Thursday, December 2, 2004 - The Progress & Freedom Foundation Blog

Universal common denominators in telecom reform

Today's reports in both TR Daily [subscription required] and Comm Daily [Lexis subscription required] highlight common denominators in anticipated Congressional debates over telecom reform: "universal service" and related issues regarding how telecom carriers compensate each other when they exchange voice and data traffic over their networks. Although staff from both sides of the aisle differed on how extensive telecom reform should be, all essentially agreed that these "real money" issues must be addressed. A universal service study to be previewed tomorrow (but released subsequently) may provide much-needed evidence on these issues. The study, authored by PFF's own Randy May with Joseph Kraemer and Richard Levine, will provide useful data on how various populations, including low income and rural customers, use communications services. The study should shed light on what, at base, these constituencies may need to satisfy the universal service goal of preventing Americans from falling off the network. In so doing, the study also may signal whether telecom reform workably can be limited to minor tweaks of the existing Communications Act, or whether Congress must draft a new Act "from the ground up" to relieve the strain on compensation mechanisms and other regulations caused by technological developments like Internet voice service.

posted by Kyle Dixon @ 2:57 PM | Communications , Universal Service