The Political Dynamics of Legislative Reform: Potential Drivers of the Next Communications Statute
44 Pages Posted: 6 Apr 2022
Date Written: March 29, 2022
Although most studies of major communications reform legislation focus on the merits of their substantive provisions, analyzing the political dynamics that led to the enactment of such legislation can yield important insights. An examination of the tradeoffs that led the major industry segments to support the Telecommunications Act of 1996 provides a useful illustration of the political bargain that it embodies. Application of a similar analysis to the current context identifies seven components that could form the basis for the next communications statute: universal service, pole attachments, privacy, intermediary immunity, net neutrality, spectrum policy, and antitrust reform. Determining how these components might fit together requires an assessment of areas in which industry interests overlap and diverge as well as aspects of the political environment that can make passage of reform legislation more difficult.
Keywords: Telecommunications law & policy, legislation, congressional politics, technological change, cellular telephony, 5G broadband, digital platforms, social media, competition
JEL Classification: K23, K24, L86, L96
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation