Competition, Regulation, and Convergence: Current Trends in Telecommunications Policy Research

Competition, Regulation, and Convergence: Current Trends in Telecommunications Policy Research

Competition, Regulation, and Convergence: Current Trends in Telecommunications Policy Research

Competition, Regulation, and Convergence: Current Trends in Telecommunications Policy Research

Synopsis

The current state of research in telecommunications policy, covering competition, regulation, and integration of media carriers. For scholars, policy makers, and businesspeople involved with future direction and policy decisions in telecommunications

Excerpt

Wishing someone "interesting times" can be a curse--but we feel blessed that telecommunications has experienced interesting times ever since we can remember. The past year brought exciting events and developments that are reflected in the chapters of this volume. Competition has progressed on various fronts both within the telecommunications infrastructure itself and in the services offered over it, highlighted by the growth in electronic commerce. At the same time, questions of market power have made front-page news, driven by a wave of mergers and the spectacular Microsoft antitrust case. Regulation is still with us and getting ever more complex as it tries to pave the way toward competition while also guarding new areas, such as privacy on the Internet. Regulation of universal service remains an evergreen topic. Convergence, talked about for more than a decade, finally appears to be arriving. Internet and telephone companies and telephone and cable TV companies have merged, and Internet telephony has become real as next generation telcos have deployed entirely packet-based infrastructures.

COMPETITION, MARKET POWER, AND ANTITRUST

The increase in competition in the telecommunications sector has been a worldwide phenomenon. It is expressed by the privatization of state-owned telephone companies, by deregulation of legal entry restrictions, and by the actual entry of newcomers in markets that have traditionally been dominated by a single firm. However, the road to competition is obstructed by old and new forms of market power, collusion, and government interference. In telecommunications, during the last few years, regulation has become an indispensable part of competition policy. This is strongly reflected in some of the following chapters, which describe regulatory policies ostensibly aimed at increasing competition.

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