, Again

Krapb, Eric
August 2004
Business Communications Review;Aug2004, Vol. 34 Issue 8, p4
Trade Publication
The Communications Act of 1934 lasted 62 years before it was overhauled in the Telecom Act of 1996. In its turn, the Telecom Act of 1996 was lucky to make it 62 months, and it may not live a decade before being rewritten/update/tinkered with. Ironically, much of the impetus for revisiting the Telecom Act comes from the rise of public network voice over IP (VOIP). Back when the Telecom Act was passed, voice was supposed to be yesterday's technology, ripe for oblivion thanks to the Internet and IP-based data communications. But now, VOIP is spoken of as if it's the hottest thing to hit the public network since the Strowger switch. The government has to make sure it doesn't do anything to threaten the nascent VOIP market. The author guesses that just don't see why public network VOIP deserves such a dispensation. It won't create more competition: Since it requires a broadband connection, you can bet it's going to be co-opted and controlled by the RBOCs once it gets big enough for the RBOCs to care about. Maybe there are some fantastic new telephony applications but it seems to him that the people who want really cool telephony applications look to their wireless providers for that.


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