The Ghost of Telecommunications Past
28 Pages Posted: 13 Apr 2005
Paul Starr's The Creation of the Media presents modern policymakers with an important opportunity to consider the historical lessons of the telecommunications industry. This Book Review underscores how Starr's book richly explains some key components of U.S. information policy - such as relying on an integrated strategy of intellectual property, antitrust law, and telecommunications policy - and that some historical lessons are misplaced as to today's environment - such as a categorical skepticism of vertical integration. Moreover, Starr's account of telecommunications history explains that the U.S.'s success in promoting innovation in the information industries reflects our reluctance to manage key industry segments through government bureaucracies and our ability to develop an appropriate regulatory model for an era of monopolies. As we move into a new technological environment, however, we need to move away from the classic regulatory prescriptions of cradle-to-grave common carriage regulation and regulating what programs broadcasters must provide to their viewers. Rather, as the Book Review highlights, policymakers need to develop a next generation regulatory regime that learns the correct lessons from history and economic learning to meet the challenges of the Internet age.
Keywords: telecommunications regulation, cyberlaw, media policy
JEL Classification: L0, L1, L4, L5
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation