Legislative and Regulatory Actions Needed to Deal with a Changing Domestic Telecommunications Industry.
GENERAL ACCOUNTING OFFICE WASHINGTON DC COMMUNITY AND ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT DIV
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This report assesses the Federal Communications Commissions program for regulating domestic telecommunications common carriers. The report makes several recommendations to the Congress and the Commission for improving the regulatory framework provided by the Communications Act of 1934. Rapid technological change has broken down the natural monopoly characteristics of the telecommunications industry and paved the way for a more competitive industry structure. One contributor to this change has been the development of alternative transmission technologies--point-to-point microwave, satellites, and coaxial cable--to the traditional technology of paired wires. The size of the market for telecommunications has also grown--reflecting the convergence of data processing and telecommunications--further dismantling the natural monopoly characteristics of the industry. New equipment has been developed to provide new services such as digital networks to meet computers specialized data transmission needs. Reacting to this technological change, the Federal Communications Commission, supported by the courts, has over the past 20 years issued a number of decisions allowing competition into the manufacture of telecommunications terminal equipment and into the interstate provision of telecommunications services, which have altered the structure of the telecommunications industry.
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