May Says Agency's Legacy May be Set in Upcoming Weeks
WASHINGTON, D.C. - Highlighting the importance of telecommunications deregulation to the technology sector, CNET.com is featuring an article by The Progress & Freedom Foundation’s Randolph J. May on the need to reform excessive unbundling and line-sharing regulations. In “Will the Real FCC Please Stand Up,” May writes that the agency faces a defining moment. Will it opt for “dynamic deregulation” or settle for a future of managed competition? He offers a “checklist” for assessing agency action.
“The agency’s actions will determine whether the depressed telecommunications and high-tech sectors will get a deregulatory shot in the arm--or whether the current commission, with a chairman and four commissioners selected by President Bush, will leave in place the investment-stifling ‘managed-competition’ regime concocted by the Clinton-appointed FCC,” writes May, a Foundation senior fellow and director of communications policy studies. “If the agency now takes a different path and adopts a dynamic deregulatory vision, it can help spur a telecom and high-tech recovery that will benefit the overall economy.”
How will we know if the FCC has embarked on a deregulatory course? May offers six benchmarks – a scorecard – for assessing agency action: (1) Sharing should not be required for new fiber or other non-copper networks; (2) Regardless of technology, facilities used to provide broadband services should be deregulated; (3) Switching should be removed promptly from the sharing regime; (4) Inter-office facilities should be removed from the sharing requirement; (5) A presumptive sunset should be established for removing copper loops from sharing; and (6) The FCC should preempt states from imposing excessive sharing.
“It is no exaggeration to say that this particular FCC’s legacy largely will be determined by its actions in the next few weeks,” May continues. “If it opts for a dynamic deregulation vision, investment in advanced telecommunications facilities will be stimulated, innovation in new services will be spurred, sustainable competition will be strengthened, and America’s consumers will be the beneficiaries.”
May’s CNET piece is based on a longer “scorecard” for evaluating action on UNE Triennial Review, Cable High-Speed Access and Wireline Broadband proceedings published by the Foundation.
The Progress & Freedom Foundation is a market-oriented think tank that studies the impact of the digital revolution and its implications for public policy. The Foundation is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization founded in 1993.