Teske, Paul, ed. (1995). American Regulatory Federalism and Telecommunications Infrastructure. Hillsdale, N.J.: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates. 167 pp. Hardback, $36.
This book examines the dual structure of national and state regulation of telecommunications. While the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) regulates interstate telecommunication activity, largely by long-distance carriers, the states regulate intrastate communications, both local and long-distance. Since a single, federal regulatory system is the norm in most countries, the question is whether the dual U.S. system promotes effective regulatory policy and industrial development, especially since state regulators retain many important decisions regarding the development of the information superhighway.
The book is divided into four sections: Part I is an overview and history of federal regulation, Part II examines state policies and actors, Part III analyzes costs and benefits of state regulation, and Part IV looks at federal regulation and the future of telecommunications policy.
The organization is logical and easy to follow. The primary focus is on what is happening in the states, and how they are regulating telecommunications in the face of global markets, fiber optics, and digital technology. The authors also look forward and make recommendations about how to improve telecommunications policy.
Barry Cole, one of the contributing authors, concludes that states have acted as policy laboratories in the decade since the breakup of AT&T. He notes that there are real differences in state approaches, leading some to act as models for other states, and some as models for the federal government. …