Metropolitan Telecommunications Policy

39 Pages Posted: 15 Nov 2001

See all articles by Roger Richman

Roger Richman

Old Dominion University - Strome College of Business


In implementing its mandate for telecommunications deregulation the Federal Communications Commission has virtually ignored an important set of telecommunications issues affecting local governments and their suburban and urban constituencies. This paper reviews the very circumscribed role provided for local public sector involvement in telecommunications issues in the Telecommunications Act of 1996 and suggests that role is an insufficient predicate for state and local governments to address telecommunications governance issues that cannot be effectively addressed through centralized FCC policy: e.g., urban and suburban telecommunications infrastructure governance; open access issues; planning for universal broadband service across metropolitan areas; metropolitan approaches to the digital divide and the "E" Rate; development of community networks; regional economic competitiveness; urban network security, and digital governance policies. A hypothetical Metropolitan Telecommunications Organization (MTO) is proposed as public-private vehicle to promote local public and community values in telecommunications policy in these subjects as counterweight to the exclusive pursuit of competitive corporate interests that today determine the location, timing and availability of access to broadband services in metropolitan regions. These public values include affordable open access, equal access and universal service policies in the emerging telecommunications networks in metropolitan areas, as well as local public sector options for inducing private sector coordination with public sector initiatives in developing regional, metropolitan or large city institutional infrastructures for high speed high capacity telecommunications for the public sector and for the public at large.

Keywords: Telecommunications policy, Metropolitan Governance

JEL Classification: R5, H7, H4, K2, O1, O3

Suggested Citation

Richman, Roger, Metropolitan Telecommunications Policy. Available at SSRN: or

Roger Richman (Contact Author)

Old Dominion University - Strome College of Business ( email )

Norfolk, VA 23529
United States
757.683.3961 (Phone)

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